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Zero Trust Segmentation

Cyber Consultant Stephen J. White on How to Align Security With Business Outcomes

Stephen J. White, CEO of Viking Technology Advisors

If your business is adopting cloud and AI technology, it’s time to rethink your approach to cybersecurity.  

Over the past three decades, networks have undergone major transformation. And each new piece of tech has only added more pressure and demand on networks and their security.  

In the latest episode of The Segment: A Zero Trust Leadership Podcast, I sat down with Stephen J. White, CEO of Viking Technology Advisors, to discuss what organizations need to do to modernize their security strategies and better align cybersecurity with business outcomes.

About Stephen J. White, CEO of Viking Technology Advisors

Stephen J. White is the CEO and founder of Viking Technology Advisors. His company specializes in helping clients move from physical data centers to secure, efficient cloud environments. They focus on providing holistic oversight and ongoing support.

Previously, he was the senior vice president of network services at Citizens Bank, managing network services and leading the Network Transformation program. Stephen is a prominent figure in the fintech space, known for his strong advocacy of innovative security solutions.

Building modern – not just transformed – cybersecurity

We reflected on the evolution of network security over the past 30 years. And it's clear that digital transformation isn't a new concept.  

“It's something we've been living through for many, many years,” Stephen explained. “And each of these new technologies has actually had one thing in common: increased pressure and demand on networks and cybersecurity.”

For Stephen, this trend highlights the need for businesses to rethink how they’re securing the network perimeter. This is especially true with the rise of cloud adoption and AI.  

To modernize their security strategies, he recommends teams focus on:

  • Automating security tasks
  • Holistic oversight of security to better manage risks and compliance  
"It's people, process, and technology – all of that needs to come together to make this transition,” he said.

In particular, the cloud brings its own challenges but can also bring better, more streamlined security. “The real challenge is delivering what customers need today while supporting the future,” Stephen said. “It's about modernization, not just transformation."

Zero Trust is key to modern cybersecurity

For Stephen, the starting point for modern security is always a Zero Trust strategy. This means moving away from perimeter-based security to more granular controls that are closer to applications and data.  

“Trying to port over security capabilities that were best-of-breed 25 years ago and expecting them to meet today's needs is madness,” he explained. “It's not granular enough to keep pace as companies are trying to move to the cloud.”

In today’s complex network, Zero Trust provides end-to-end security, helping businesses extend consistent security across all environments, from on-premises to endpoints and the cloud.  

Stephen called out Zero Trust Segmentation (ZTS) as an essential Zero Trust technology.

"The simplicity of being able to deploy [Illumio] on every workload in the environment, establish a set of tags, create visibility on the flows, and execute policy at scale is super cool," he said.  

What makes Zero Trust technologies like ZTS so transformative is that they’re business enablers – not just more rules. Security teams can now manage, control, and secure the network invisible to app owners. They can do their jobs no matter where they are without security interrupting. “It’s a really pivotal time,” Stephen noted.

Aligning security with business outcomes

The cyber industry is full of new technologies. Stephen points to innovations in Zero Trust tech, cloud adoption, and AI that are making security better and helping businesses operate more smoothly.

But modernizing isn't just about adding new tools to your security stack. Stephen stresses the importance of having a strategic plan that is tailored to business outcomes.  

He outlined the key recommendations he makes to teams working towards aligning security with the rest of the organization:

  • Have the right plan, including transparency about the right starting point and a phased approach to adoption.
  • Consider risks, funding, and business value throughout the journey.
  • Look for opportunities to consolidate your tech stack and improve efficiency.
  • Be transparent with the C-suite about their investment’s ROI.

The end goal? For Stephen, it’s always taking steps on the Zero Trust journey. “This isn't just about replacing one component within your environment; this is a holistic change and strategic shift,” he said.

Listen, subscribe, and review The Segment: A Zero Trust Podcast

Want to learn more? Listen to the full episode with Stephen on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also read a full transcript of the episode.  

We'll be back with more Zero Trust insights soon!

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