Secret CSO: Jason Lau, Crypto.com

What do you feel is the most important aspect of your job? “The most important aspect of my job is the security of our employees, and the protection of our customers’ data.”

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What advice would you give to aspiring security leaders? I was lucky to be a cybersecurity advisor at Microsoft during the time when it was going through a global restructure under the direction of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. It was at a time when Microsoft was not known for being in the “cybersecurity” industry but built an arsenal of security products, and took over some of the best Israeli security companies and was committed to spending over $1 billion in cybersecurity each year. Microsoft got serious about security and it was something I wanted to be part of. At the global annual Microsoft gathering, there was something Satya said which stuck with me: “Don’t be a know-it-all; be a learn-it-all.” There was a skill-gap with cybersecurity and privacy, as everyone was preparing for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to come into effect the following year. So I took it upon myself to skill up and “learn-it-all” about data privacy, and this has helped tremendously with the evolution of my current cybersecurity career. So to aspiring security leaders out there, my advice is to listen to one of the most inspiring technology leaders - “Don’t be a know-it-all; be a learn-it-all.”

What has been your greatest career achievement? I am honoured to have a strong team of security and privacy professionals working for me, and I helped drive some key initiatives and in 2019. Crypto.com became the first cryptocurrency company worldwide to have company-wide certifications in ISO27001:2013, PCI DSS 3.2.1 and conforming to the Cryptocurrency Security Standard (CCSS). This was a great achievement and proves our commitment to our customers. We also did some ground-breaking work and filed a patent for a secure key distribution system. Industry wasn’t quite ready yet for what the cryptocurrency world needed, and we simply had to innovate! Very proud of the incredible team who work for me and are absolutely passionate about cybersecurity and data privacy. Awesome team!

Individually, I was awarded with the inaugural Cyber Security Professional Award, co-organised by the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Police Force, the Government Computer Emergency Response Team, and the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre for my industry leadership, commitment and work in the cybersecurity field.  I was also named Outstanding Financial Technologist of the Year (Data Privacy) by the Institute of Financial Technologists, and was most recently included as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Cybersecurity from Thinkers360 and other peer lists.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? To be honest, I don’t think I would do anything differently as I am a firm believer of learning from past experiences, and the journey is often just as important as the final outcome. If anything, I would advise my younger self to take more time off to reflect just enjoy life more. Oh, and maybe buy a lot of Bitcoin in 2010 ;)

What is your favourite quote? My favourite quote is, “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” From Thomas Huxley, who was an English biologist, anthropologist and an advocate of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The quote has always been a good reflection on how I approach life, and the importance of continuous learning and having a growth mindset.

What are you reading now? The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, as I have an interest in big data and artificial intelligence. In summary, with the growing amount of big data collected, the book explores the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish true signal from the noise. Overconfidence is a big reason for failure, and I see this a lot in the cybersecurity industry. If we can appreciate and understand uncertainty better, then our predictions can get better, and this I believe is important in both life and work when dealing with risk management. I also have a bunch of “Sun Tzu, Art of War” quotes ¬which I love.

In my spare time, I like to… Spend time with my family.

Most people don't know that I… Love playing chess. I started playing at competitive chess tournaments when I was four years old, and playing with people four times my age. I had a full-page newspaper coverage with me holding my sister’s teddy bear Pinky while thinking about my next move!

Ask me to do anything but… Watch horror movies. I love watching movies, but for some reason, I have never been a fan of horror movies. Hope my kids don’t try and force me to watch them!

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