Secret CSO: Peter Tran, InferSight

What conferences are on your must-attend list? "The consumer electronics show. This will give you a better sense of the current and new attack surfaces."


Name: Peter Tran

Organisation: InferSight

Job title: CISO, Head of Cyber and Product Security Solutions

Date started current role: January 2020

Location: Boston, MA

Peter Tran is a former NCIS Special Agent and globally recognised information security, cyber defence technology, enterprise risk & regulatory management, security operations expert. An executive leader with 20+ years’ experience at InferSight, as well as Raytheon, Dell EMC, RSA and Worldpay. Throughout his career, Tran has successfully defended some of the world's top commercial brands, public organisations and programs against some of the most highly complex and sophisticated cyber threats and data breaches.

What was your first job? My first real job as a young adult was as a pathology technician performing autopsy procedures as part of a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.

How did you get involved in cybersecurity? I became interested in cybersecurity when I was a graduate student in forensic sciences at the George Washington University. I was beginning to see that crime scene trace evidence was going digital and more and more crimes were occurring over computers and networks.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I hold an undergraduate degree with an emphasis on criminalistics from the University of California Santa Barbara, a Master of Forensic Sciences from the George Washington University and post graduate executive education from MIT in blockchain security/cryptocurrency and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government cyber security technology and policy. I hold the ISC2 CISSP as well as the SANS Global Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM) certifications as well as advanced training from the Department of Defense (DoD), Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Cyber Training Academy.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. Career growth never happens if you don’t pivot and take detours along the way. I take detours almost every day. That’s how dynamic the cyber security field is no matter what level you are. You learn to wrap your arms around it and learn, adapt, assess, and execute…. everyday!

Was there anyone who has inspired or mentored you in your career? 100% my wife.

What do you feel is the most important aspect of your job? Coaching and Mentorship.

What metrics or KPIs do you use to measure security effectiveness? – Mean time to disrupt, detect, respond, contain and remediate. Command and control disruption KPIs are critical as I characterise them as “pre-weaponized” detection and disruption to determine cyberattack surface volatility index metrics (CASVI).

Is the security skills shortage affecting your organisation? What roles or skills are you finding the most difficult to fill? The security skills shortage is not only affecting my organisation, but it is affecting every industry globally. The highest skill demands are changing to more data science and advanced analytics knowledge and experience.

Cybersecurity is constantly changing – how do you keep learning? I keep learning by looking beyond the obvious security threats and question the quiet times when it may seem the cyber threat actors may be under control.   

What conferences are on your must-attend list? The consumer electronics show. This will give you a better sense of the current and new attack surfaces.

What is the best current trend in cybersecurity? The worst? The best is AI and Machine Learning and the worst trend is SIEM.

What's the best career advice you ever received? Sometimes stopping to camp is ok when you are trying to climb the mountains of your career as growth occurs in all directions.

What advice would you give to aspiring security leaders? Empower your teams to use their imagination beyond what the tools are capable of.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Starting my own family.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? I would have become a professional cyclist in Europe.

What is your favourite quote? Dreams Don’t Have Deadlines (DDHD).

What are you reading now? my fortune from as many fortune cookies I can get my hands on….

In my spare time, I like to… build Lego exotic sport cars…..

Most people don't know that I… used to be a break dancer in a fashion show when I was 13 years old….

Ask me to do anything but… pick up a snake…..