Secret CSO: James Arlen, Aiven

What is the best current trend in cybersecurity? “The best current trend is probably the focus on people-scale problems - not focusing as much on blinky-lights and shiny-things product solutions to security problems.”

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What is your favourite quote?“Trust your technolust” -- it appears on a poster in the movie Hackers (1995) and has resonated and followed me through my career. I have found that it has meant different things at different times too. In the late 90s when I was smashing my head on a keyboard trying to figure out some obscure configuration in Cisco’s IOS it gave me the strength to carry on. Later in my career as I spent more time on non-technical tasks, it was the key to retaining happiness in my work - I could do all of the process and management work knowing that I’d have opportunities to play with the tech side if I got my work done.

What are you reading now? As I prepped for summer vacation, I decided that this year was going to be “the summer of re-reading” and went back for some real classics that are perpetually relevant: Chasing Excellence: A Story about Building the World’s Fittest Athletes (Ben Bergeron) - which has great lessons for team building and getting more out of yourself than you thought you could. The Sprawl Trilogy (William Gibson) - comprising Neuromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988), Gibson paints a real future dystopia and some of the themes of this story have not quite (but almost) come true. There are indications in there of potential future categories of threats that we could/should be planning for now.

In my spare time, I like to… Just relax and enjoy life - my usual tagline is “Infosec Geek, Hacker, Social Activist, Author, Speaker, (grand)Parent” and that describes well what I like to do. Whether it’s spending time (remotely) with family, hanging out with my spouse and dog, or trying (yet again) to perfect a functional 3D printed part for my RV adventures, it’s always in the search to do cool things and make myself and the world better.

Most people don't know that I… Spent a summer in University either painting houses or pulling a rickshaw full of tourists around the streets of Toronto. So many stories come out of that experience. Don’t fall off ladders when you’re pretty sure your boss is not keeping up with his safety obligations and don’t think that you can run for several tens of kilometres without drinking water now and then.

Ask me to do anything but… Fill out TPS Reports (and make sure that they have the correct cover sheet). I have very little patience for “process for process’ sake” and I’d really rather automate out of existence that sort of process or just socially shun people who think that those kinds of things are a good idea!

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