Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): Richard Rushing's Experience

September 2, 2018

If you've been following this series, you know The Making of the Modern CISO captures invaluable insights from four leading executives who open their vests to reveal rare perspectives on steering cybersecurity at the corporate level. 

These pioneering security generals enlist all their might and senses in the struggle to upend cyber exploits whenever and wherever those exploits worm their way onto company networks. Last time, we heard from Gerald Beuchelt. Up this time is Richard Rushing, CISO at Motorola Mobility, another voice from The Making of the Modern CISO eBook.

Modern CISOs don't mince their emotions as they… 

  • feel the anguish of others' losses,
  • leap to the frontlines to act, and
  • lead with hearts full of hope.

In this second portrait, join the odyssey of Richard Rushing, one of four CISOs highlighted in The Making of the Modern CISO. Share his burden as he shoulders the hardships of others. Race with him to douse the flames of incessant breaches. Speak the language of the board of directors just as he does. And envision the many cyber troops answering his call. 

 

The Empathic CISO

Do you close yourself off when suffering strikes close to home, or do you have the courage to empathize with the weary soul sitting next to you? Richard Rushing, CISO at Motorola Mobility, had a personal encounter with an employee who lost all her baby pictures to ransomware on her company laptop. The experience was trying for both of them.

As much as caring for people in crisis can cost you, it's worth it to sit with them and empathize over the pain of their injuries. “At that moment, you see that person sitting across from you, and you have to have that conversation with them, and it touches you in a way that you don't expect. It's not an experience that I wish on anyone. It stays with you for a long time,” Rushing says.

 

The CISO in the Mirror

Richard Rushing sees himself as a first responder. “It's like being a firefighter. Some days it's hushed, and then other days constant alarms are going off, and you're putting out fires on a regular basis.” 

“We've seen many breaches around the country and the world, and we've dealt with them,” Rushing says.

 

Precisely Speaking

Rushing sees communicating with the board as a precise skill with essential benefits. “You have to talk in simple terms. Discussing your company's relative maturity is a great way to find out where you rank yourselves. It's something the board can grasp very easily.”

“It's important to show the board the competitive landscape, as well. You need to point out your competitors and how they look when compared with your maturity level,” comments Rushing. “Knowing your maturity level and your competitors', the board is prepared to make better decisions about funding and personnel.”

 

A Bright Future for InfoSec

Rushing sees the world of cybersecurity through a positive filter. Contrary to the industry's take on a skills gap, he expects InfoSec pros will be plentiful.

“Though we live in the breach of the moment, there are lots of good things to look forward to in this business,” Rushing says. “I see more people moving into information security. Some of the more prime positions are going to take time to fill, but that's a time problem. People are eager to learn.”

 

Off the Bleachers and onto the Field!

If you felt yourself cheering for Richard, then The Making of the Modern CISO eBook was meant for you - download it here.

   

We're two stories into following in the footsteps of four modern CISOs, with two more waiting to inspire us. Next up, a look at the growth and guardianship of Jackson Muhirwe, Deputy CISO at the University of California, Davis.

 

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