b'Story Behind the Story: Interview with Patricia Titus D F:On 9/11 you were working for the U.S. Treasury Department as a technicalD F:Clarify what you mean when you say, Security was a weapon.advisor to the CIO. When the planes hit the buildings, one of your firstPATRICIA:responsibilities was getting secure wireless communications to theAs CISO, I had been given the power to stop programs from moving forward based on risk assessments. crisis management teams. The work you did during the terror attacksThese programs and applications were needed to advance our mission. And, of course, I wanted it as secure clearly influenced your thinking and how you do what you do now.as we could make it and fully hardened. I wanted it all to be perfect and if it wasnt perfect, I wouldnt sign off on it going live.Because we were a new organization, I wanted zero risk. I realized as the expert, I had the PATRICIA: power to say, Dont do it, and they wouldnt. It was a defining moment that shaped many peoples lives. It goes back to the Girl Scout motto, Be prepared. Yet, think of the consequences for not deploying capabilities. The US experienced planes flying into buildings, Im still a Girl Scout, and I believe its many defining moments in my life and career that have developed me and I had to learn to operate my security program based on risk management and risk appetite. Its not just a into the well-rounded leader you see today. My defining moments included living in Saudi Arabiazero-sum game, and this is a lesson I have carried with me throughout my career. Use the power of authority during the Mecca/Medina massacre; living in Africa at the peak of the AIDS epidemic; living throughto manage risk and help the company understand the level of risk they are taking. 9/11 near everything that was happening and having to execute plans. All those pieces and parts helped define my style of leadership today. F:You took what you learned during 9/11, built out another secure wirelessD F:Are you now more comfortable making decisions when youre onlyD communications platform for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, and90% certain?PATRICIA:then went on to play a vital role creating a brand-new governmentIts more like the 80/20 rule. 20% of your activities will account for 80% agency, the Transportation Security Administration. of your results. For example, we lived through Y2K. (The Millennium bug. Leading up to 12:00 AM, January 1, 2000, governments around PATRICIA: the world launched a massive effort to implement new software, TSA was the pinnacle of my career. I was part of the early start-up team, which I liken to an organizationfearful older systems would not properly process 00 digits, of patriots. We had left the security of our jobs to be on the ground floor of a brand-new federalthereby resulting in a global meltdown). The things we thought organization. In the TSA environment after the 9/11 attacks, we were so driven and focused on our missionwere going to happen never did. Did they not happen because to secure the traveling public. It was just amazing.we planned so well, or because they werent going to happen anyhow? Its the 80/20 rule. D F:By the end of 2002, eight months after you joined, the organization Companies need a good risk-management strategy and a way to tier the criticality of their data based on its value. Not mushroomed from a few hundred people to about 56,000 employees.having this strategy could mean theyre investing too much or Your rise was pretty steep, ultimately taking over all of TSAs informationtoo little in protection capabilities. Ive seen many CISOs get to security.a new company and go like gangbusters and before you know it, they get fired because the company cant handle the cyber-fatigue. PATRICIA: With security, you must find that delicate balance of just enough, just I was the first person to be given the CISO title in the federal government. I started as the wireless program in time security.manager securing communications for federal officials at airports across the country. Next, I became the security manager. I kept asking my CIO to make me CISO, which he did. If I hadnt kept asking, I wouldD F: How has your leadership style evolved over time? not have been given the official title. There is a flip side however, which is be careful what you ask for. Being the CISO at the TSA, I didnt realizePATRICIA:how powerful the position really was until the day my CIO said, Stop using security as a weapon. SecurityI had a career/life changing moment on how I lead people, after the US government sent me to the is extremely powerful in a company, so use your power wisely.Center for Creative Leadership. Leaders need mentoring and training. I believe most people dont ask for help enough, and especially women dont ask for it, because theyre afraid they may be viewed as being weak or less skilled. But if you dont ask for help, then those weaknesses become ingrained and your career can be derailed. Page 25 Page 26'