In the SecureWorld Spotlight Series, we learn about the speakers and Advisory Council members that make our events a success. In Q&A format, they share about their professional journeys, unique experiences, and hopes for the future of cybersecurity—along with some personal anecdotes.
Michael Gregg is the CISO for the State of North Dakota. In addition to his experience as a security practitioner, he has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, including Hack the Stack, Build Your Own Security Lab, and Security Administrator Street Smarts.
He was voted one of the top 100 CISOs for 2023, has been invited to the White House, has testified before the U.S. Congress, has been published on IT websites, and has been sourced as an industry expert for CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox News, and The New York Times. He believes he can give something back to the community that has given him so much.
Get to know Michael Gregg
Q: Why did you decide to pursue cybersecurity as a career path?
A: My pursuit of this field is an outgrowth of my love for technology and always wanting to know how things work.
Q: What encouraged you to join your current organization (employer)?
A: I had a desire to serve my country, improve government, and make it more efficient. I wanted to excel at something many thought was challenging.
Q: What do you wish more people knew about your organization?
A: That is a great question. Many people do not know that the State of North Dakota leads in so many ways. As examples, our unified "whole of state" approach to security, and that we passed the first comprehensive K12 Cyber Education bill.
Q: How would you describe your feelings about cybersecurity in one word?
Q: What has been your most memorable moment thus far working in cybersecurity?
A: Seeing the success of the programs built and the growth in employees mentored.
Q: If you had to choose, what's the one cybersecurity practice people can adopt that would have the greatest impact?
A: Understanding how many attacks are not against technology and are simply the manipulation of people.
Q: What is an industrywide change you would like to see happen in the future?
A: Better standards and regulations regarding security. Better protection of personal data and PII.
Q: If you could pass or change one regulation/law in cybersecurity and data protection, what would it be and why?
A: Changing U.S. laws to be default "opt out" for sharing of data.
Q: What is your stance on generative AI (like ChatGPT and Google Bard)? Is it a necessary evil? How can it be used for good?
A: All technologies can be used for good and bad.
Q: When you tell people what you do for a living, what do you say?
A: I typically get questions about North Dakota and how they did not know we are leading in so many ways.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at your regional SecureWorld 2023 conference?
A: The opportunity to meet other security professionals, share ideas and learn from some of the great presentations that are scheduled.
Q: In honor of our 2023 conference theme, CyberSonic: Security & Sound Remix, what is your all-time favorite song?
A: "Ring of Fire" by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash
To connect with Michael Gregg and cybersecurity leaders from the greater Denver area, attend the 11th annual SecureWorld Denver conference on September 19, 2023. Michael will present the opening keynote, "Lessons from a CISO: Increasing Your Cybersecurity Footprint Despite Worn Soles."
Continue to follow our Spotlight Series for more highlights from industry experts.