From first black Parachute Regiment officer, to CEO…
Every Monday morning, we fire five questions at a leading C-suite figure in the business technology sector. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Oz Alashe, CEO of London-based cybersecurity startup CybSafe.
Oz – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
The biggest challenge we see right now is the inability to effectively measure the human aspect of cyber security. Making good cyber security decisions requires data and meaningful metrics.
Some measure security training uptake. Some go a little further and measure suspicious link-clicks or report-rates. But these are superficial metrics. Very few can answer key security questions like “how has our human cyber risk changed over time”, “why are these poor cyber security behaviours happening”, or “which of my security interventions are reducing the most risk”.
To answer questions like this, companies need meaningful metrics. They need metrics that cover security awareness, behaviour and culture. And they need metrics that help them check the performance of ABC campaigns.
By focusing on meaningful metrics, organisations can benchmark. They can assess progress. They can measure with a view to reducing the risk inherent in the human aspect of cyber security. Armed with meaningful metrics, they can reduce human cyber risk, and begin monitoring positive shifts in behaviour.
Technology that Excites you Most?
I’m especially excited by technology that makes a difference to us as a society. In spaces like the environment and education, tech holds the answers to many of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Big data and artificial intelligence are a particularly fascinating area for me. Besides the cyber security industry, there’s a lot of great innovation going on in healthcare, for example, where AIs are being trained to recognise abnormalities in MRI and other scans.
I am also incredibly excited about the emergence of the next generation of wireless technology. What’s amazing about 5G isn’t necessarily the increase in speed and bandwidth – it’s the dramatic reduction in latency. The ability to exchange data in near real-time is an incredibly powerful prospect, and could have enormous implications for autonomous vehicles, for example.
During my early military career, one of my greatest successes was passing the selection stage to become the first black Parachute Regiment Officer and then Special Forces officer in the UK. For me, this achievement was less about ethnicity, and more about the power and importance of diversity within a team. That’s a message that I’ve taken forward with me and tried to implement throughout my career.
Today, without question, CybSafe is my greatest success. Being able to contribute to the tech-for-good sector has been immensely fulfilling, and each year we’ve helped more and more organisations reduce their human cyber risk. As a team, we’re constantly building on this success, and I’m excited to see what we will achieve and who else we will help support this year.
For me, failing to achieve something is only a negative if I don’t learn from it. I’ve made plenty of mistakes – as a human haven’t we all – but I try to see the positives in these.
As an entrepreneur and CEO, I believe it’s important to continue moving forward and to embrace every failure as an opportunity to improve. I know I’ll fail more in the future and I don’t mind.
In Another Life I’d Be…
In another life, I’d be an ad-hoc snowboarding instructor, spending half my time teaching and half my time riding for the fun of it.
My family and I love Austria for its slopes, snow and sights. It seems like a fun career; you get to be outside all day, mess around like a child, and burn off enough calories to justify the chocolate and jaegerbombs afterwards.