Friday, May 5, 2017

Interview with George Finney, ESQ, Author of No More Magic Wands

GEORGE FINNEY, ESQ., has worked in Cybersecurity for over 15 years and is the author of No More Magic Wands: Transformative Cybersecurity Change for Everyone. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Southern Methodist University where he has also taught on the subject of Corporate Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Mr. Finney is an attorney and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional as well as a Certified Information Security Systems Professional and has spoken on Cybersecurity topics across the country.



Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the suburbs outside of Dallas. I always say Dallas since most people have heard of Dallas. I loved growing up in Texas, I feel like there is this mythical identity you develop as a Texan. You grow up watching rodeos, going to the Alamo, and watching football. And everybody knows that’s how you grew up, so when you meet new people you have this instant connection.

When did you begin writing?

When I was in the 5th grade, we had an assignment to write a story for Halloween. Most people took the whole hour to write one. I ended up writing over 20 different stories. That was the year I caught the bug to be a writer. Several of my classmates wrote a play in that same class that we put on in front of the class. We paired off into teams and wrote commercials and made those for the class. I wrote a science fiction story that was had to be longer than 5 pages. I remember it being one of my favorite times in school.

What is this book about?

No More Magic Wands is a kind of case study about a company that has been hacked. This company just happens to make magic wands. I wanted to explore the idea of how a company would respond if they could use magic to solve all their problems like we sometimes jokingly say at work. While there is some magic involved, ultimately the enchanted forest creatures have to work together to fix their company. Each chapter is a kind of fable focusing on a particular security concept.

What inspired you to write it?

I get a lot of my story ideas while I walk my dog at night. I remember seeing this tree that I thought looked like the one from the Keebler Elf picture, and I started wondering what they would do if they got hacked. What if instead of cookies, they made magic wands and were used to solving their problems with magic? How would they change?

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

No More Magic Wands lays out some of the basic principles that security practitioners follow and how businesses can implement them. Rather than just tell you those things, what makes No More Magic Wands different is that it shows you how a fictional company might do through short stories or fables. There aren’t always clear answers when it comes to security in the real world, so I wanted my readers to be able to walk away and ask the right questions when they go back to their office.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

Security is a team sport. If something isn’t your job, you expect someone else to do it for you. But security is a part of everyone’s job and everyone has a role to play. To be successful, we need everyone to understand what role they play on the team.

What is up next for you?

My next project is a series of several choose your own adventure style stories for cybersecurity training. A lot of people learn through experience and it's too late to learn after you've been breached. Being able to play in a choose your own adventure style world will help people recognize the common ways that hackers are exploiting people without the consequences of learning the hard way.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I love hearing from my readers. Look up my blog and let me know what you think,

No comments: