Emily Mossburg: Connecting the Dots of Cybersecurity

Emily Mossburg, Global Cyber Leader at Deloitte

In a world where digital transformation is rapidly evolving, the pandemic caused a rapid shift to remote work that has further accelerated transformation initiatives. While managing remote working arrangements has always been a challenge for cyber professionals, today, cyber teams must manage the increased vulnerabilities that have accompanied a surge in home-office set-ups, related to where and how remote workers are accessing corporate environments. Additionally, because countless organizations across the world are entering this uncharted terrain at the same time, today’s increasingly-sophisticated cyber criminals are on high alert—and ready to attack at unprecedented levels.

Fortunately, cyber leaders like Emily Mossburg are here to help organizations prepare and defend themselves in this tumultuous moment in history. Her keen understanding of the cyber landscape, cultivated over years of developing and delivering leading-edge solutions as the Global Cyber Leader at Deloitte, allows her to help both her firm and her clients meet today’s evolving cyber needs.

A Challenged-Filled Journey

Throughout her 18 years in Deloitte’s cyber practice, Emily has seen a lot, but the last couple years have unquestionably been the most fascinating.

“I’ve helped many clients tackle a wide range of cyber challenges over the years, but the pandemic was completely unique. Never before have we seen a mass shift to remote work—it was amazing to see,” she says.

As Emily helped her clients work through the transition, Deloitte was also maneuvering through the changes in real time for their own operations. Both experiences offered Emily invaluable insights.

“Not being able to meet with my colleagues in person really forced me to explore the act of inter-office communication,” she says. “How could I continue to connect with my team—and build relationships with other members of our organization—without actually meeting with them face-to-face?”

Ultimately, Deloitte, like a lot of its clients, began to integrate video conferences and webinars into its daily business practices. As a result, it required the company to re-evaluate it own cyber strategies.

Navigating Unique Times

In the early days of the pandemic, as Deloitte focused on finding ways to mobilize its newly-remote workforce and remain agile in the face of change, Emily and her team were responsible for viewing each business decision through a cyber lens.

Over the years, she’s learned that if there’s one thing cyber criminals love, it’s rapid organizational change—because when people are distracted, vulnerabilities tend to arise in greater numbers, and are typically much easier to exploit.

“Understanding this, we made sure that before we executed any business change, there was an accompanying cyber solution or program in place to minimize any additional risk.”

Implementing Cyber Expertise

For Emily, building these types of transformative cyber programs isn’t anything new—after all, she established some of the first cyber strategies 25 years ago working at a security startup. She’s also guided many global teams through implementations, and developed innovative technical solutions to thwart ever-evolving threats.

In essence, the cyber challenges resulting from the pandemic weren’t much different. To respond quickly and effectively to shifting cyber threats, she relied heavily on the diversity of thought and varied experiences from her workplace and leadership teams.

“We always encourage our clients to embed cyber into their organizations and establish a clear vision and mission around their cyber efforts,” she explains. “You need buy-in from all areas of the workforce if you hope to connect the dots across the broader ecosystem and marketplace.”

Promoting A Diverse Work Culture

In many ways, Emily believes the pandemic underlined the need for a diverse, inclusive culture when building a strong cyber posture.

“When you need to respond to a pressing cyber issue quickly, you need to make sure the members of your team feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their thoughts,” she says. “To be effective, they need to be able to tap into their best selves. And I think a diverse and inclusive workforce facilitates that.”

In part, that is why Emily has been one of the founders of Deloitte’s ‘Women in Cyber’ initiative, which focuses on increasing the number of women in the cyber field.

At the same time, however, she believes a diverse and inclusive cyber approach shouldn’t be limited to the cyber team.

“Cyber is more than just a technology issue, which means all segments of the organization, including legal, HR, and even third-party vendors, need to be involved and comfortable in sharing their cyber ideas and concerns.”

Shaping the Future

Moving forward, Emily plans to continue leading Deloitte’s global cyber practice well into the future—helping clients adapt to a rapidly-changing cyber landscape, embed cybersecurity early and transform their cyber operations accordingly.

She also will push for more diversity and inclusive practices in cyber, and play a key role in encouraging more women leaders to indulge their curiosity, ask questions and, ideally, join the space.

“Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to find you—or for you to find the perfect opportunity. Seize an opportunity that interests you, jump in, and make that opportunity yours. Shape that opportunity for yourself. But don’t wait, it’s an amazing and fulfilling space to be part of,” concludes Emily.

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