AI-Tech Interview with Dr. Shaun McAlmont, CEO at NINJIO Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Shaun, could you please introduce yourself and elaborate your role as a CEO of NINJIO?

I’m Shaun McAlmont, CEO of NINJIO Cybersecurity Awareness Training. I came to NINJIO after decades leading organizations in higher education and workforce development, so my specialty is in building solutions that get people to truly learn.

Our vision at NINJIO is to make everyone unhackable, and I lead an inspiring team that approaches cybersecurity awareness training as a real opportunity to reduce organizations’ human-based cyber risk through technology and educational methodologies that really change behavior.

What are the most common employee-related cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and how can NINJIO’s training help address these vulnerabilities effectively?

The most common is social engineering. The vast majority of successful breaches – 74% – involve a human element where someone was tricked into making a mistake that allowed a bad actor to access an organization’s system.

Social engineering is about manipulating people’s emotional vulnerabilities so they do something they otherwise wouldn’t. Those vulnerabilities, which we’ve identified as urgency, obedience, fear, opportunity, greed, sociableness, and curiosity, underpin every single social engineering attack.

NINJIO’s solution uses simulated phishing to build a risk profile for each user and then deploys our NINJIO SENSE training content based on that profile so they receive the educational content that is most pertinent to their needs.

Could you highlight some best practices for developing a robust cybersecurity posture?

Implement a robust cybersecurity awareness training program. In a world where three quarters of all successful breaches happen due to human error, there is no technological strategy that will offer comprehensive cyber protection for an organization. You have got to train your users because they are the front line.

Make cybersecurity an organizational priority. I can’t stress enough how important leadership is to cybersecurity posture. It cannot be a topic that gets delegated downward on your organizational chart – every single person in an organization, and especially the CEO and other executives, has to be committed to following protocols and staying aware for any cybersecurity effort to work.

Require cybersecurity in your supply chain. Your company works with dozens, if not hundreds, of vendors who have access to your information and maybe your customers’ information. Require that they have cybersecurity controls implemented so you aren’t exposed to third party risk.

Could you explain the importance of complying with cybersecurity regulations, and how can companies ensure they remain compliant in an ever-changing regulatory landscape?

Failure to comply with cybersecurity regulations brings incredible risk, including regulatory action, significant financial loss, and reputational ruin. Many cybersecurity regulations don’t even require observing what the industry has already established as best practices for basic protection, so meeting regulatory compliance requirements is something any organization should do automatically if it takes its cybersecurity seriously.

And the importance of remaining compliant extends to every company. Any enterprise with a computer system is vulnerable – even those who specialize in cyber protection. Breaches have affected every industry, from startups to corporate institutions.

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