CISO Trainings , Governance & Risk Management , IT Risk Management

Becoming a CISO: Many Paths to Success

Mike Hamilton, CISO of CI Security, on His Unusual Career Path
Becoming a CISO: Many Paths to Success
Mike Hamilton, founder and CISO of CI Security

Mike Hamilton, founder and CISO of CI Security, followed an unusual path that led him to a career in cybersecurity. He says those who, like him, lack a formal education in security can build successful CISO careers.

"What I tell people when I talk to them in schools and universities is that when we hire … it's more than your degree or your certification [that matters]; we're interested in your curiosity," Hamilton says in an interview with Information Security Media Group.

Before he became CISO for the city of Seattle, Hamilton was an ocean scientist, created and sold firewalls, served as a managing consultant for VeriSign and a senior principal consultant for Guardent, and was vice chair for the Department of Homeland Security's State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council. He said his diverse experience helped prepare him for the demanding role of CISO.

In this interview (see audio link below photo), Hamilton discusses:

  • Why a pure cybersecurity background is not always needed to break into the industry;
  • Tips for new CISOs;
  • How to speak to an organization's leadership about security in terms they understand.

In addition to serving as CISO at CI Security, Hamilton is a partner at M.K. Hamilton & Associates, which provides physical and cybersecurity services to local governments, tribal organizations, 911 centers and public utilities.

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