Friday, July 16, 2021

Creating Professional Velocity

The Simple Formula

  1. Increase your professional education.
  2. Increase your social education.
  3. Increases your value.
  4. Increases your desirability.
  5. Increases your opportunities. 
  6. Increases your earning potential.
  7. Increases your velocity towards financial goals.
  8. Establishes financial freedom to focus on other goals. 


  1. Time.
  2. Energy.
  3. Sacrifice.


  1. Timing of when to invest where. Invest early for greater dividends later.
  2. Take care of your physical self to be your best mental self. A strong body reduces mental fatigue and enables a strong mind. 
  3. You get to balance your investments. Keeping all of them healthy is work that requires intentionality. Family. Friends. Personal. Professional.
  4. Avoid instant gratification. Exercise your patience. Grow that muscle.
  5. Coaching, Mentoring, and Counseling. Surround yourself with advocates. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

June 3-4: Register for Security Connect 2021, VMware's annual cybersecurity conference!

Tags: VMware, cybersecurity, conference

Here’s a compiled list of all 59 sessions for VMware’s own annual cybersecurity conference:

Link: Signup Here for VMware’s Security Connect (

Compiled List of all 59 Sessions:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Summary Statistics for NIST SP 800-53r5

Very interesting statistics, particularly around the related and cross-referenced controls. These counts are related to the Top Level controls. While certainly not an absolute flag, these counts are an interesting indicator of the importance of each of the controls. 

Also, note the count of controls in the baselines, including the incremental jumps from LOW to MOD and MOD to HIGH. Note that these totals include controls and enhancements. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

VMware OCTO is Hiring!!!

Interested in joining VMware OCTO? GREAT people. GREAT mission. Join us! I really do love it here. 

Visit and type JoinOCTO in the search.

OCTO’s mission is to create a future of disruptive technologies for VMware and enable a culture of perpetual innovation. We are thought leaders and trusted advisors who collaborate with our entire VMware ecosystem—co-innovating cross-company and with technologists from academia, our customer and partner communities. We invest in people, nurture their ideas, and embrace acceptable risk. Obstacles don’t stop us. We run past them because shifts in direction can lead to new insights and innovations, and to places we never would have otherwise gone.

We are actively seeking inclusive people who bring diverse skills, backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas to the table; people who can transcend limits and always have their eyes on the future. This is how great advances are made, how contributions are valued, and how innovation thrives.

Hope to see you here!!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Corrected and Compiled NIST SP800-53r5

Congratulations to the collaborators on the updated NIST SP800-53 Revision 5. There are many improvements in this version which seeds several standards efforts around the globe. 

Please find on the downloads page a compiled and slightly corrected version of the downloadable excel files from NIST located here

The corrected version is titled NIST sp800-53r5.ver.01a and found here. I've also added a few details that I find helpful. 


  1. Corrected withdrawn column which had one control mismarked and another not marked.
  2. Added 2-digit Control ID which enables proper sorting on control identifiers. Current published version is incorrectly sorted.
  3. Added column named PK (Primary Key) for proper sorting
  4. AU-5(4) references AU-15 which is withdrawn into AU-5. Updated to reflect AU-5.
  5. AU-9 references AU-15 which is withdrawn into AU-5. Updated to reflect AU-5.

Friday, August 28, 2020

The State of Compliance – and the Cloud – in the Financial Services Industry

Ghost written after an interview with me as the source. Heck of a job by Dennis McCafferty.

If there is one unifying and indisputable fact about the hackers of the world, it’s this: They go where the money goes.

This makes the financial services industry one of their favorite targets. Once they compromise an organization in the sector, they can make thousands – or tens of thousands or much, much more – by stealing credit card account numbers, committing wire fraud, emptying savings accounts, etc. Or they can profit off of ill-gotten intelligence, selling or buying stock shares based upon non-publicly disclosed insider information contained “within the vault.”

That’s why financial services organizations should view regulatory compliance not as an onerous, “check the boxes” effort, but one that can ensure the continued integrity of their operations and reputation.

In seeking to reduce the risk of debit and credit card loss and limit identity theft, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) sets 12 security requirements for all companies (including banks and other financial institutions) that process, store, transmit or accept credit card information, regardless of size or number of transactions. The requirements cover firewall configuration, cardholder data encryption, secure systems/applications development, physical access to data and regular testing. Unfortunately, global PCI DSS compliance among firms has fallen for two straight years and now stands at 36.7 percent, down from 55.4 percent in 2016, according to the 2019 Payment Security Report from Verizon. Fines for PCI DSS violations range from $5,000 to $100,000 per month.

It’s worth noting that, in prior annual Payment Security reports, Verizon has revealed that no organizations were found to be fully compliant at the time of a breach, demonstrating lower compliance with ten out of the 12 PCI DSS key requirements. In addition, only 29 percent of companies are still fully compliant with PCI DSS less than a year after being validated. This speaks to a governance problem, as these firms are failing to commit to a sufficient level of continuous monitoring which will effectively manage both risk and compliance over time.

It’s clear that an ever-elevating threat landscape is creating formidable compliance and risk-management barriers: Based upon its analysis of nearly 41,700 security incidents and more than 2,010 breaches, the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) indicates that the finance industry accounted for 927 of those incidents (ranked #4 among all sectors) and 207 of the breaches (third overall, behind only the public sector and healthcare). These organizations also suffered the second-highest average cost of a data breach at $5.86 million – 49 percent greater than the $3.92 million global average for all industries, according to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report from the Ponemon Institute and IBM.

What’s more, increasing activity in the cloud is adding to the complexities of data protection and compliance: Financial services organizations are allocating 41 percent of their IT budgets to the public cloud, up from 34 percent in 2018, according to research from Refinitiv. Sixty-seven percent of the industry’s firms either are already invested in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)/public cloud offerings or are planning to, compared to 59 percent of companies in general, according to 451 Research. Fifty-five percent of these firms are either already invested in Platform as a Service (Paas) or are planning to, compared to 46 percent of companies in general.

However, despite the abundant activity in the cloud, there is much trepidation: Technologies supporting cloud migrations are considered the top contributor to cybersecurity risk for financial services organizations, as cited by three-fifths of the industry’s security practitioners, according to research from Ponemon. (Blockchain tools ranked #2, as cited by 52 percent of these professionals.)

At Caveonix, we have dedicated ourselves to helping financial services organizations readily comply, thus enabling them to better defend their data and systems – whether on-premise or in the cloud. Our Caveonix RiskForesight platform implements continuous compliance to ensure our customers are meeting regulatory standards across their infrastructure and applications. The solution tracks and reports adherence to compliance requirements, and determines the impact of configuration and vulnerability changes on compliance. RiskForesight detects compliance drift and how to bring it back into compliance.

RiskForesight distinguishes itself because it delivers an ongoing, continuous evaluation of where our customers stand, identifying and assessing compliance and risk wherever their data exists. The Caveonix team firmly believes that, if you can see it, you can quantify it. And if you can quantify it, you can apply the governance required to incorporate effective controls. We understand that satisfying regulations are about more than “checking boxes” – they’re about successfully managing risk and protecting information in the interest of operational integrity and brand reputation. If you’d like to talk about how we can work together to help solve your compliance/cybersecurity problems, then please contact us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

CRITICALSTART CEO Rob Davis selected as EY Entrepreneur of the Year® 2020 Southwest Finalist

I'm so incredibly proud of Rob!! Congratulations!!! He's the best brother, mentor, and friend you could have. I still learn from him constantly. He's exacting and demanding of the best you can give, but selfless and giving to help you get there.

"Congratulations to CRITICALSTART CEO, Rob Davis, who has been selected by an independent panel of judges as an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Southwest Finalist. Rob was selected as a finalist for his vision, leadership, and determination in our ever-changing world.

Widely considered as one of the most prestigious business award programs in the U.S., this program recognizes entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities- while also transforming our world.

Regional award winners will be virtually announced on Friday, October 2, 2020."

Friday, June 26, 2020

AWS, Accenture, Palo Alto: State of the Cloud

3000 people consulted from AWS, Accenture, Palo Alto Networks across
  • Financial Services and Insurance,
  • Consumer and Industrial Products,
  • Energy and Resources,
  • Technology and Telecommunications, and
  • Life Sciences And Healthcare

Download here:

Selected Highlights 
Compute spread: VMs 30%, containers 24%, CaaS 21%, PaaS 22%

We are in a multicloud, multi-compute world
  • 94% of organizations use more than 1 cloud platform
  • 60% use between 2 and 5 platforms
  • AWS is the most popular public cloud service provider
The top three challenges for moving workloads to the cloud
  • Technical complexity (42%)
  • Maintaining comprehensive security (39%)
  • Ensuring compliance (32%)
More security tools doesn’t necessarily mean better security
  • Companies investing more than $100 million in cloud are trimming the number of tools they use. 53% of this high-spending group use just 5 or fewer cloud security tools
  • Acquiring more tools and vendors can create inefficiencies and make employee tool training more difficult
  • Companies start to see overlaps between tools and vendor offerings, so they consolidate and rationalize tools and tool providers
  • 71% of companies use third-party vendor tools, 65% use CSP-provided security tools and 62% use open source tools
Cloud security spend is rapidly catching up with cloud spend
  • Cloud security spend is highest for companies with an annual cloud budget of $100 million or more
  • 34% of these high spenders allocate 16% or more of their cloud budget to security
Greatest challenge to providing comprehensive cloud security.
  1. Lack of visibility 15%
  2. Tool training 14%
  3. Safe practice training 11%
  4. Evaluating current state 11%
  5. Integration of security tools 10%
  6. Securing budget 10%
  7. Security reporting tools 8%
  8. Automation 6%
  9. Executive buy-in 4%
  10. Other 1%
More Numbers
  • 65% of survey organization’s invested more than 10% of their 2019 cloud budget in securing their cloud estates.
  • 58% use 6 or more cloud security vendors.
  • 57% use 6 or more cloud security tools.
  • 77% of companies have cloud security teams bigger than 20 people.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hot News! 25% of enterprises by Summer 2021 will be 100% all-cloud.

All-in on All-cloud! 

Excellent summary by Joe McKendrick on ZDNet of a survey conducted by O'Reilly Media covering large organizations with more than 10,000 employees. Market share for this study was AWS at 67%, Azure at 48%, and GCP at 32%.

Here's the summarized takeaways:
  • 17% of large organizations employees have already moved 100% of their applications to the cloud.
  • 25% of large organizations have plans to move 100% of their infrastructure to the cloud next year.
  • 54% of large organizations use multiple CSP's.
  • 67% of large organizations have plans to move more than 50% of their infrastructure to the cloud.
  • 90% of large organizations expect to increase their usage of cloud infrastructure.
  • 34% of large organizations are using serverless computing
  • 52% of large organizations use microservices with 70% saying they have <3 years experience using them
  • 35% of large organizations have implemented Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)
  • 47% of large organizations expect to implement Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)
Great work Joe and O'Reilly Media!

Friday, April 24, 2020

How to Gain Control Over a Multi-Cloud Environment

Here's my contribution to an information week article that will publish soon.

What's the best way for an organization to gain control over a multi-cloud environment?
    The purpose of gaining control is to manage risk. Period. An effective risk management framework looks at the priority and impact for each element and makes a decision about how to handle the risk. Start with what requirements apply to what assets. Subsequently implement uniform requirements and test security and compliance controls before authorizing production. Starting with a known good state, continuously validate the environment looking for a deviation from your acceptable risk.

    The six executed steps of the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) are usually shown in a circular pattern. Wash, rinse, repeat:
    1. Categorize System
    2. Select Controls
    3. Implement Controls
    4. Assess Controls
    5. Authorize System
    6. Monitor System  
    Why does this technique work so well?

    An organization looking to gain control of their cloud footprint already feels the pain from their distribution of assets and differences in technology stacks and features. A solid risk management framework as required by every regulation, standard, and security best practice framework. ISO. PCI. HIPAA. GDPR. Name drop… Keep going. Why? It's because getting everything set up properly the first time is difficult. But managing over time? Much more difficult. Governance is the new gold rush.

    Is there anything else an organization can do to make a multi-cloud environment more manageable?

    Gartner performed a comprehensive study of risk management frameworks several years ago. Their conclusion? It doesn't matter which one you implement. You need to implement one. Complex environment? Cloud computing? Multiple geographies? Focus on risk management. Decide how to identify and measure risk, quantify, and produce truly actionable results. The report of 15,000 entries doesn't help me. Show me where to focus and specifically tell me why.  

    What's the biggest mistake enterprises make when trying to gain better control over a multi-cloud environment?
      The single biggest mistakes enterprises make:
      1. Failing to prioritize and rank impact your findings. This is the purpose of a risk management framework.
      2. Failing to take any action as you look for perfect information, solutions, decision points. Analysis paralysis. Take the problem, break it down into small chunks, and delegate.
      3. Ignoring blind spots because you don't have enough technical depth or visibility across the multi-cloud environment.
      Is there anything else you would like to add?

      Measure. Act. Measure again. Figure out how to incorporate risk management into your entire environment.