Nearly 25 years ago, I received a present from a lifelong friend. The gift was, first and foremost, an attempt “to get me to read something less serious.” But the second intent was just as clear: to remind me to go where my heart takes me and always follow my dreams. The book was “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (the illustrated version, to reinforce the point about reading things less serious). If you have not read it, I strongly recommend that you do as it is lighthearted, poignant and I do not know anyone who has not been able to find a piece of themselves in its words.

Twenty years later, in 2013, I found this book again on my shelves and re-read it. It reminded me of the fact that my mission (my Personal Legend) was to bring my passion for security and technology to those who might not be aware of its importance. I began to set up a business to do just that. But like all things we think to be true, the world often has other ideas. During the process of establishing this new company, I came across a role with a company called ProQuest. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this role was to be a critical part of my journey toward achieving my Personal Legend.

And so I diverged from the idea of setting up my own business at the time and took the role at ProQuest and relocated from Chicagoland to Ann Arbor, Michigan. The next 5 1/2 years brought me the ability to learn even more about business. My role as security and privacy leader taught me about the necessary balance between security and utility, to realise how security (and privacy) can, and must, be part of the products, services, operations and ethos of a company, and helped me hone the idea for the business that would emerge and help me deliver on my Personal Legend that began to form in 2013.

My last day at ProQuest was Friday, and today, I begin my full-time work on Secratic. Secratic is the vehicle that I hope will let me bring the things I am passionate about, and the models that have brought me success in security and privacy to a set of clients that can benefit from them. The scope and focus of the work is that which I believe is missing from many offerings: the bridge between technology, security and privacy and the broader customer base and organizations that these essential things serve, along with the betterment of society through ethical and trustworthy use of technology and data.

Secratic is rooted in a few key offerings:

  • Being a knowledgeable, trusted advisor for security and privacy matters to your company or institution. We take the time to get to know your business, your customers, your users and your organization, just like an in-house Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) would. We invest in knowing how you and your colleagues operate so that we can give informed, contextually accurate advise to the questions you ask about how to start, implement, mature and maintain your security and privacy program(s).
  • Helping you to grow security and privacy leaders as you grow. Many Secratic clients arrive at a stage in their business where they do not yet need a full-time CISO or CPO. As our clients grow and need security and privacy leadership on staff full time, Secratic can help to identify the key traits required by your organization to fill these roles and develop the right job description that benefits you most.
  • As effective security and privacy leaders are increasingly hard to come by on the market, one of the best sources is to develop them internally within your organization. The transition from technologist to effective leader is not always innate, especially when trying to speak the language of your colleagues who are traditionally business-focused. Through our leadership mentoring program Secratic can help guide your up-and-coming technologists and prepare them for the move to security or privacy leadership (or any leadership role, for that matter!)

The irony was that the book that was meant to get me to “lighten up” my reading actually set me on a long and thoughtful journey, the next chapter of which begins today. With that, I declare Secratic fully open for business and look forward to helping you and your colleagues bring security and privacy vision and direction to your existing organization.