Last year the Media Sonar Research team compiled a list of 20 security experts and thought leaders to follow. Back by popular demand, this article shares 30 corporate, cyber, and information security experts that are leading the charge in making the world around us safer and more secure. In no particular order, this group of thought leaders should be on every security professional’s radar in 2023.
1. Gary Hayslip – CISO at SoftBank Investment Advisers
Gary Hayslip is an experienced Global CISO with repeated success delivering innovative and efficient security programs. Currently, Hayslip is the CISO at SoftBank Investment Advisers – The Vision Fund, Vision Fund II, and SoftBank Group International – The LATAM Fund, The Opportunity Fund, and The Tech Fund. Previously, Hayslip has held multiple executive positions, including CISO, CIO, Deputy Director of IT, and Chief Privacy Officer roles for the U.S. Navy, the City of San Diego, California, and Webroot Software. In addition, Hayslip has co-authored the CISO Desk Reference Guide: A Practical Guide for CISOs – Volumes 1 & 2 series, The Executive Primer, and authored The Essential Guide to Cybersecurity for SMBs and Developing your Cybersecurity Career Path. Hayslip also serves as a board member and advisor to boards of directors and is actively involved in professional organizations such as ISC2, ISSA, ISACA, and Infragard.
2. Matthew Rosenquist – CISO at Eclipz
Matthew Rosenquist is an industry-recognized CISO and strategic security expert with 30 years of experience building world-class teams, managing security operations, developing security products, and improving corporate security services. Since March 2020, Rosenquist has been the CISO at Eclipz, a cybersecurity solution provider focused on securing data in transit. Rosenquist is a trusted advisor for academia, businesses, and governments worldwide and delivers engaging keynotes, speeches, interviews, and consulting sessions. He has recently launched his LinkedIn Learning Course: Five Biggest Mistakes of Cybersecurity Programs, where he explores the power of learning from others’ mistakes to improve organizations’ ability to manage digital risk.
3. Chuck Brooks – President, Brooks Consulting International
Chuck Brooks is a globally recognized thought leader and subject matter expert in Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. He is the President of Brooks Consulting International and a professor at Georgetown University’s Graduate Applied Intelligence Program and the Graduate Cybersecurity Programs, where he teaches courses on risk management, homeland security, and cybersecurity. Brooks has served at executive levels in both government and industry. He has served at The Department of Homeland Security in legislative leadership roles at The Science & Technology Directorate, the Domestic Nuclear Defense Organization, and FEMA. He served as a security and technology advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter on Capitol Hill and a Technology Partner Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He currently serves as a Subject Matter Expert for The Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC). He also sits on the advisory boards of several corporations and organizations involved in cybersecurity and homeland security, including the Safe America Foundation.
4. Alexandre Blanc – Strategic and Security Advisor at VARS
Alexandre Blanc has 20+ years of experience in infrastructure management and securing systems from online threats. His passion is to correlate information from Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and draw global trends in the cyber threat landscape. Since 2020, Blanc has put his expertise at companies’ service as the Strategic and Security Advisor at VARS, a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). He was awarded as one of the twenty outstanding contributors to global knowledge sharing for 2019 and 2020 by the European Risk Policy Institute. He is also engaged in defining new technological standards, such as being involved in discussions with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on the standardization of Zero Trust in collaboration with several American federal agencies (DHS personnel, FBI, DOD, DARPA, etc.).
5. Naomi Buckwalter – Director of Product Security, Contrast Security
Naomi Buckwalter has over 20 years of experience in IT and Security. As the Director of Product Security at Contrast Security, she is responsible for identifying and mitigating potential vulnerabilities, implementing secure development practices, and collaborating across departments to ensure the safety and security of the company’s software products. In addition to her role at Contrast Security, Buckwalter is the Founder & Executive Director of Cybersecurity Gatebreakers Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the demand gap in cybersecurity hiring. She is a highly sought-after speaker on cybersecurity and technology topics. She has spoken at 100+ conferences, events, school groups, webinars, podcasts, and nonprofits, including RSA, SANS, OWASP, ISACA, ISC2, 7CTOs, Secure World, Cyber Futures Foundation, and WiCyS. She also created the LinkedIn Learning course, “Building the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Professionals,” focused on discovering hidden potential, dispelling common myths in cybersecurity job applicants, onboarding new hires for future success, and more.
6. John Strand – Owner at Black Hills Information Security
John Strand has an extensive background in providing security education and services. He owns Black Hills Information Security, a company specializing in penetration testing and security architecture services, and Antisyphon Security Training, a training firm specializing in affordable, world-class security training. Stand spends considerable time teaching and presenting worldwide and believes that education is how the world of information security will change for the better. He has presented for the FBI, NASA, the NSA, and DefCon and is a frequent guest on Enterprise Security Weekly. With 15+ years as a senior instructor with the SANS Institute, he taught various courses, including Hacker Technologies, Exploited and Incident Handling, Network Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking, and Hacker Detection for System Administration.
7. Christophe Foulon – Senior Manager, Cybersecurity and Technology Risk Oversight at Capital One
On Chrisophe Foulon’s first day working at a help desk, an employee had a post-it note on their computer with their password written. He thought, “There has to be a safer way,” and his passion for cybersecurity was born. Since then, Foulon has accumulated over a decade of experience in cybersecurity, risk management, and compliance. He is currently the Senior Manager, Cybersecurity and Technology Risk Oversight for Capital One, a Volunteer Information Technology Co-Sector Chief for InfraGardNCR, and an Executive Board Member – Workforce Research and Development for Whole Cyber Human Initiative. In addition, he is the founder and co-host of the podcast “Breaking into Cybersecurity,” which aims to inspire the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
8. Robert Lee – Founder and CEO at Dragos Inc.
Robert Lee obtained his start in cybersecurity in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a Cyber Warfare Operations Officer tasked to the National Security Agency. In 2016, Lee founded Dragos Inc., an industrial cybersecurity technology company on a mission to safeguard civilization. He serves on the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee and Grid Resilience for National Security subcommittee as well as the World Economic Forum’s subcommittees on Cyber Resilience in Oil and Gas and Electricity communities. He has testified to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as the U.S. House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to advise on policy issues in relation to industrial critical infrastructure cyber threats. Lee is a Senior Instructor and course author for multiple SANS Institute courses, including “Active Defense and Incident Response” and “Cyber Threat Intelligence.” Along with Jeff Haas, Robert also authors the weekly technology and security webcomic titled Little Bobby.
9. Mark Lynd – Head of Digital Business at NETSYNC
Mark Lynd is an accomplished executive with over 23 years of experience in technology and cybersecurity. As the Head of Digital Business at NETSYNC., a global technology value-added reseller, he is part of the executive leadership team. Mark’s achievements include being a finalist for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of Year – Southwest Region” in 2000, presenting the Doak Walker Award on ESPN’s College Football Awards Show, and being ranked the #1 Global Security Thought Leader in 2022 by Thinkers360. In his role at Netsync, Mark serves as an executive advisor for the company’s public and private sector clients worldwide. He has a particular focus on collaborating with the leadership of over 250 K-12 and higher education institutions across the United States regarding their cybersecurity and incident response capabilities. Throughout his distinguished career, Mark has held various leadership positions, including CEO, CIO, CTO, and CISO, for several global organizations. He has also contributed his expertise to several academic and technology boards, including serving on the board for SMU’s Cox School of Business. Mark is a sought-after thought leader and speaker, frequently presenting on topics such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, diversity, STEM, and veteran affairs for organizations like Oracle, IBM Watson, Cisco, HP, SailPoint, AT&T, Intel, and other leading organizations.
10. Richard Stiennon – Founder and Chief Research Analyst at IT-Harvest
Richard Stiennon is an industry analyst who has written and spoken about cybersecurity since 1995. He is the Founder and Chief Research Analyst at IT-Harvest – the first platform for researching the entire cybersecurity industry. Stiennon is the author of 10 books, including his latest book, Security Yearbook 2022, which provides a complete history and directory of the cybersecurity industry. Stiennon is also a board member and strategic advisor for a number of organizations, including sāf.ai, Anitian, and Phosphorus Cybersecurity Inc.
11. Chris Roberts – CISO at Boom Supersonic
Chris Roberts is the CISO for Boom Supersonic and has served as a vCISO and advisor for global organizations across industries. He is involved in both tactical and strategic discussions with clients – talking about risk, maturity, collaboration, communication, and how to effect change. Over the years, he’s been a part of a number of organizations and initiatives, including the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), The International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)², and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). His most recent projects are focused within the threat intelligence, identity, cryptography, Artificial Intelligence, and services space.
12. Bob Fabien Zinga – CISO at Santa Clara University
Bob Fabien Zinga is a visionary senior-level cybersecurity and technology risk executive with over 26 years of certified IT experience. Zinga is the CISO at Santa Clara University and an Information Warfare Commander (CDR) in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Before his position at Santa Clara University, Zinga built his expertise in a number of roles, such as Head of Security and IT at Directly (now part of Movate), CISO at Truvantis, Information Security Manager at Groupon, and Director of Cybersecurity and Privacy for the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, CA. He serves as an advisor & Co-Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee of Santa Clara University Silicon Valley Executive Center Black Corporate Board Readiness Alumni Advisory Council, an Executive Board Advisor for the United Cybersecurity Alliance, and a Board Director for AZ Cyber Initiative.
13. Dan Lohrmann – Field CISO for Public Sector at Presidio
Dan Lohrmann is a recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker, blogger, and author. As field CISO for the public sector at Presidio, he supports government clients in developing strategic and tactical plans and ensuring people, process, and technology solutions work together to deploy effective solutions. Lohrmann is the co-author of ‘Cyber Mayday and the Day After: A Leader’s Guide to Preparing, Managing and Recovering from Inevitable Business Disruptions.’ and has contributed to a number of publications, including Government Technology Magazine, CSO Magazine, Computerworld, Huffington Post, Forbes, and more. He is a trusted source for government cybersecurity counsel and has advised leaders at the White House, National Governor’s Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state, and local government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.
14. Paul Asadoorian – Founder and CEO of Security Weekly
Paul Asadoorian is the Founder and CEO of Security Weekly. This security podcast is dedicated to providing the security community with valuable knowledge and insights, the latest security news, interviews with the industry’s finest, and technical how-to segments. In addition to leading the team in creating content for the security community, he is also the primary host of several shows, including Hack Naked News, Paul’s Security Weekly, and Enterprise Security Weekly. Paul is also the Firmware Security Evangelist for Eclypsium, Inc., a supply chain security solution and the co-founder and advisor of Offensive CounterMeasures. Asadoorian has also been an instructor for The SANS Institute, an IANS faculty member, and has presented at security conferences, including RSA, Derbycon, Brucon, SOURCE Conference, and more.
In her 20+ years of cybersecurity experience, Jane Frankland has held a number of senior executive positions, sat on the board of Black Hat Exec and SC Magazine, and has been actively involved in OWASP and The Council for Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST). She is the Founder of INSecurity Movement, CEO and Owner of KnewStart, and Founder of The Source Platform for women in cyber. Frankland is represented by The London Speaking Bureau and shares her expertise with forward-thinking companies, governments, the United Nations, EU Commission, World Digital Assessment Council, and events like Harvard Asia, Black Hat, and WebSummit.
16. Bret Arsenault – Corporate Vice President, CISO at Microsoft
Bret Arsenault is a seasoned executive with 25+ years of security experience in multiple technology disciplines. He is the Corporate Vice President and CISO at Microsoft, responsible for enterprise-wide information security, compliance, and business continuity efforts. He currently serves as the Chairman of Microsoft’s Information Risk Management Council, convening company-wide teams focusing on data protection. He also hosts Microsoft’s Security Council, a forum with enterprise customers that drives product direction and operational best practices. Arsenault is a respected security leader globally and is recognized for his ability to navigate risk through innovative leadership and vision. He has the proven ability to build robust and successful security programs, leveraging his deep technical background and strong business acumen to align engineering with executive vision.
17. Dave DeWalt – Founder, CEO, and Managing Director at NightDragon
Dave DeWalt is a veteran CEO, advisor, and investor who has led companies, from startups to the Fortune 500, on a transformational journey of success. He is the Founder, CEO, and Managing Director of NightDragon, an investment and advisory firm focused on growth and late-stage cybersecurity, safety, security, and privacy companies. DeWalt serves as Managing Director of Allegis Cyber and is an investor and board member in the world’s most innovative companies, such as Delta Airlines, Five9, Forescout, Phantom Cyber, Claroty, Team8, DataTribe, Illusive Networks, and Optiv.
18. Tyler Cohen Wood – Co-Founder at Dark Cryptonite
Tyler Cohen Wood has an extensive background in cyber threats, cyber warfare, and mitigating cyber risk. She is co-founder of Dark Cryptonite, a revolutionary Special Comms cybersecurity method, and hosts My Connected Life: Digital Health Disrupted. She has worked at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the DoD, serving as a Senior Intelligence Officer, Deputy Cyber Division Chief of the Special Communications Division, and has helped the White House, DoD, federal law enforcement, and the intelligence community thwart many threats to the United States cyber security. She has given keynotes for companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100s and has been featured on various media outlets such as Good Morning America, FOX and Friends, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, FOX. She is a published author, and her latest book, Catching the Catfishers: Disarm the Online Pretenders, Predators, and Perpetrators Who Are Out to Ruin Your Life, teaches how to safely and successfully navigate the online world.
19. Helen Yu – Founder and CEO at Tigon Advisory Corp.
Helen Yu is a respected industry thought leader in digital transformation, AI, Cybersecurity, IoT, Supply Chain, and customer experience with over 25 years of experience. As the Founder and CEO of Tigon Advisory Corp., she provides consulting services to companies of all sizes. Yu brings a unique perspective as a board member for a number of organizations, including KEENFOLKS, Verras Capital LP, Global Cybersecurity Association, Pypestream, and Jebbit. She has demonstrated success in leading ambitious companies, ranging from early-stage startups and pre-IPOs to Fortune 500 enterprises, including Oracle, Adobe, and Marketo.
20. Debbie Reynolds – CEO and Chief Data Privacy Officer at Debbie Reynolds Consulting LLC
Debbie Reynolds has made a name for herself as a leading voice and trusted advisor in the world of Data Privacy and Emerging Technology with over 20 years of experience. As the CEO and Chief Data Privacy Officer of Debbie Reynolds Consulting LLC, she brings a unique combination of technical expertise, business acumen, and passionate advocacy to her work. Reynolds hosts the #1 award-winning “The Data Diva” Talks Privacy Podcast and is a sought-after speaker featured at conferences and organizations such as The Berkeley Forum, DocuSign, McDonald’s, Fannie Mae, Business Insider, and PrivSec. She has been featured by media outlets such as PBS, Wired, Business Insider, Protocol, USA Today, New Statesman, Dark Reading, and Bloomberg. Additionally, she was appointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce to the Internet of Things (IoT) Advisory Board in 2022 and serves as the IEEE Committee Chair for Cyber Security for Next Generation Connectivity Systems at IEEE for Human Control & Flow.
21. Dr. Erik J. Huffman – Director of IT at BombBomb
Dr. Erik J. Huffman is a cybersecurity researcher, cyberpsychologist, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur, and host of the MiC Club podcast. Currently, he teaches as an adjunct professor at Westcliff University, is the Director of IT at BombBomb, and the Founder of Handshake Leadership, an organizational development company that emphasizes scholarly research, cyber education, and organizational development consulting. He has also served as a board member for the Board on Army RDT&E, Systems Acquisition, and Logistics, serving ASA(ALT), where he provided subject matter expertise in science, technology, system development, cyberpsychology, cybersecurity, risk, assessment, and procurement; business management; and logistics. Dr. Huffman has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a Master of Project Management in Information Technology, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy.
22. Sam Curry – VP, CISO at Zscaler
Sam Curry has over 2 decades of experience as an entrepreneur, infosec expert, and executive at organizations such as RSA, Arbor Networks, CA, McAfee, Cybereason, and more. He is the VP, CISO at Zscaler and an Adjunct Professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology and Nichols College. He is a board member and advisor for a number of organizations such as Sequitor Labs, Nandi Security, ITsavvy, and the Center for Cybersecurity Policy and Law. Curry is dedicated to empowering defenders in cyber conflict and fulfilling the promise of security by enabling a safe, reliable, connected world.
23. Stu Sjouwerman – Founder and CEO at KnowBe4
Stu Sjouwerman is a serial entrepreneur and data security expert with 30+ years in the IT industry. After realizing that the human element of security was being seriously neglected, he founded KnowBe4, Inc., which hosts the world’s most popular integrated Security Awareness Training and Simulated Phishing platform, helping organizations manage the problem of cybercrime social engineering tactics. Sjouwerman co-founded Inc. 500 company Sunbelt Software, a multiple award-winning anti-malware software company acquired in 2010 by VIPRE Security Group. Sjouwerman is the author of four books, the latest being “Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses” and is Editor-in-Chief of Cyberheist News, an e-zine tailored to deliver IT security news, technical updates, and social engineering alerts to IT professionals.
24. Alyssa Miller – CISO at Epiq
Alyssa Miller is a lifelong hacker and highly experienced security executive, blending a unique mix of technical expertise and executive experience to bridge the gap that can often form between security practitioners and business leaders. Today, she is the CISO at Epiq, a Board Member of Epiphany Solution Group, and on the Board of Advisors for the Blue Team Con cybersecurity conference. Miller is a published author, and her book “Cybersecurity Career Guide” explores how readers can kickstart a career in cybersecurity by adapting existing technical and non-technical skills. She shares her message about evolving how people think about and approach security, privacy and trust through speaking engagements such as TEDx, RSA, and several other conferences and events.
25. Dr. Magda Chelly – Managing Director and CISO at Responsible Cyber
Dr. Magda Chelly is an award-winning global cybersecurity leader. She is the Managing Director and CISO at Responsible Cyber and the author of numerous books, including “Being Brave; Vera’s Cyber Adventures,” which combines cybersecurity with science fiction and romance, intending to raise cyber awareness among the general public. In her career, Chelly has worn several hats. She has been an Information Security Officer for multiple organizations, including multinational insurance corporations. She developed businesses in the cyber advisory space including co-founding a cybersecurity start-up in Singapore valued at 7 Million SGD in 2020. She is a popular keynote speaker, delivering engaging presentations worldwide in five languages: English, French, Polish, Italian, and Arabic for corporate events, practitioners, and academic conferences. Her research writings around cybersecurity have been featured by IEEE, RSA Conference, World Congress on Internet Security (WorldCIS-2016), CYBER RISK LEADERS Magazine.
26. Alissa Abdullah – Deputy Chief Security Officer & Senior Vice President of Emerging Corporate Security Solutions for Mastercard
Alissa Abdullah is an award-winning IT and Cybersecurity Executive with 20+ years of experience in the intelligence community and private sector. She is the Deputy Chief Security Officer & Senior Vice President of Emerging Corporate Security Solutions for Mastercard, a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and on the board for various organizations, including Girls in Tech, Inc, and Smartsheet. She has built a wealth of cybersecurity knowledge and experience through previous roles, including CISO at Xerox, CISO at Stryker, and Deputy CIO at the Executive Office of the President.
27. Deneen DeFiore – Vice President and CISO at United Airlines
Deneen DeFiore is a highly accomplished thought leader with more than 20 years of experience in technology and cybersecurity. She serves as Vice President and CISO at United Airlines, ensuring the company is prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to evolving cyber threats, leading commercial aviation cyber safety risk initiatives, and improving cyber resilience across the aviation ecosystem. DeFiore advises global companies and their senior executives on technology, cybersecurity, compliance, and digital risk related decisions and sits on several boards and committees at companies such as Blackbaud, Airlines for America, and Internet Security Alliance.
28. Chloé Messdaghi – CEO and Founder at Global Secure Partners
Chloé Messdaghi is an accomplished security executive with a proven track record of advising and developing solutions that drive improvements in security teams and the industry as a whole. She is the CEO & Founder of Global Secure Partners and a Managing Partner at Impactive Consulting. She is an experienced public speaker at conferences, conventions, forums, and corporate events hosted by Fortune 500 companies and industry associations. Her research, op-eds, and commentary have been featured in numerous outlets, including Forbes, Business Insider, Bloomberg, and TechRepublic. Messdaghi’s work has earned her many distinctions, including being listed as a Power Player in cybersecurity by Business Insider and SC Media.
Rik Ferguson helps businesses and individuals understand the complexities of technology and its intersection with cybercrime. He is the VP of Security Intelligence at Forescout Technologies Inc. and Co-Founder at Respect in Security, an initiative set up to take a stand against all forms of harassment in Infosec. He advises law enforcement, governments, and enterprises, including Vaultree and Europol’s European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3). Ferguson has published papers, articles, and videos and regularly speaks at conferences, including RSA, Mobile World Congress, Milken Institute, Virus Bulletin, RUSI, and the e-Crime Congress.
30. Guy Caspi – Chairman of the Board at Deep Instinct
Guy Caspi is a seasoned CEO and serial entrepreneur with over two decades of enterprise technology experience in executive C-suite positions. He is the founder and former CEO (2015-2022) at Deep Instinct. In September 2022, he was nominated as Chairman of the Board and Chief Alliance Officer. His vision and leadership have helped organizations meet growth and revenue targets in several stages of maturity, from early startup through post-IPO. Caspi is a thought leader with deep domain expertise in deep learning and AI assimilation in cybersecurity and was selected as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2017. Additionally, he was nominated in 2018 as a board member of the prestigious Forbes Technology Council.