Why We Created Ed TALKS
I had an epiphany a few years ago: over my 20 years in software security, I have met some of the most interesting, insightful, and influential voices in the industry. I don’t say that to brag. No, my epiphany was about how fortunate I have been to work alongside so many bright and influential people, many of whom have impacted my personal and professional development in significant ways. It was an exciting discovery to realize how powerful the perspectives of others can be. And it led to an obvious question: why not share those perspectives with the broader cybersecurity community? And so, Ed TALKS was born.
Introducing Ed TALKS
What if we made the essential conversations in cybersecurity – the ones happening in back offices and around workstations – public instead of private? That was the animating idea for the show.
I thought it would be amazing to have a roundtable with three experts to discuss important issues in cybersecurity. Not only would it be fun and fascinating for the guests and me, but it could also be educational for all our listeners by bringing bold ideas, provocative voices, and forward-thinking approaches to a larger audience. My company is called Security Innovation. What better way to stoke and spread that innovation than by advancing the conversation in cybersecurity?
We kicked off the first Ed TALK on July 20, 2020, with a hot button issue for me and one that we don’t seem to be improving upon - the waning use of security principles within tech teams over the years. While not a specialized topic, it proved the concept by sparking a lively, often-surprising conversation and gained a fast following. There have been almost 20 Ed TALKS since and dozens of hours of discussions between cybersecurity luminaries eager to speak their minds and bounce ideas around.
At a time when cybersecurity feels equally essential and elusive, Ed TALKS has become a source of practical strategies and fresh thinking. I humbly suggest it’s one of the most interesting conversations happening in cybersecurity right now. And with every episode, my guests and I strive to keep listeners not just engaged and informed but also enlightened and empowered to do things better.
Ed TALKS has a different topic for each episode, but a few common themes run through them all. That’s on purpose. I use the show to evangelize a few concepts I think everyone in cybersecurity should get onboard with:
- Accessibility – There’s a talent shortage in cybersecurity driven, I believe, by a widespread misconception that only people with technical degrees can be successful. I regularly have guests who are C-Level security executives despite having degrees in things like Philosophy and Spanish. The industry often prioritizes credentials over character. I want to bring on guests that illustrate why cybersecurity is more accessible than it seems.
- Diversity – Related to the previous point, the leading minds in cybersecurity right now don’t fit into one mold. They are diverse in terms of gender, race, identity, and background – a fact I’m eager to highlight on Ed TALKS. We have a diverse field of guests who represent cybersecurity as it exists. We challenge stereotypes and bring new viewpoints into the discourse.
- Urgency – Everything runs on software these days, and there can be enormous consequences for individuals, businesses, and entire industries if that software gets attacked. I want to shine a light on how pervasive software has become and how much risk that creates as a result. Many of my guests and I are sounding the alarm about issues people are starting to take seriously, but where there still needs to be a greater sense of urgency.
What Makes Us Different?
We are well aware that Ed TALKS is not the first show about cybersecurity. So what makes us different? In a word: authenticity.
We aim to eliminate the buzzwords, sales pitches, and vague hypotheticals that plague most conversations about cybersecurity. Instead, we want to talk honestly, openly, and directly about what’s working and what’s not.
The topics we cover derive from the experiences of Global 50 companies to small startups. They are the things that matter to people in the trenches of cybersecurity, working with lean teams and strapped budgets - not the perspectives of analysts who work on the periphery of the industry.
We talk to people who carry the weight of cybersecurity on their shoulders every day. On Ed TALKS, where panelists are unshackled from corporate communications, they can offer uncensored, unfettered, unencumbered opinions. Cybersecurity is messy, and failure is common. Our guests don’t shy away from any of that, and listeners receive honest, actionable advice as a result.
From our authentic conversation comes an authentic solution.
What’s Next for Ed TALKS?
The response to Ed TALKS has been enthusiastic from guests eager to join the conversation and listeners excited about the next episode. We plan to continue producing 8-10 episodes per year. There’s certainly no shortage of topics to discuss.
We also want to take the mission of Ed TALKS – elevating awareness about cybersecurity – and apply it to different formats. In the future, we hope to take some of the strategies our guests recommend and turn them into concise, consumable playbooks, bringing the advice of the experts into a real-world security strategy. We will also be posting various data, quotes, tips, and blogs we find valuable for other cybersecurity folks on the Ed TALKS page. We hope that the content and related resources serve as a shortcut for security practitioners to get the most vital information available.
We are incredibly proud of what Ed TALKS has become and excited about the future. Explore our library of past episodes, and stay tuned for our next one!
About Ed Adams, CEO
Ed Adams is a software quality and security expert with over 20 years of experience in the field. He served as a member of the Security Innovation Board of Directors since 2002 and as CEO since 2003. Ed has held senior management positions at Rational Software, Lionbridge, Ipswitch, and MathSoft. He was also an engineer for the US Army and Foster-Miller earlier in his career.
Ed is a Ponemon Institute Research Fellow, Privacy by Design Ambassador by the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Forbes Technology Council Member, and recipient of multiple SC Magazine’s Reboot Leadership Awards. He sits on the board of Cyversity, a non-profit committed to advancing minorities in the field of cyber security, and is a BoSTEM Advisory Committee member.