Thursday, May 4, 2017

🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: 'No More Magic Wands' George Finney

GEORGE FINNEY, ESQ., has worked in Cybersecurity for over 15 years and is the author of No More Magic Wands: Transformative Cybersecurity Change for Everyone. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Southern Methodist University where he has also taught on the subject of Corporate Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Mr. Finney is an attorney and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional as well as a Certified Information Security Systems Professional and has spoken on Cybersecurity topics across the country.



Once upon a time there was a company that made magic wands, but when they were hacked all the magic in the world couldn’t prevent their data from being stolen. If that company had a chance for a clean start, what would they have done differently? The unlikely hero isn’t a security guy. She’s a business elf who makes it her mission to change the way her company does business from the top down.

Most books on Cybersecurity are written for highly technical professionals, focus on specific compliance regulations, or are intended for reference. No More Magic Wands is takes complex security concepts and puts them into practice in easy to read, relateable stories.

No More Magic Wands is available at AMAZON

As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I was teaching a class on cybersecurity for undergrads a few years ago. The students in the class had never taken any cybersecurity classes before, and it made me look at security with new eyes. The more technical I made the class, the less approachable the material became. I started to try and find ways to make the material more relatable to someone who wasn’t technical at all, and the students really responded. I hope to bring this experience to everyone since it’s such an incredibly important issue right now.

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Much of what is written about Cybersecurity focuses on technology or compliance, so I wanted to write a book that was approachable and understandable by everyone. No More Magic Wands is a book for non-technical managers or executives inside corporations to help them better understand the basic concepts of Cybersecurity and how they can play a role in protecting their companies from cyber criminals. The book tells the fairy-tale story of a company using a case study model, with each chapter giving a new lesson for readers to digest.

Can you give us an excerpt?

Suddenly, the clouds broke and a rainbow began to descend toward Harmony. Its colors were vivid, unlike any rainbow she had seen before. In fact, it seemed solid and tangible, as if she could stand on it. The rainbow traveled downward until it ended right at Harmony’s feet. A door opened up between the yellow and indigo stripes, and a smallish man with a bushy red beard and a green top hat stepped through. He wore a huge smile and looked at Harmony as if he were an old friend.
The door, which was made of two giant stripes of green and blue, closed behind him and began to fade slightly. The leprechaun waddled the short distance to Harmony and introduced himself. “I’m Chatty McPatty,” the leprechaun snorted. “I’ve been trying to get in touch with you for some time.”
“You found me,” Harmony said. “Do I know you?”
“I just want to take a second of your time and introduce myself. You seem like an elf that is coming up in the world. And I hear that you’re leading your company into a more secure future. Congratulations.”
“Thank you. It’s good to know that our reputation for security is starting to get out there, I think. How did you say you heard about it?”
“Just a whisper in the air. The will o’ the wisp. If you don’t mind me askin’, what type of firewalls would you be usin’?”

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

It took a long time to find my own routine that works for my schedule working a full time job. I wish I had been able to fall into a rhythm earlier in my life to spend more time honing my craft. And I think my biggest regret is not joining a writing group or taking writing classes earlier on.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

I always make a mix tape for every project I work on.  Whenever I write, I want the same mix playing, like I’ve made a soundtrack for each project. I think it keeps me in the same frame of mind and helps keep the atmosphere of whatever I’m working on the same as I work on it over the course of weeks or months.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

Whenever I talk to someone who has read my work, they’ll have a favorite quote. I don’t think I’m particularly quotable and I hardly ever remember my own quotes. Sometimes I’ve even asked, hey, that’s cool…who wrote that?

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

I actually think I don’t get enough tough criticism. People want to be so supportive that it’s been hard to get honest feedback.

What has been the best accomplishment?

I gave a talk several years ago at a conference. I didn’t think it was a big deal, I just wanted to give back to the community on a particular topic. But it has been amazing that several years later, I still run into people that tell me how they still go back and reference their notes from that talk.

Do you Google yourself?

I love it when I Google my books and I see that someone has written a blog post about my book or something I said at a conference that made them think.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I’ve got a few more than I’d like to admit. The challenge of being a part-time writer is that time is at a premium. Working on a project is a commitment, and that means you’re not working on other ideas, so when I don’t finish one, it feels like I’ve wasted a few months or a year.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Going through the process of writing the book helped me discover what is really important to me in my own career and how that connects to Cybersecurity. I feel like I have a direction that I couldn’t have envisioned just 12 months ago. I hope that people find it, not just valuable, but enjoyable as well.

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