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Michael Madon is a recognized leader in the field of cyber security and the CEO of Ataata, a universal security awareness platform designed to reduce human error in the workforce. The Ataata platform delivers timely, engaging content to employees and measures effectiveness by converting data into actionable information, formulated to help companies reduce risk. Michael served as the U.S. Treasury’s first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence Integration. He also served as an active duty military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Bronze Star. Michael is a graduate of Cornell University, Columbia University and the Wharton School.


Christopher P. Skroupa:
What is the current state of cyber security in the modern corporate world?

Michael Madon: “Chaotic” and “haphazard” are the first words that come to mind. The risks and threats are always going to be there, but everyone approaches the problem differently. Show me 10 companies, and I’ll show you 10 different cyber security strategies—there is simply no standard. Security professionals know our field is in a bit of disarray. Unfortunately, hackers do too.

The industry is also facing a certain degree of tool fatigue. There are so many products on the market. Many of them do similar things, and it’s often difficult to differentiate between them. Security professionals typically find themselves throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall, hoping that some of it actually sticks.

But here’s the bigger issue. Too many companies are looking for a technical solution to what is essentially a human problem. Products can certainly help protect data and networks. But even the most sophisticated technology can only reduce exposure so much when a company’s biggest security risk works in-house.

People mess up. Employees make mistakes. And every member of a company’s workforce represents a point of vulnerability. Most security professionals agree that awareness training is the best way to tackle the problem. But traditional training methods (like the industry at large) are all over the map. And frankly, most of them don’t work.