Full Transcript

George Kamide:

Happy New Year and welcome back to the Zero Hour.

 

Ashley, what stands out to me at the beginning of the year is how much is still spilling over from last year, 2020, that year of years. So in December we had the FTC talking about antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook. We have the solar winds breach affecting innumerable companies, government agencies.

 

And what came to mind is we live in this cybersecurity world, but how much these issues are now coming to the fore for end users and average consumers. I think that started with Cambridge Analytica, but it's been a long time coming that now personal users of these technologies are beginning to ask questions and think about cybersecurity in different ways.

 

Ashley Stone:

Yeah. Happy New Year. Not much has changed since 2020-2021, but you're right. People are starting to think about how these privacy concerns impact them because we're all on the front lines of dealing with these issues and being knowledgeable about them and getting educated on what's important is really becoming the story for everybody these days.

 

George Kamide:

Yeah. And so someone who got our attention is named  Taz Khan and she hosts an Instagram TV show called Tech With Taz. And it's amazing. She is a cybersecurity specialist by day with Morgan Franklin Consulting, but what she brings to that TV show is trying to distill data privacy issues, data privacy legislation , phishing techniques to the average end user. And I'm a little biased here, but she does it with like straight fire.

 

Ashley Stone:

Yes. I love her energy, everything about her, the ability to take such complex topics that many people don't know about and explain them clearly and simply is a win. And I've learned a ton just from watching her shows. There's so much to take away.

 

George Kamide:

Yeah, so let's get into it with Taz. And I will say before we start, some of the language gets a little salty, but I'm okay with it, but just as a forewarning. So without further ado, it's Tech With Taz.

 

Taz. So good to have you on the podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time.

 

Taz Khan:

Thank you for having me. I'm really excited.

 

George Kamide:

Yeah. We've got a lot to get through. You're too interesting.

 

Let's start right away. So I am fascinated by the fact that you have two cells, essentially, right by day, you work with Morgan Franklin consulting, which we will talk about, but your alter ego is Tech With Taz on Instagram and on Twitter.

 

And you host an Instagram TV show, which you call security, privacy, and other bullshit. And you're the founder of the cyber collective. So we're going to try to dig into each of those constituent parts of yourself. But first let's always start with the hero's journey. What has led you to cybersecurity and to data privacy?

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah. Wow. When you say all of that, I'm just feeling weird, hearing all of the things off the bat. But my journey into security, I think started a bit unorthodox. I was working at a Michael Kors , a retail store, and this woman came in and she looked fabulous. Her man was carrying all her bags and after some interaction back and forth, I just had to ask her: What do you do and how do I do it?

 

And she told me that she was in security sales. And so I ended up getting her contact information and emailing her every month for six months until she hired me. And she finally hired me. And that was my way into the government contracting space. Working directly with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and DOD contracts specifically through security.

 

So that was really my first step into the security field. I started in sales and business development, and then to be a good salesperson I had to learn the product and the network and infrastructure and just the entire architecture of security. And I started doing technical consulting after that. And so now we're here

 

George Kamide:

Still. She persisted. That is quite the story. That's awesome. And I'm just going to chime in. I love our salespeople over here, but I will say not every seller believes they actually need to learn the architecture and the product. So good for you that does make you a better seller.

 

Taz Khan:

I would concur. I would agree with that. I tell my parents all the time. I'm like, look ma I'm doing engineering work like you always wanted me to do. Those listening in - yes, Southeast Asian so that's the way it goes. You can only be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer.

 

George Kamide:

The pressure is real.

 

Ashley Stone:

And you nailed it. I want to talk a little bit about your Instagram show, which focuses on education and advocacy for the general public. It's also amazing, and everybody should go check it out. But you have a post where you talk about feeling lonely and not having anyone around that you could relate to when it came to how you felt about advocacy and policy. Can you talk about that a little bit?

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah, for sure. George, you hit on this whole bi-lateral identity, that I have and then it fits into also my bicultural identity in a sense. Being a Bengali American. And then on top of it most of my peers, I don't want to use absolutes, but most of my peers and friends are in the creative industry.

 

They're either video producers, musicians , writers, journalists. And all extremely successful, which is incredible to see and super inspiring. The only ones in my circle that are in this tech space and then specifically security. So just on both ends with my friend circle, I would talk about, they're like how's work going. And I knew that even if I mentioned anything, they probably wouldn't be able to understand or relate.

 

And then in the security industry, I have all of this creative influence and a lot of influence from these industries outside of ours that I think could benefit from what we do in the security realm.

 

And so I just constantly have felt out of place in the different roles I have been in. But the cool thing that came out of that I think has been the ability to merge it all together through these different efforts that I have. And it has allowed me to meet people on the internet that are in security that have similar interests in advocacy and policy as I do. So it was really bridging those gaps. Through the process of trying to share with my peers, the importance of security or my family members and different people that I interact with, I just saw the very large gaps of knowledge, just constant stereotypes that they have about security and whatnot. Not realizing their role in keeping this healthy digital ecosystem.

 

"They're like I don't have anything to hide. It doesn't matter to me. Or companies will take care of it, et cetera." So once I started having conversations, I realized, damn, this is fascinating that you're a space engineer at NASA and you have no idea about security. That is a red flag. We need to do something about this. Will say that thing has now dissipated because I very much have met some incredible people putting you in the space that are on the same wavelength.

 

George Kamide:

Yeah. That's really interesting. I think we talked about our last in-person interview of 2020 was at the William and Flora Hewlett foundation in Silicon Valley.

 

And they had just started this initiative with artists to reimagine what hackers look like right there. Like you got to get over the hoodie in the basement and the binary code, because it makes it so separate from everyday reality. That's not what these groups look like. So they hired a whole bunch of artists to rethink and they place it all under creative commons.

 

So you would have these different ways of visualizing cybersecurity because yeah to your point if you're smart in one aspect of your professional life, but you're just like sharing a whole bunch of information or you don't have an understanding of what those TNCs mean and how your data is being used.

 

There's a huge gap there. And I do appreciate that about your show that is just like, got a little bit more Instagram swagger on these topics, right? So it's not let me lecture you on data privacy in this sort of dry manner, because from the net to hackers all the way up to whatever. Cybersecurity creativity is one note.

 

So yeah, I just wanted to have that there, but yeah, I'll turn it back over to Ashley.

 

Ashley Stone:

So would the topics that you're covering on your show, do you see overlap in what you're doing with your work in Morgan Franklin? Or do you see them as distinct topics that you're covering.

 

Taz Khan:

I do security at Morgan Franklin and I talk about cybersecurity on the show so that’s overarching. There is some synergy at that level. The biggest difference is the fact that my show is specifically consumer oriented and I'm talking straight to people. And at Morgan Franklin, I'm working with enterprises. I think the biggest piece that does relate is, when you work with enterprises and different people, cause you're still working with people and organizations, you realize the amount of - I'll say it this way. Even when I started doing consumer awareness, there were so many questions that were posed to me that I didn't have answers to. I didn't know how to take enterprise security and turn it into individual security.

 

Answer the question:

what can I do? I'm like, wow. That's a great question. You don't know what a VPN is? And I, when you talk about consumer awareness too, with enterprises or security professionals. It's still not something that people even in our industry care that much about, because I think we feel a responsibility to secure environments at large organizations that help the entire ecosystem.

 

And the individual agency is sometimes irrelevant if you have a very protected network. So you know the overlap is in conversation when it's brought up or those types of kind of anecdotal moments, but at large sure, yeah. It's security, it's just taking the same information that I'm probably talking about with different companies and relaying it in an authentic and palatable way for a broader audience. I'm probably not using the same language that I use in my show, but it's still me.

 

George Kamide:

That's fascinating. I would say just from perusing the comments on the posts, I think you're really, it's resonating. It's clear that people are learning from the stuff that you've been producing.

 

So I want to take that back to some current events. Late last year now we saw that the FTC brought an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, and they also sent that 31 page sample order to Facebook, Amazon, Snap, Twitter, YouTube, and even ByteDance, which owns TikTok. And they are demanding data and documentation on the attributes they use to track and derive value.

 

When you look at how you started your show in the engagement that you're getting now, whether it's the comments that we can see are people reaching out to you through DMs. What is your take on how the general public's consciousness is growing or changing around data privacy and security issues?

 

Taz Khan:

Tenfold since when I first started or even made my first video last year or that the end of the year before. I think all of our work is getting very mainstream. Reaches are reaching headlines and especially with COVID remote working, people are understanding the value of the internet and connectivity.

 

I think simply put, it's just getting really mainstream. The element of bringing in and tying in pop culture, I think is resonating with a lot of people and it's provocative.

 

I think the community, especially there's this nature that exists now of wanting to fight for something like people are ready to get involved and fight for something. And this gives them something else to fight for, which is data privacy. So folks are definitely getting energized about it.

 

My goal is to make sure people are, getting energized in an accurate fashion and understand real elements. Yeah. You think about it now ever since surveillance capitalism that's being pushed out and things with COVID and contact tracing everyone it's like digital marketers are all of a sudden privacy and security experts and that are not even in the industry.

 

So I think there's a fine line between jumping on different topics. And then also understanding the gravity of the work that we do and how important this is. And I think having security professionals and privacy professionals speak about these topics in simple language will help mitigate a lot of these headlines that are almost fear-mongering the public now. And then also energizing a lot of people to just become involved.

 

George Kamide:

Yeah. I think it's like all of a piece, right? We think about, we get breach headlines, SolarWinds, for example, or a specific app has been hacked, but then it's all about the larger technology layer and the way it interfaces because people weren't talking about facial recognition and data privacy until, suddenly George Floyd's murder happens.

 

You have massive people in the streets, cameras everywhere. And then something that I, yeah, I frankly didn't think that I would see, a lot of technology companies voluntarily saying we're just not going to sell facial recognition AI to police departments anymore. That was not at the general public that was being debated in policy circles for sure and there were hardcore advocates trying to bring it, but yeah. Enter the general populations mindset, that, that felt like a huge shift in 2020.

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah. And I have a lot to say about performative stances that some took, because you think about not selling facial recognition or to police officers or law enforcement and whatnot, but you're still partnered with technology companies that are unethically redistributing and aggregating consumer data.

 

There's a healthy medium between the two I would say. And that's a lot of the work that we do is trying to figure out okay, you say you're not going to partner with law enforcement. What does that really mean? Let's dig deeper.

 

Ashley Stone:

I like that. I want to change gears a little bit. And one of the things that I really love that you talk about is mental health and disconnecting on the weekends. That's one of my personal favorite things to do is put my phone away. So I would love to hear what's your favorite unplugged activity and how you recharge.

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah. My favorite time of the day is on Friday at 5:00 PM. I literally go on my phone and I delete all social media. I delete LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram off of my phone. I don't have notifications or anything turned on those on, I don't have any notifications turned on my phone period for anything.

 

Except for email, I would say, but looking when I'm engaged, but everything to do is delete it all is first and foremost,

 

George Kamide:

Friday. Delete.

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah And then I will say, I was thinking about this question, right? I'm like, what is my favorite unplugged activity? I think it's not necessarily an activity, but just knowing that I'm unreachable -that the thought of knowing that there aren't any messages and DMs that are coming in because while I started to doing the Tech With Taz stuff and it was literally just my own cathartic way of sharing information and being able to bridge those two worlds that you'd mentioned before George and I'd do it through my video series. Answering questions is exhausting!

 

George Kamide:

Right?  And you do it professionally, too.

 

Taz Khan:

And it's not like we're just talking about simple stuff,  we're talking about technical information and then almost you're like translating in your mind, going from very technical wording and jargon to then trying to simplify something. And then depending on who you're talking about, making it very personal.

 

I unplug by being unavailable. And I would say my favorite activity - anything using my hands I'm down for, whether that be like writing, drawing, but cooking is my go-to. That's something that I love to do. I absolutely adore doing. And unfortunately, because of all of these things that I just decided to put on my plate, I don't always have time to cook. So I thoroughly enjoy using my weekends to make a dish from scratch.

 

George Kamide:

That's awesome. Yeah. There's something about those of us working in the knowledge economy, which is not a term that I love, but yeah cooking or something manual where you have applied physical effort and there was a before and an after, and there's something very gratifying there. Not just emails or spreadsheets or, it's just feels very ephemeral, there's something you can share with people at the end of the day.

 

Ashley Stone:

Yeah. And without a screen, I think we're just on screens all the time.

 

Taz Khan:

100%. I started writing letters to my friends and we send letters back and forth. This is to my friends in Italy, and I have another friend in Cali and we've just been straight analog pen palling, which has been super nice. Don't even text.

 

George Kamide:

That's awesome. Yeah. So it's you know the US postal service doesn't have enough to do, but now it's got more letters to send.

 

Taz Khan:

Great. Thanks, George. I'm trying to keep them in business!

 

George Kamide:

Yeah. I have a friend in London and we would use Telegram a lot. And then I realized all we were doing was sending like news story links to one another. And I said can we like deep freeze Telegram? And lets just commit to o nce a month, like a deeper conversation - and it's much more gratifying, it's not like constant pinging and it feels at one level like we're not as connected, but then the conversations are much more involved for sure.

 

I also use this screen time feature to basically lock all apps on my phone for most days. So I have to be really intentional about unlocking email. But yeah, so can we make hashtag Friday delete like a thing?

 

Taz Khan:

I do disconnect from the matrix. I will say though. I don't completely turn off screens at all times because my love language is binge watching comedy television shows also.

 

So maybe on a Saturday, I finally have the time to watch an episode of parks and rec. I will do it. It's such a great show.

 

Yeah,  we got a

 

George Kamide:

real soft spot for Leslie Knope over here. So I suppose that using Instagram as a forum kind of brings with it some contradictions here. So can I ask how you're reconciling audience reach versus data privacy issues and the big FB and how you sort that?

 

Taz Khan:

It's something that I internally battle every time logging into these damn applications. And I wouldn't say even when I started doing the work, that the question comes up all the time, because one, I try to be real and I hate hypocritical elements or being a, a tangible contradiction.

 

 But the fact is we all use these platforms and the masses especially use these platforms. What am I going to do send letters to hundreds and try to get them to listen? So what I realized was. If you think about it, these platforms were created for people to connect and there are inherently good elements around it.

 

And I made it my mission to educate people on these platforms, to be able to hold these organizations that are creating more of these platforms that are creating policy within these platforms. Holding them accountable and the people that are going to be able to best hold them accountable are consumers.

 

And so if I can almost bridge that gap, if I can be somebody that can connect and relate to consumers and be someone that leverages social media, the way that I do when uses it as frequently as I do, and then also take whatever feedback I'm getting and bring it back to these policymakers. And then also folks that are working. I have ton of friends that work at Google, at Facebook, at Snapchat, and it's always the question of how can we be better? And I think by educating the public, we also get feedback directly from them asking them. All right. So what would you want different?

 

So that's how I deal with the elements, the quandary, yes, the inner battle. But it's definitely something I have to journal about on a daily basis and really think through. Because my videos, sometimes I even realized I have my own personal biases as well, and I can definitely be radical on some things over others.

 

And my personal goal is to be as objective as possible moving forward. Because every day I'm learning and I'm realizing that there are advantages and disadvantages to everything. And I think that the best thing that we can do is try to understand all of the elements and create community solutions. We're not getting rid of big tech.

 

It's not happening. It's never going to. As much as people want to say abolish this and that, that type of absolutest advocacy, in my opinion, it helps to drive change and perhaps speed change in a way, the more radical you are perhaps to get to certain compromises and conclusions. But these things aren't going anywhere. So we have to be educated and informed and then also energized to be involved in the process. I think.

 

George Kamide:

Yeah. It's more than enough justification if the net benefit of educating the consumers of the platforms who will apply the market pressure to those platforms.

 

But I just wanted to put you on the spot and hear it. That was a really good reason. Yeah it's just culture jamming at its best. And again I hear these ads that Facebook is paid for in terms of the regulations that are seeking and stuff in there that would not be there if there weren't a kind of market pressure and I've since left Instagram, but I do, I remember that in 2018, the midterms, when we had a bunch of young congressmen come in, congresspeople I should say, and they were using Instagram to show like the most mundane aspects of.Life like how they did their office.

 

But I remember thinking at the time that's actually like incredible civic engagement because like how many young people, they will feel more connected if they understand how things operate. Whereas if you just read it in the newspaper, it just feels like here's this committee meeting, this vote happened and then this, but seeing a behind the scenes is as a very powerful tool yeah.

 

Taz Khan:

For sure.

 

Ashley Stone:

Yeah, and it's similar in the way of what you're doing, Taz and taking these really complex topics and bringing them back to the individual and what it really means to you and how you can engage. And you are into a lot. You're clearly very busy.

 

You're a founding member of the cyber collective, which is a community centered research organization that educates to understand the ways data and privacy impact consumers. Everybody should follow them on Instagram. Can you share any news or what the organization has been up to?

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah. It's actually really exciting. We've been working so hard and just shout out to the entire team and the community. If you are listening in they've really helped propel all of these initiatives forward in a fairly short amount of time, but we just released a retrospective analysis of our 2020 and the work that we've done .

 

Essentially our goal is to use creative research tactics, to both educate and then assess the education that we just gave and then develop almost a Socratic seminar type conversations and discussions to get people to engage in this type of dialogue, as it relates to security and privacy.

 

And so there were a ton of findings that we had and just very vertical specific feedback that we've gotten from different folks. And we share that in our most recent brief and it also propelled us into a campaign that we're launching on national privacy day that we're really excited about. It definitely has to do with privacy.

 

Trying to continue to center diverse voices within policy development. I think that there's probably a national privacy legislation in the works. I know that there's a federal privacy committee that has been built. Privacy officers are working super hard to continue to address all of the different bills that are in place right, as it relates to consumer privacy, but there isn't something centered as you all know.

 

And so our goal is to make an ask to ensure that different people of domain expertise can be involved in developing the policy itself. Because security professionals, even with certain compliance, when you're trying to roll out a framework within an organization, the developers, or, security is not the sexiest group in an org. Normally people don't like security folks because of it's really compliance and risk and telling people what they can't do. And so that's creating barriers.

 

So we're realizing that there are downstream effects of certain compliance and policy that's implemented. And a lot of this policy is developed by lawyers, and folks that are very much in their perspective and they don't always realize how this policy might affect the technical side, the actual rollout. It might affect marketers, the consumers, sales, business development. And so what we're really proposing is that there be a subcommittee of diverse folks.

 

And I don't mean, ethnic diversity, diversity within domain expertise for people to come together and review the legislation before it's rolled out. And for there to be an annual review of the policy to match all of the up-to-date technology that exists.

 

George Kamide:

Oh, for sure. Yeah. When you consider the last big internet technology legislation was 1996,

 

Taz Khan:

I get simple questions from people. Like, why can't we do this on the internet? Or why is legal language so hard to read? And I, my response is, I don't know, y'all. I really don't understand. And so I think that what we're really excited about. They're already so many groups and individuals that are energized to participate and join the subcommittee.

 

So there's a lot on the way and we're launching we're going to host an event on national privacy day where we'll be talking about our 2021 roadmap, what we have in the pipeline and how people can get involved through the year. And especially if folks want to join in our proposed policy that we're going to be pushing out with a group of experts and cohorts that I can't share yet, but I'm really excited to announce later.

 

George Kamide:

Awesome. All right.

 

We'll stay tuned. Also big plug for cyber collective swag. It's awesome. So dope.

 

Taz Khan:

You like it?

 

Yeah. I meant to get, I meant to get the hat before the interview cause I was going to wear it, but I just didn't get my act together. But yeah, it's on the shopping list.

 

That's so awesome I really appreciate it. Yeah we have a lot of cozy stuff. The sweaters are super soft and we just rolled out some jackets, which are really cool. I'm excited about it.

 

Ashley Stone:

I love, good swag. So I do want to ask a little bit more about the work you're doing for Morgan Franklin consulting. You talked a little bit about how you focus on enterprises with the consulting that you're doing, but I'm curious what types of use cases or issues that you typically work on?

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah, my focus primarily is in compliance and policy. That's where my expertise stands and previously been around product architecture. So a lot of the use cases are around framework implementation, managing continued compliance, risk assessments. As an organization, we do, the entire slew of security services that you can imagine.

 

We have really great CISOs, previous CISOs that consult and work at Morgan Franklin. So most recently we worked with a I can't say the name obviously and share most of the work here is under an NDA. But we did work with a for the elections we worked with a local, I don't know why I'm missing the word, a municipality to secure their elections, which was

such an eye-opening, learning experience. Going onsite and looking at the tabloid machines and understanding the checks and balances that they have physical security to internal security is just fascinating is so awesome. That is a very unique customer that we have, but it's mostly around a lot of compliance work.

 

And I think our creme de la creme is identity access management that we've focused a lot around. So it's cool. I get to learn so much at the enterprise level and then relay that information to consumers and make it accessible. Recently at Morgan Franklin because we're a super small, Morgan Franklin consulting is a larger organization, but Morgan Franklin cyber, you could almost consider a startup.

 

And because of my experience with business development and then my content development and whatnot I've had the opportunity to get involved in a lot of the content development that we have. And we have a video series that we just launched called the CISO perspective series and we're releasing weekly blogs and articles, and it's been really cool to be involved on like I'm doing the same thing at cyber collective for consumers.

 

And then also, now it's mirroring at Morgan Franklin at an enterprise level. So it gives me an opportunity to make connections that I feel like I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to do if I didn't live this dual life, which was pretty awesome.

 

George Kamide:

Yeah. It sounds like those circles that are actually coming closer together rather than diverging.

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah, I think that's going to continue for our industry. I really feel like this consumer awareness and consumer security products, people are getting hip to this outside of our vertical. And we're going to see a lot. I feel like antivirus is going to make a new wave of people are going to use the nostalgic elements of Norton and McAfee to create new products and stuff.

 

George Kamide:

And, work from home life has certainly accelerated that understanding. I'm sure that's why identity access is such a big issue if you've got people distributed. BUt to your point, on the convergence, you're also at home and possibly sharing devices, or, your organization's worried that your 12 year old is going to use your work laptop or, there's like a lot in terms of device management and just network access.

 

Cool. So we're coming up on time. So I want to. I want to end with a little return to the beginning. We would be remiss if we did not bring up representation issues, but I want to return to your starting story, which is about seeing that boss lady with her man carrying the bags. We've spoken to several leaders who are very frank about how security is a lucrative line of work, such that in underrepresented communities, it can also represent like a generational wealth change. So I want to talk about representation first and harken back to that story that you saw this lady as successful and that seemed to be the first and primary impetus maybe for your outreach.

 

But, there was something else there in terms of… what did you see was missing from either a recruiting or a mentoring standpoint, like obviously security wasn't on your radar at the time. And this was like a big thing, a big experience that put it on your radar. Can you, can we explore that a little.

 

Taz Khan:

Yeah, I feel like it would have to be an entirely different episode to answer this question because it's so layered. And as far as like corrective pressure, and what that means for the industry and representation, it has changed since I first started to now. There is representation, you have to find it. RIght?

 

You have to go looking for it. And I think that's a piece of the problem as well. The fact that you really do have to go looking for it, to find the representation in the industry. We look to thought leaders that carry a certain number of digital real estate.

 

And then we assume that those are the only people that exist in the industry, or we go to them and it's like a few selected, chosen folks. You think of InfoSec Twitter and whatnot, the same names pop up all the time. And I think that there has to be a split of this digital real estate for all voices to shine and to be available and not necessarily even shine, but just really give good perspective, right?

 

Like at Cyber Collective, our events, I have been in the security industry for almost 10 years now and I not to toot my own horn, but I have never been to any security seminar or privacy seminar with the diversity that we've had. And you asked a question like why is it that I can find diversity so easily, but at Morgan Franklin, and my employer knows this and that I feel this way.

 

Our webinars are still all white males. For me, I'm definitely don't want to attend a webinar that doesn't have any females or people of color on it. It's 2021. If you can't figure it out, then you're probably not trying in my opinion. And so it's not that I don't even want to say under-representation, there is representation.

 

The people just need to work a little harder, go like maybe two degrees further to find someone else and ask the questions and then actually get them involved. And as far as like applying some more pressure, it's less about the mentoring or recruiting elements. It's about just calling shit out when you see it.

 

I think the biggest help would be. Is just having some bravado in the workplace. And when you hear somebody say something left, like some real, it could be subliminal or like you're like "oh that sounded a little funky" Call it out when you say I see it, because that is what makes the change - behavioral change.

 

It's tough and as long as you can do it through empathy and have a conversation about it. And I think that's what the security industry lacks is this element of that corporate passive aggressive culture where you don't say what you mean, and you can't be honest. It;s like… I can't handle it anymore.

 

And I think that there has to be. People just have to take individual ownership of their ability to be an agent of change. And that's all that it is. If you're seeing that recruiting is happening and you're like, "Hey, why don't we have any women or people of color?" Just ask the question. It doesn't have to be something gravely serious and let's talk about race.

 

It doesn't have to be this intense thing. It could just be like, "Hey, we realize that this is a historically white industry because of everything that we know systemically. Cool. We got it. What can we do to move forward and change it?"

And just making it almost like a casual question Hey, notice, it was just white guys do you want me to go find somebody for you or what's up? If we can just make it that casual and normalize it. I think people are just still so afraid of being called out because it's I'm sorry for the background noise. I live in New York city. So it, I think when you call out certain things, people automatically assume like, Oh my God, it's going to be attached to my character.

 

And people just realize that, Hey. It's a part of the system and the thing and how we process things and how we've learned things. And if we can take the character element out of it. Yes, it does. It is vindictive to your character at times. And I think it says more about your character, how you respond and react to the questions or the call outs when it's made.

 

And so that would be my biggest ask for anyone listening. It's just speak up and say something in the moment that you're in rather than waiting or sending like a chat.

 

George Kamide:

And for sure, this is in our wheelhouse because that's what security does we solve problems. So I like your take there rather than just sit on our hands, you've got to go solve the problem,

 

Taz Khan:

But there's been so much progress, which is the even with Cyber Collective, the amount of women of color, black women, black men, and collaboration between groups and people and organizations that I'm seeing is unmatched to anything that I've seen before. I think our industry is evolving and progressing in such a positive way and as long as we're having these conversations, we can continue to do it.

 

And so I'm really proud of our industry I would say for the amount of inclusivity at times. Or at least the, because hackers, even, it's a bunch of outliers that are in the industry and we're like, Oh, everyone's weird is accepted here. So let's just continue to do it.

 

George Kamide:

 Yeah, as you said, we have more than enough material for another episode.

 

Cool. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to join us. As you said, we have more than enough material for another episode, maybe that's in the works. But yeah, thanks so much. It's been a delight.

 

Taz Khan:

I am just humbled to have the opportunity really, to have platforms to speak on. And I appreciate you all for taking the time yourselves and hearing out all of my different lives in my life and work. I really appreciate both of your time. Thank you.