Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Meet the Author: George Finney, author of No More Magic Wands

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

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was probably 10 years old.  I had one of the best English teachers in the 5th grade and there were a ton of other kids who were really into writing just like me.  It was like a perfect storm of creativity.  I remember thinking of some of those writing assignments like they were going to be one of the greatest challenges of my life and we had these crazy kid ideas that they actually let us perform as little plays in class or read to the kids in other grades.  It was like we were famous.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

What am I?  A monster?  If I’m reading a great book or watching a really good movie, I’m totally focused on it.  I couldn’t distract myself by writing a note, even if I wanted to.  I have found, however, that audiobooks are an exception.  Something about not having to see the words in the book lets me start to think more about the book, and this stream of consciousness thing happens in my brain where I start getting story or blog ideas, and I write those down…can’t let my ideas get away.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

I would say that I have rediscovered it in a way that has made me more passionate than ever about it.  After working and being really serious about my career for about ten years helped me to know just how important writing really is to me.  I might not have appreciated that otherwise.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I’m the Chief Security Officer for a large metropolitan University.  I’ve been the head of cybersecurity there for almost ten years.  I’m also an attorney, but please don’t hold that against me since I’m not practicing.  I think of myself like the defensive coach of a really complicated team sport.  The opposing team is working against us, but so are some of the people in the stadium, and even some of our own players.  Motivating people to prevail in this kind of sport is really cool, I think.

How often do you write?

I usually take notes throughout the week, then dedicate a few hours on each weekend to compile the notes and explore those ideas a little more.  I only aim to write between 5-10 pages per week, but that really adds up.

Are you an avid reader?

I usually read 30-40 books per year, most of them science fiction related.  I’m such a nerd.

What are you reading now?

I’m in the middle of several!  I’m reading Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek.  I’m also a huge fan of The Expanse by James S. A. Corey.  I can’t wait for the next book to come out!

What are you currently working on?

In addition to my blog,, I’m working on a series of choose your own adventure style simulations of common social engineering or data breach scenarios to help people learn to think critically and be better prepared for security incidents.

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