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The power of people and processes in cybersecurity

Shifting behaviors to improve the cyber triad

While technology plays a critical role when it comes to cybersecurity, there is more to it. In this episode of the Resilient podcast, Meredith Harper, vice president and chief information security officer (CISO) at Eli Lilly and Company, shares the importance of prioritizing people and processes in cybersecurity, before layering on technology.

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It’s all about putting people first

Traditionally, CISOs have been seen as technologists. But for Meredith Harper, the new age CISO should focus their energy on the people and processes first.

This people-centric philosophy informs Meredith’s approach to security and how she manages cyber triad—people, processes, and technology. Changing behaviors through training, awareness, and education, she says, is key to the success of any business-enabling technology.

Meredith also advocates for the involvement of cyber at the onset of any decision-making process. Getting cyber involved often and early can enable an organization to make risk-informed decisions and avoid unintended cyber implications.

Meredith’s leadership mindset is rooted in her upbringing. Growing up in a tightly knit church community in Detroit, she learned how important it is to put people first, engage with individuals, and consider all points of view. She brings that same perspective to her work environment, encouraging diversity of thought, experience, and socialization. "Diversity is a beautiful song," she says.

Starting out in her career, Meredith didn’t see many "people who looked like" her. That’s why she is so passionate about helping women and minorities embark upon their careers—particularly in technology where those populations are significantly underrepresented. She says accessibility to mentors and exposure to what’s possible is critical to becoming the best version of yourself. And even as an accomplished woman, Meredith still makes time to mentor and provide career advice—even to complete strangers. Personally and professionally, she believes it’s her solemn duty to help others.

I was always taught that we're never on this journey by ourselves. We either are going to bring people with us or someone is going to propel us forward. So I've always taken that as a part of my calling.

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Resilient is an award-winning podcast series that features authentic, engaging, and thought-provoking conversations with leaders. Hear interviews and personal stories about how CEOs, senior executives, government officials, board members, and people outside of the business world embrace complexity to lead, navigate, and disrupt to accelerate performance. And discover what they learned about resilience amid risk, crisis, and disruption.

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