NSU Distinguished Alumnus from College of Computing and Engineering wins Global Award for his Pioneering Career in Cybersecurity
Dr. John “Jack” Freund ‘12 was recently honored by (ISC)², the world’s largest nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals, at their 2020 (ISC)² Global Achievement Awards. This award recognizes and celebrates the most outstanding achievements by cybersecurity professionals around the world and recognizing only one honoree per region. Freund is the honoree chosen from North America in the (ISC)² Senior Professional Award category.
Freund is recognized “for his work with the NIST Applied Cybersecurity Division on behalf of the nonprofit FAIR Institute to map together the NIST CSF Risk Assessment and the Risk Management Strategy domains to the OpenGroup’s FAIR risk taxonomy and risk analysis standards.”
The cybersecurity pioneer, and martial artist, was an engineer for a tech company when the 9/11 attacks happened. “This [9/11] made me dive into the field of cyber security and risk management,” he said.
“There were not many options at the doctoral level in an adaptive non-traditional format for students like me,” he said. “NSU was a pioneer, had its own pedigree of success, in delivering quality doctoral degrees online even before the now popular online format was used by other schools,” he continued.
Being a mostly online doctoral student at NSU, Freund confirmed that “success comes from the way that you commit to a goal and push yourself to achieve it,” reflecting on taking a non-traditional approach to his education and profession at the time.
Freund leveraged the foundational projects that he worked on at NSU to better understand what businesses need from a security program, rationalize the tradeoff between security and practicality, and eventually co-authoring a book on quantifying cyber risk so that business leaders can understand their exposure.
“I gained a discipline for writing during my Ph.D. that I did not have before. I would not have this skill if it weren’t for my experience at NSU,” said Freund referring to his time as a doctoral student in the NSU College of Computing and Engineering. “I learned to not be so emotionally attached to my work and take criticism as a tool to make it better,” he continued.
And while Freund is a true pioneer in the field of quantitative methods for cyber risk management, he is very candid in reminding current students and recent graduates that “so much of success hides so much of the failures that led up to it.”
“In ways that people may not recognize, current and potential students really look at what alumni have done after graduating from NSU. They view our trajectory as a reflection of what their paths could look like,” he said.
Freud, who earned his Ph.D. in Information Systems, was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement award in 2018. He continues to be involved with his alma mater and shares his pride of being a Shark.
As for advice to current students and young professionals?
“Stay connected to make an impact,” he concludes.