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To Catch a Cyber Criminal and Avoid Service Interruptions (Podcast)

How a personal philosophy helps one leader fight crime

When Chief Information Security Officer Vugar Zeynalov joined Cleveland Clinic, he set about to dramatically ramp up cybersecurity, an emerging discipline that helps to protect our most valuable digital assets from criminals.


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To effect change as a new leader, he knew he had to gain the support of his team. It was equally important to develop close partnerships with clinical teams and fully understand their needs. Any friction, service interruption or cyber event can affect care delivery in a profound way.

He leveraged “listening tours,” meeting with leaders across the enterprise to gain an understanding of their use of technology. He evaluated areas of vulnerability to cyber threats and began developing relationships that would be crucial for responding confidently to any incidents.

In a large hospital on the leading edge of digital innovation, teams experience and address many cybersecurity challenges. Innovation and collaboration have proven to be as much a part of the solution as the technology.

In the podcast Beyond Leadership, Zeynalov describes to host Brian Bolwell, MD, Chief of Physician Leadership and Development, his approach to gauging the right level of protection across a vast, diverse and ever-changing ecosystem.

Podcast excerpt

Vugar Zeynalov: My philosophy for leadership is attracting people who are smarter than me, giving them what they need and getting out of their way.

The second component of this is a culture of compassion and caring within healthcare. We need to instill that culture [in the team]. … They need to feel the same pain as a patient would or the clinician would if something is not done right.

And the third is creating a culture of innovation where the people feel comfortable speaking up. It starts … with trust. Trust is a foundation of everything. So having that personal touch and personal connection allows people to feel comfortable, and that comfort enables people to speak up and sometimes disagree respectfully. In that disagreement, the best ideas are formed.

For more information on Cleveland Clinic Global Executive Education, visit clevelandclinic.org/execed.


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