In today’s nonstop fight against hackers and other online criminals, Christian Espinosa is the guy you want to have in your corner. He is the best-selling author of The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity. He is also an entrepreneur, and in 2014, he founded Alpine Security, a cybersecurity training and services company before becoming a managing director at Cerberus Sentinel in December 2020. Christian has made it his mission to help win the cyberwar by training technical leaders and staff in his 7-Step Secure Methodology, outlined in his book.
Christian is driven by a deep conviction that the cybersecurity industry needs to change. “There’s been too much reliance on complicated frameworks, certified people, and technology. None of this is working. Just watch a newsfeed, and you’ll be able to tell immediately. There are data breaches daily. We need a better way to fight back against this, and I believe I have one.”
His ideas come from nearly thirty years of experience. Christian has seen many issues that continue to plague the industry, including intellectual bullying and posturing. “We must find a way to stop tolerating and accepting these problems. If we don’t, we’re going to see the next ten years look a lot like the last ten, and cybercriminals will continue to hack us.”
Christian’s experience makes him an in-demand speaker and trainer. He has trained over 10,000 people in cybersecurity through in-person courses. He is currently developing a course he will teach in the Secure Methodology, a topic covered in his book, and he anticipates the class will begin around April 15, 2021.
Christian is driven to achieve success in everything he does. “For Alpine Security, our revenue was near $1.5M before we sold it. We served over 200 clients with penetration testing, CISO-as-a-Service, and audits. We also trained over 2,500 students in cybersecurity. For my book, I made the best-seller list in six categories during my launch week: Social Aspects of the Internet, Viruses & Malware, Online Safety & Piracy, Software Engineering, Network Security, and Computers and Technology. I believe in putting everything I have into everything I do and cultivating my brand. That doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome, of course, but success won’t come without doing that.”
Despite Christian’s achievements, he has faced many hurdles along the way. “Personnel issues, cash flow problems, legal battles, upset clients – you name it, I’ve seen it. I could have let this stress me, but really, if your problems are not getting bigger, you’re not growing. Many people think that a successful business has no problems or challenges, but I disagree. There should always be things to solve – you just shouldn’t be solving the same challenges you were wrestling with a year ago. Otherwise, you have not grown or learned the lesson.”
Christian has other advice for entrepreneurs who are just starting out. “My first advice is that you must know your why: why do you want to become an entrepreneur? I recommend doing the “7 Levels Deep” exercise with someone on this. If you don’t understand your why, it’s going to be very hard to keep going, especially during the dismal times. Second, have clarity on your ideal client and how you transform them. Third, get good at marketing – if you build something, that doesn’t mean anyone will come for it. You need to get your marketing dialed in and speak in terms your ideal clients can relate to.”
Christian always has an eye on the future. “I see myself focusing on training, coaching, and mentoring people in my Secure Methodology, covered in my book. I also see my second book, an autobiography, being completed in the middle of 2023. Also, I would like to live somewhere nice and have a lifestyle that supports my creative endeavors.”
This finisher of 22 Ironman triathlons has his own definition of success. “Success is knowing where you’re headed and feeling content with where you are on the journey. Success is living life happily on your own terms, without judgment of self or of others.”
He pauses, then laughs. “In the end, if you’re having a bad day and success seems like it will never come, I recommend turning off the computer and eating spicy food while you listen to heavy metal music. If nothing else, that will put life in its proper perspective.”