Member Spotlight: Randall Frietzsche, CISO, Denver Health

Cyber Practitioner Talks Risk, Reality & Colorado

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Dan Gunderman

Randall “Fritz” Frietzsche is the Chief Information Security (CISO) and Privacy Officer for Denver Health. He previously worked for Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), most recently as the Regional Information Security Officer for CHI’s QualChoice Health Plans.

Frietzsche has over 20 years of experience in IT, 15 years in Information Security and 10 years in healthcare. He holds a master’s degree in Information Security and Assurance, as well as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Certified Ethical Hacker and Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator, along with 23 other IT and InfoSec certifications.

He is a Distinguished Fellow with the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and was the President of the Louisville, Ky., ISSA chapter. Frietzsche also teaches Information Security, ethical hacking and digital forensics as an adjunct professor, and Cyber Security Risk Management, for Harvard. Frietzsche started his career as a Deputy Sheriff in Indiana and is a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.

See Related: Membership Spotlight: Erik Devine, CISO, Riverside Healthcare

The CISO took time to answer a few questions for the Cyber Security Hub's “Member Spotlight” series.

1) What’s the coolest thing you are working on right now?

The coolest thing I am working on now, and always, is cyber security risk management. I am always amazed when I speak about this and get blank stares – many of us in this industry don’t know how to do risk management right, and certainly need tips on doing it effectively and efficiently. My talks are often on how we mature our risk management programs, not only to properly identify and manage risk, but to do it with teams that are smaller than needed. How do we do that required risk assessment without becoming a roadblock to the business? Recently I proposed that we will start to see vendors come out with solutions to better allow us to pinpoint the likelihood of a risk manifesting, instead of trying to guess. Insurance companies have been doing it for more than 100 years, why are we still guessing?

2) What is the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

The most interesting thing I’ve both seen and read this month has been Valerie Wright. She gave a presentation at a local CISO event, and I’m also just starting to read her book. Her guidance isn’t specific to cyber security, but to leadership. The book – “Thoughtfully Ruthless” – is full of fantastic insights that I’ve been able to immediately make use of in making me a more effective executive. One area is around “influence” –find out who is in that circle of influencers, and find out who the “whisperers” to those influencers are. This and many other concepts have elevated my effectiveness as a leader. Today it is rare to find something that can take you to the next level so quickly.

3) What are you currently watching on Netflix?

I would love to say – “The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants.” But I really like “Hollywood Weapons: Fact or Fiction?” It really shines a light on how Hollywood makes these total falsehoods into common knowledge. Should I shoot out the tires, or just shoot them in the arm? This is such Hollywood bollocks, however most people unfortunately believe it is a reality. Ideally you avoid situations where you shoot anything. But if that situation ever arises, you shoot for the most likely target – center of mass – and you don’t shoot to wound or fire warning shots. You shoot to stop that immediate and deadly threat.

4) What’s the most “useless” fact you know?

The most useless fact I know is that this world is an illusion. Everything is made up of molecules, atoms, quarks, strings, bosons, etc., etc., etc. Reality is really nothing more than a field of energy, expressing in infinite ways. We look out at the world and take it to be real, yet we don’t really, and can’t really, see what it is in essence. And then we derive beliefs and make decisions based on this false vision of reality. A raindrop falls, yet it was part of the ocean. The drop never really separated from the ocean, except in our own concepts which are based on what we can see experientially. Even the idea of “ME” is based on this false idea. So like I said – useless.

5) What is your favorite way to spend free time?

My family and I always vacationed in Colorado, and said that someday we would move there. I got the opportunity to relocate to Denver because of a job promotion, and our goal was realized sooner than we thought. We enjoy just driving between Denver and Boulder – the view as you apex US36 north of Superior is a world-class experience – like a postcard. To be able to go into the mountains in under an hour is a blessing. We take every opportunity to continue exploring this gorgeous part of the country. The people (except those here from California or Texas) are laid back – it is a very progressive culture (they are banning straws in Boulder!). Coming from the Midwest and Mid South – it is a place where you can experience the majesty of nature on your day-to-day commute.

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