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Dear Kona,

Next Sunday, you have a rendezvous with my brother Tom Hulsey as well as all the other competitors, at IRONMAN World Championship, the Super Bowl of triathlons. Understand, we all know you will put up a fight, that you will not go quietly into the good night. The conditions you’ll throw at them are downright inhumane from rough surf to unforgiving & unrelenting heat to time that never seems to end. You intend to break them, to cause them to lose their will to keep going, and ultimately, to quit.

But understand this, my friend, you don’t know Tom and you will find him to be most uncooperative with your plan. To Tom, the word “quit” is the ultimate and unmentionable four-letter word. It is a word that does not exist in his vocabulary, and frankly, he has no time to waste learning what it means. Try as you might, he will not quit.

Instead, you will find Tom to be relentless. He will not stop regardless of conditions, regardless of how he’s feeling. This is a man who has stared into the great abyss to overcome cancer in the last year. Sure, he had his down times dealing with it but I never heard him ask why him or feel sorry for himself. Quitting, giving in was never considered. He just kept going and started making new goals. He also realized that he had a message of hope he could spread to others and has done so with ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer where he has become a valued fundraiser and team member. Just a little over 2 months ago, he competed in the full Ironman Lake Placid 2016. You ask did he finish? Of course he did! What kind of question is that?

You need to understand that long before cancer, his outlook on life was formed. In the ‘60s, Tom grew up in Wisconsin during the glory years of the Green & Gold, listening and learning the gospel of Lombardi. Nothing short of giving it your best and going beyond your abilities wasn’t just something that sounded nice – it was expected and anything less was not tolerated. I know this to be completely true as I was lectured many times as Tom’s little brother. Later, Tom was further shaped by the 1980 Miracle on Ice. While he loved the team and reveled in the Miracle, he most admired Herb Brooks, the coach responsible for putting the team together. Brooks was another coach who expected nothing but the best and would do everything to ensure the success of the team including some of the best mind games ever. I have no doubt that if Tom had played for Team USA, he would have been the guy wanting to keep skating Brooks’ infamous “Herbies” when the rest of the team was dropping. In years since, I’ve heard Tom say that if he could have, he would have loved to have played for Lombardi and Brooks.

I give you this brief glimpse into the background of Tom Hulsey to let you that no matter what you throw at Tom on Sunday to stop him, you will fail. If anything, the more obstacles presented during Ironman, the more determined & motivated Tom will be. You should move on to the next person because I assure you that you will be disappointed. Your efforts to break Tom will be unsuccessful.

Good luck, Tom! You can and will do it! Expect nothing less than the best and go for it!

Brian Hulsey






IRONMAN World Championship – A Celebration of Life & Making a Difference     #endprostatecancer


October 8th represents a most memorable milestone for me.  It had been a 30-year dream to go back to Kona and race at the Ironman World Championship – one more time.   Without a doubt, it is the most grueling single day endurance test on the planet.

In order to even get to the starting line, I had to overcome the biggest obstacle in my life – CANCER.  I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on my birthday in 2015.  17 months prior to Kona, I was getting around with a walker and wearing 2 catheters.  With the encouragement and support of my wife (Lauren), I made the decision to fight the cancer and embrace the Ironman motto – “anything is possible.”  I set goals to get beyond the hard times, culminating with Ironman Lake Placid 2016 in July (14 months post-surgery).

In March of this year I decided to share my story and joined the ZERO Endurance Team.  Subsequently, I was invited to represent ZERO and race at Kona.  Even though it was only 11 weeks after Lake Placid; I welcomed the challenge and more importantly, have the opportunity to share my journey and have an impact on a much larger audience.


Sharing my story of hope, inspiration and awareness at the Athlete Charity Panel

Ironman is a metaphor for life.  There will be ups and downs; it is how we deal with the challenges that define us.  Life is full of setbacks, success is determined by how you handle them.  As I articulated in my blog published July 28th, WITH PERSEVERANCE, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE; I had many challenges at Ironman Lake Placid, missing a DNF (did not finish) by 22 minutes.  Lake Placid made me question if I could even complete “the most grueling single day endurance test on the planet.”  Little did I realize that my Lake Placid experience was making me tougher mentally.   That mental toughness would serve me well in Kona.

The theme of this year’s Ironman World Championship is KUPA’A.  This means having the strength to stand firm, to believe in and be loyal to yourself and your surroundings.  Achieving the goal of finishing the World Championship requires dedication, passion and courage.

What separates Kona from all other Ironmans are the intimidating conditions.  These include the ocean swim, biking & running in the black lava fields, heat, humidity, and the cross winds coming off the ocean.  Another obstacle in Kona this year was a lack of water.  Three aid stations on the bike course ran out of water (I chose to stay focused on my goal and not dwell on this).


As in life, we learn and grow from our mistakes.  There were lessons learned in Lake Placid, e.g. nutrition.  I applied those lessons learned and built a strategy for Kona.  Executing that strategy required mental discipline – staying true to myself.  Examples include: not letting the adrenaline take over in the swim and go out too fast, resisting the urge to stop at all the bike aid station bathrooms (I cut the visits in half, compared to Lake Placid), going with an all-liquid diet during the race and walking at the aid stations, only, during the marathon.

As in life, having a plan and setting goals is so important.  To quote my idol, Coach Vince Lombardi, “the quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence.”  In Kona, I stayed focused and executed the plan and beat my Lake Placid time by 2.5 hours!

Running down Alii Drive to the finish was filled with many emotions; crossing the finish line at the Ironman World Championship is one of the most incredible experiences in my life.  More importantly, and what I am most proud of is the impact I am having with ZERO.  It was a privilege to have the opportunity to represent ZERO and share my story with an international audience.

To date, I have raised over $30,000 for ZERO.  My 2016 fund-raising goal is $32,000. Knowing that   97 cents of every dollar is spent on research, education and family services, is a big reason I have embraced ZERO.  Every small donation has a huge impact.  My ZERO – End Prostate Cancer fund-raising page…

A special shout out to my other sponsors; O3inspire and Vitality Sports Medicine.









With Perseverance, “Anything is Possible”


Lake Placid provides a stunning backdrop to a very difficult course

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”  This quote by my idol, Coach Vince Lombardi, never resonated more with me then at Ironman Lake Placid Sunday.

Ironman (IM) is a perfect metaphor about life; it’s the journey.  You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other; there will be unexpected challenges, some far more severe than others.  The IM motto is “anything is possible.”

Completing IM Lake Placid 2016 was the long-term goal I set 17 months ago, after I was diagnosed with cancer.  IM Lake Placid is considered one of the toughest IMs in the world.  Many asked why I did not select an “easier” IM.  People that know me know I would not have it any other way.  With Lauren’s (my wife) unflinching support over the past 17 months, I crossed the finish line at Lake Placid, but not without challenges.

The 2.4 mile swim was brutal.  There are 3,000 athletes (that’s 12,000 churning limbs).  Who said swimming is not a contact sport?  Imagine being in a washing machine; envision playing hockey without pads.  I was already dealing with a shoulder injury sustained in a skiing accident in March.  Being  hit or hitting others during the swim stroke was painful.  This does not happen when you are training in a pool with a lane to yourself!  The contact cannot be avoided, but it definitely hurts (and saps energy!).  IM swim strategy dictates that you save your energy for the long day ahead.  Being kicked in the face and receiving a bloody nose compounded my obstacles.  The strategy of starting toward the back of the pack did not work.  When I raced at IM Lake Placid 2010, I had broken ribs and could not afford a kick to the upper body.  The strategy of hanging back worked in 2010.

The 112 mile bike was tough on the sore shoulder; all the vibration transfers to the shoulders.  Having to change 3 flat tires did not help my time.  Also, one of the side effects from my surgery is bladder control, I had to stop at every aid station (one every 10 miles) – yikes!  Hot weather is my ally; sweating means less visits to the port-a-potty!  Lake Placid was mild Sunday (most would say the weather was awesome!).

The 26.2 mile run started out well.  The shoulder felt better.  The discomfort shifted to feet.  I developed hot spots, eventually coverings a majority of the bottom of both feet, making each strike to the ground painful.  I stopped to get medical aid; they recommended soaking my feet in ice water.  I reluctantly agreed, knowing this would take precious time.  It worked – for about 10 miles.   The pain came back, so I returned to the medical tent for the same treatment.  With the focus on my feet; nutrition was neglected.  I was weak and dizzy.  Drinking cola at the last aid station helped and sustained me to the finish line.

So, getting to the finish line at this IM was tough – physically and mentally.  I have completed every race I have started; I was determined for this race not to be my first DNF (did not finish).  Half the challenge of an IM is mental (some say more).  During those really tough times in the darkness on the run, I kept thinking about the reasons I chose this race: a goal I set to focus on beyond my health issues, to honor my dear friend Bill Rollings (this horrible disease took him away too soon) and all the people that have been impacted by my story of hope, inspiration and awareness.


Remembering Bill Rollings

With all this said, IM Lake Placid was a celebration of life.  I am so grateful that I was able to get back to the point where I could be active, train and even race!   I beat cancer!  High-fiving the “Voice of the Ironman,” Mike Reilly, at the finish line was a special moment.


Ironman 10x with Lauren

I am humbled to know that my story of hope, inspiration and awareness Is making a difference in the fight against cancer.  I am so honored to be representing ZERO – End Prostate Cancer.  So far, I have raised over $20,000 for ZERO.  Knowing that 97 cents of every dollar I raise goes to research and education is a big reason I have embraced this charity.  Representing ZERO and racing at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in October will give me an international platform to continue to spread my message to a much larger audience.  Every small donation has a huge impact;  Click here to view my ZERO fundraising page.

I would like to thank my generous sponsors Vitality Sports Medicine and CyberDefenses, Inc.


My Battle with Cancer and Leveraging it to Make a Difference for Future Generations

My Biggest Victory

I heard the 3 most dreaded words from my doctor on my 61st birthday – “you have cancer.” For someone that has motivated and inspired other people by leading a healthy & active lifestyle (“life is not a spectator sport”); the news was devastating. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on my birthday in February 2015. I am living proof that cancer does not discriminate.

Every 19 minutes an American man dies of prostate cancer. An estimated 180,890 new cases of prostate cancer will occur in the US during 2016. Early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. The American Cancer Society recommends that beginning at age 50, men who are at average risk of prostate cancer have a conversation with their doctor about the benefits and limitations of PSA testing. Men at high risk of developing prostate cancer (black men or those with a close relative diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65) should have this discussion beginning at age 45, and men at even higher risk (those with several close relatives diagnosed at an early age) should have this discussion at age 40.

I had a Robotic Prostatectomy May 7th (National Prayer Day). The recovery was extremely rough, but I am a fighter. Having to utilize a walker to get around was humbling for someone who prided himself in being ultra-fit and strong! To get through the arduous recovery, I set goals. The motto of the Ironman is “anything is possible” and I embraced it – my mantra. My short-term goal was to travel to Seattle, 26 days post-surgery and represent the North Texas Crime Commission.   My intermediate goal was to complete a 1/2 Ironman. These 2 pictures were taken exactly 6 months after my surgery:

IMAustinSwim2015  IMAustinFinish2015.png

I achieved my short-term and Intermediate goals!

My long-term goal is to complete a full Ironman (2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike & 26.2 mi marathon). I am going to compete at Ironman Lake Placid July 24th.

Prostate cancer really gets the short end of the stick.  Annually, there are approximately the same number of deaths from both prostate cancer and breast cancer; yet the annual amount of money spent on research is very different.  According to the American Cancer Society, over 2 times more is spent on breast cancer.  As a result, the treatment protocols for breast cancer are more refined, there is more awareness, etc.  That’s why I’m committed to raising awareness and funds to end this disease!

I’ve joined the ZERO Endurance Team because I want to put an end to the suffering of prostate cancer.

My mission is to get the world one step closer to Generation ZERO – the first generation of men free from prostate cancer.   Donations will fund research, patient financial assistance, early detection, and educational programs. 97 cents of every donated dollar goes to these initiatives (a big reason I support this charity)Join me in my efforts to support ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. I would be most appreciative of your support by making a tax deductible contribution. I’m adding meaning to the many miles I’ll cover in my training over the next several months. You can help me raise funds for research and patient resources by making a donation on my fundraising page.  ZERO is a 501c3 charity recognized with four stars by Charity Navigator, and a Better Business Bureau member.

As I cross the finish line on the Olympic Oval, next to the “miracle” arena (Miracle on Ice), you’ll feel proud knowing you helped keep families together and save lives.

I dedicate this race to the memory of my dear friend Bill Rollings and all the men who have lost their lives to this deadly disease.

My fight is not over, but I was still cancer-free at my 9-month post-surgery check-up in February!

“IRONMAN is a statement of excellence, passion, commitment. It is a test of physical toughness and mental strength. IRONMAN is about persevering, enduring and being a part of something larger than ourselves. It shows the heights that can be achieved when we push beyond our boundaries and go the distance.”

Life is not a Spectator Sport

Tom Hulsey

  LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Google+ | Facebook






Cyber Governance Questions BODs Should Consider

Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre-1_banner

In an era of continuous compromises, businesses are faced with the growing threat of malicious actors targeting and successfully penetrating their defenses at an alarming rate.   Cyber security touches nearly every aspect of business.  It affects a company’s opportunities for expansion, customers, markets and is vital to most strategic plans.

Unfortunately, cyber security concerns are not always communicated in a meaningful way.  Information technology often gets “lost in translation” because it is provided in a technical dialect and not in a business context.

Here are basic questions directors should be asking when reviewing their company’s cyber security framework:

  1. What part of the Board should handle examination of cyber security risks?  Should it be the whole Board?  Should this responsibility be assigned to the Audit Committee? The Risk Committee?  Should the Board  create a “Cyber Committee” to exclusively deal with these issues?  Should additional Board members be recruited who have specific cyber security experience?
  2. How often should the Board be receiving cyber security briefings?  In a world where breaches are reported daily, are quarterly briefings enough?  Should the Board be receiving monthly briefings?  Or more (given the industry type of the company, e.g. tech, IP company)?
  3. Given the sheer complexity and magnitude of many cyber security issues, should the Board hire its own “cyber advisers” to consult on cyber security issues, and be available to aks questions of the Company’s senior management, CTOs, and CIOs?
  4. What are the greatest threats and risks to the Company’s highest-value cyber assets?  Does the Company’s human and financial capital line up with protecting those high-value assets?
  5. What is the Company’s volume of cyber incidents on a weekly and monthly basis?  What is the time taken and cost to respond to those incidents?
  6. What would the worst-case scenario cost the company in terms of lost business (because of downtime of systems that were attacked and need to be brought back and because of the harm to the Company’s reputation as a result of the attack)?
  7. What is the Company’s specific cyber incident plan, and how will it respond to customers, clients, vendors, the media, regulators, law enforcement, and shareholders?  Does the Company have a crisis management plan to respond to all these various constituencies, as well as the media (both print and electronic/high activity bloggers)?  Finally, has the cyber incident plan been tested (or “war-gamed”) so that it is ready to be put into place on a moment’s notice?
  8. What cyber security training does the Company give its employees?
  9. What sort of “cyber due-diligence” does the company perform with respect to its third-party service providers and vendors?
  10. In mergers and acquisitions context, what is the level of cyber due-diligence that is done as part of the consideration of any acquisition?
  11. Has the Company performed an analysis of the “cyber-robustness” of the Company’s products and services to analyze potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers?
  12. Finally, should the Company consider adopting, in whole or in part, the NIST cyber-security framework as a way or method of showing affirmative action to protect the Company’s IP assets?

About @TomHulsey

Tom’s passion is leveraging technology to make the world a safer place. Focusing on the intersection of public safety, technology and information, Tom uses his insights and ability to dig in to where actual customer benefits lie to approach the rapidly changing technology landscape. In an evolving marketplace, his focus is always on what any technology actually provides the business. His strengths include his ability to relate with senior management and serve as a critical resource. Evidenced by his commitment to excellence and zeal for security and safety technology, Tom has earned a reputation as a sophisticated and ethical client advocate and effective sales executive. His passion is further illustrated by his involvement with the North Texas Crime Commission (Cybercrime Committee Secretary), ASIS (Technology Chairman) and Infragard. Tom is a graduate of the FBI, Plano Police, DPS, and District Attorney Prosecutor Citizen Academy’s and is a member of Plano’s CERT.

97% of cyber events could have been prevented!


A Verizon-Secret Service study* documents that as much as 97% of cyber events could have been prevented, or mitigated the damages, through the use of best practices:

  1. Monitor and filter outbound network traffic
  2. Ensure essential controls are met and regularly audit to in order consistent implementation
  3. Change default credentials
  4. Avoid shared credentials
  5. Implement a firewall or access control list (ACL) on remote access/administration services
  6. Utilize IP blacklisting
  7. Update anti-virus and other software consistently
  8. Audit user accounts
  9. Restrict and monitor privileged users
  10. Test applications and review codes
  11. Monitor and mine event logs
  12. Change the approach to event monitoring and log analysis
  13. Define ‘suspicious’ and ‘anomalous’ (then look for whatever ‘it’ is)
  14. Increase awareness of social engineering
  15. Train employees and customers to look for signs of tampering & fraud
  16. Create an incident response plan
  17. Engage in mock incident testing
  18. Secure business partner connections; and
  19. Eliminate unnecessary data and keep tabs on what is left

If you would like explanations and examples, I can help!


How a CISO can Protect Your Digital Assets – Without Breaking the Bank

The True Definition of a CISO and Why You Need One (it’s keeping you up at night!)

The Challenge:

A cyber-attack on your business is not a matter of if, but when.  The nature of corporate asset value has changed significantly, shifting away from manufacturing items and towards virtual services and data; we all have digital assets and IP at risk. Leading com panies are now viewing cyber risks in the same way they do risk management – in terms of a risk-reward trade off.  Seemingly overnight, cyber security has evolved from an important enterprise function into a strategic and operational board level critical issue that affects almost every aspect of business and information technology.

The Solution:

Fractional Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

One recent study found that 80 percent of the total value of the Fortune 500 now consists of intellectual property (IP) and other intangibles.  Along with the rapidly expanding “digitization” of corporate assets, there has been a corresponding increase in corporate risk.  Accordingly, policymakers, regulators, boards, shareholders, and the public are more attuned to corporate cybersecurity risks than ever before.  Organizations are at risk from the loss of IP and trading algorithms, personal identity theft, destroyed or altered data, declining public confidence, harm to reputation, disruption to critical infrastructure, and new legal and regulatory sanctions. Each of these risks can adversely affect competitive positioning, stock price, shareholder value and careers.

This is especially challenging in the cyber arena for two reasons.  First, the complexity of cyber threats has grown dramatically. Corporations now face increasingly sophisticated attacks that outstrip traditional defenses and intellectual knowledge. As the complexity of these attacks increases, so does the risk they pose to corporations.  As noted above, the potential effects of a data breach are expanding well beyond information loss to include significant damage in other areas.  Second, competitive pressures to deploy increasingly cost-effective business solutions often affect resource investment decisions.  These two competing pressures on corporate staff and business leaders mean that conscientious and comprehensive oversight at the board level has become essential.

The biggest challenge of cyber security is the quickly and constantly evolving nature of the various security risks themselves. Getting a handle on the current environment – including external cyber-attacks, internal employee access, and choosing the right technology tools – is heaping additional pressure on already overwhelmed IT departments.

Through this evolution, a new role has emerged – the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Most organizations are not prepared to invest in full-time CISO.  According to, the 2014 total compensation for a CISO is $251,904.  Compensation aside, the CISO is not an individual. Why?

McKinsey & Partners:
The risks of cyber-attacks span functions and business units, companies and customers. And given the stakes and the challenging decisions posed by becoming cyber resilient, making the decisions necessary can only be achieved with active engagement from the CEO and other members of the senior-management team.”

It’s not easy being a CISO. On one hand, there’s the ever-present challenge of facing the board – struggling for extra budget dollars that doesn’t exist and trying to articulate security threats in business terms to a non-“techie” audience.  Then there’s the threat landscape itself. Ever-changing, ever-advancing while the CISO’s resources remain static, and executed by an increasingly agile, resilient, well-funded and sophisticated enemy.  Viewed in these terms, the CISO is probably one of the most challenging roles in modern business.”

Bottom line, security and compliance are a balancing act with business needs.

What’s the answer?  A Fractional CISO.   An FCISO should be a functionality, rather than an individual;  multiple professionals providing a function.  The traditional CISO is an individual with that is either a security expert or has IT experience.



What this means to you is having a fractionalized team of professionals whose expertise extends beyond the role of a cyber-techie, to assist leadership and the Board as it wrestles with the complex issues of risk management, compliance, and the “needs of the business.”