Tom Parenty

Author and consultant

Digital Defense
18 minutes, 4.3mb, recorded 2003-10-08
Topics: Security
Tom Parenty's mission is to create a common language with which techies and managers can discuss the security of business activities. He has been a computer scientist with the U.S. National Security Agency, and since the mid-1980s held security-related positions in the software industry before going independent four years ago. He has also testified before a number of U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Committees, and has a new book just out entitled Digital Defense, What You Should Know About Protecting Your Company’s Assets.

Tom sees two trends that demand this collaboration: that organizations are sharing more information, and that they're doing so without the traditional human intermediaries that act as filters. Traditional security, he says, is designed to "protect the good folks inside from the bad folks outside." But the "line between insider and outsider is becoming increasingly blurred."

And just how do you protect your data once it's out of your control? It's not easy, he says. "Knowing that a company has a firewall and uses virus protection doesn’t provide any meaningful information about how safe it is to conduct business with that firm over the Internet." Tom also explains how to think of security as an enabling technology. "If you want to find opportunities in which information security can promote innovations, focus on removing limitations of time, locale, and scale."

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