HP Vet Expanding Focus of Encryption Vendor Vormetric

HP is one of the world’s largest IT vendors and home to many security technologies and professionals. It’s no longer the home of Alan Kessler, though.

Kessler, the former president of HP’s Tipping Point division and VP, Worldwide Sales and Service for HP’s Enterprise Security Products division, was recently named the new CEO of encryption vendor Vormetric. He is utilizing the lessons he learned while at HP in his new gig.

In particular, Kessler believes it’s no longer a question for enterprises whether or not they will get hacked, but about the ultimate security of their data.

“The perspective from HP was really interesting, understanding what some of the challenges are for IT organizations as they move from having a glass house around which they build a security perimeter,” Kessler told eSecurity Planet.

As mobility, BYOD and cloud computing take hold, modern enterprises are facing lots of new IT security challenges. Kessler saw those challenges up close while at HP. When he decided it was time to leave HP, he wanted to find an organization that was well positioned to address those challenges.

Protecting Data Beyond the Perimeter

While Vormetric is often thought of as a data encryption vendor, Kessler stressed that the company is really all about protecting data, no matter where it resides. “We’re all about enterprise security and protecting the most critical assets in an organization,” he said.

One of the lessons Kessler learned during his years in the IT security market is that the adversaries are always changing. And, he said, any large organization that thinks it hasn’t been breached is likely mistaken.

“Quite frankly one of the ways to protect against adversaries is to actually protect what they are after,” Kessler said. “The Vormetric approach is to be the ‘easy’ button for enterprises to protect their data.”

It’s not that enterprises shouldn’t be worried about their perimeter or risks from Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), Kessler said. But they should focus on practical outcomes. For example, if an attacker breaches an organization but all the data is encrypted, all the attacker gets is the cipher text.

“We can protect what the bad guys are after,” Kessler said. “If you’re protecting the core stuff that attackers are after, you can sleep a little better at night.”

Thus far, Vormetric’s message has been focused on data encryption. Moving forward, Kessler said the dialogue will expand to encompass mobile, cloud and Big Data.

For Kessler, the biggest challenge Vormetric faces today is one that HP did not face. Simply put, Vormetric isn’t all that well known. In order to improve his new company’s exposure, Kessler adopts a view some might consider radical: He wants Vormetric to lose more often.

“I want to be in the position to help so many more customers that I will win more opportunities to help them, but I will also lose more too,” he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.

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