I didn’t get interested in computer security until going to work in the intelligence community right out of college.
I can’t talk about the agency I worked with as a government contractor. But the next thing I knew, I was solving security problems critical to our nation’s security.
This is the late ’80s and early ’90s. There was no security industry in those days. This is really when all the groundwork was being laid for what would become the information security industry that we take for granted today. I was very lucky to get in on the ground floor when some of the greatest minds in security were just coming together.
The Internet explosion was happening. I got the great honor of being probably what was one of the first [chief information security officers] in the world. UUnet, one of the first Internet services companies, called me out of the blue. I was really honored to be chosen as that person, and that is what drew me out of the intelligence world and into the commercial space.
If you think back to when smartphones first started coming out and people were syncing their e-mails and their corporate files to these mobile devices, all of a sudden the corporate perimeter that we used to think of as the border for security no longer existed. So we created a company called Trust Digital to apply the same security fundamentals to mobile devices, because now the corporate network extended to every one of their employees’ pockets.
At Terremark, we’re now solving the security problem on a global scale, because cloud computing has now become one of the largest tools in the IT administrator’s toolbox. Just about every corporation in the world is outsourcing some piece of their IT services or their IT technology. At Terremark, we were not only focused on building the data centers and the cloud-computing infrastructure that IT administrators use, but I was also focused on securing that infrastructure so that as companies outsourced their IT infrastructure, they got better security, better performance and better availability than they can deliver themselves.
I’ve been innovating in the security space at this point for 25 years, and in my mind, right now the most critical area of IT security that needs innovation and a total renovation is endpoint security. It’s the person sitting at their desk or the person with their laptop at Starbucks. It’s the biggest threat we face.
I looked at a lot of companies, and Invincea’s creative approach to securing the endpoint in a new way was irresistible to me. As I interviewed, I learned they have a world-class team, some of the best I’ve ever met in my life, so I joined them.
— Interview with Kathy Orton
Position: Chief operating officer, Invincea, a Fairfax company that uses secure virtual containers to protect against advanced cybersecurity threats.
Career highlights: Chief operating officer, Terremark Federal Group (part of Verizon); chief technology officer, Trust Digital; vice president, VeriSign; vice president, Symantec.
Education: BS, computer science, State University of New York at Fredonia.
Personal: Lives in Culpepper.