The 10 Most Prominent Personalities in the Security Industry, 2018

Ed Adams: Guarding The Digital Frontiers

Ed Adams Digital Frontiers

Today’s software doesn’t exist in isolation; it rather operates in a complex ecosystem that makes it vulnerable to attacks from multiple points. As software runs the world, security is primarily a critical concern for the modern world. To define the problems faced, even research institutions like Gartner, NIST, and others have reported that about 75% of vulnerabilities exist in the software application layer rather than the network infrastructure layer. However, organizations still invest exponentially more in network defenses. Insecure software is a human problem because it is built by people who are making mistakes and don’t know it (i.e. writing for functionality), and the fact that it’s not taught at universities compounds the issue. With proper planning, these problems can be overcome. To thwart these problems, Ed Adams started the company, Security Innovation in 2002.

Adamant Leader with a Penchant for Security, Behind the Company’s Success

Ed Adams is the President and CEO of Security Innovation. He graduated from UMass Lowell with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and English Literature and earned his MBA with honors from Boston College. However, software was always his strong suit, which he fell in love with.

Ed is a software quality and security expert with over 20 years of experience in the field. He has also served as a member of the Security Innovation Board of Directors since its inception in 2002, and took over as CEO in 2003. Prior to his work at Security Innovation, Ed held senior management positions at Rational Software, Lionbridge, Ipswitch, and MathSoft. He was also an engineer for the US Army and Foster-Miller earlier in his career. His thought leadership has directly benefited tens of thousands of security professionals at industry meetings, including: RSA Conference USA, RSA Conference Asia, Ponemon Institute’s RIM Renaissance, OWASP AppSec California, Connected Security Expo at ISC West, Phoenix Security & Audit Conference, Mozilla’s Privacy Lab, Allstate CyberCon, Applied Materials Global Software Technology Conference, Insperity Customer Security Conference, and the Levi Strauss CyberSecurity Conference, just to name a few. Ed is a Ponemon Institute Research Fellow, Privacy by Design, Ambassador by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Forbes Technology Council Member, and serves on the board of several IT security organizations.

For last 15 years, Security Innovation has been helping the most recognizable brands in the world protect their digital assets. Their software security solutions include the industry’s largest secure coding CBT library and seven different application cyber ranges, with which they’ve trained over two million users. Since 2002, organizations have relied on their assessment and training solutions to make the use of software safer in the most challenging environments – including satellites, cars, banks, medical devices, and e-commerce sites. Their robust security testing services spans all types of software: web, cloud, mobile, IoT, embedded, legacy, and more.

Bringing Robust Measures to the Security Landscape

The risk posed by machine learning and artificial intelligence is predicted to be massive. The big data analytics, learning algorithms, and another heavy lifting in ML/AI are software-based. This software needs to be secured to be totally relied upon. Security Innovation is hence working towards securing this software to keep up with the pace of innovation and change. As 100 percent security is not realistic, the company is working towards developing more robust security measures to achieve maximum level of security. This is forcing developers become more creative in making sure damage is minimal in case someone gets in.

Standing Apart from the Bunch

Security Innovation is not just a vendor to their customers but also a trusted advisor. It is an authority on software security and helps organizations build and deploy more secure software. Customers come to them for advice on very sensitive topics and they are honest about what they can and can’t help with. Security is not a generic term, but differs for every client. They do not recommend the wrong solution just for the company’s benefit. They understand the challenges of building security in, trade-offs between functionality and security, and how to take a risk-based approach to vulnerability management. The company has increased revenue every year (CAGR 26 percent), and built the industry’s most extensive cybersecurity training platform. Their plans are to continue this expansion to help make the users of software, safer wherever they reside, which most of the competitors do not even fathom of.

Imminent Plans

Security Innovation is a trailblazer in software security. Their plans include creating and refining solutions that will improve their customers’ cybersecurity readiness. The company’s mission is to make the client’s organization safer. They are planning to arm developers with the intelligence they need to write defensive codes that does not leave applications exposed. They aim to include the critical qualities in their work ethics – transparency, trustworthiness, commitment, and enabling others to thrive. The company’s bucket list includes to continue having a positive impact on software security and to make the use of it safer.

Qualities that a Leader Aiming for Great Things Should Possess

Ed opines that a leader must know his business from every angle – financial, product/service strategy, human resource management, compliance, technical as well as soft skills, and the culture that will make the company successful. For a leader to become successful, he/she must be humble and willing to help others. According to Ed, executives need to be somewhat tech-savvy from a perspective of the risk it introduces, otherwise, security never becomes a focal point of the company’s agenda.