Lightning Round with Ron Gula:
What is the state of innovation in cybersecurity today?
Ron Gula, co-founder of Gula Tech Adventures (GTA), which identifies and helps to build the next generation of cybersecurity companies while recruiting more people to the cyber workforce, recently invested in Trinity Cyber and joined the company’s Board of Directors. "The ability to dramatically increase enterprise security with a profoundly different approach is the sort of thing that doesn't come along every day," he said at the time.
Here, Gula answers a few quick questions on innovation in cybersecurity today.
Former companies: Co-founder, Tenable, Inc; Co-founder, Network Security Wizards
Current company: Co-founder, Gula Tech Adventures
Failed ambition: Fighter Pilot
Book that inspired an interest in the NSA: The Puzzle Palace by James Bamford
Q: How do you see the current state of innovation in cybersecurity?
Gula: At Gula Tech Adventures, we hear from thousands of companies every year. They're all good companies, but the majority of them are 5% better than what's on the market. They don’t represent a leap in technology or a leap in the industry. It's not something new that a chief information security officer or an executive should consider in a new light.
Q: And what is it that CISOs and executives are seeing today? What’s available?
Gula: If you look at frameworks for cybersecurity, basically it boils down to having hygiene and doing some hunting. Patch your system and look for anything that gets through. Well, this is really difficult to do. It turns out that patching at scale is really hard—even just keeping track of your assets is really hard. And then hunting: Once somebody's in, on your network, detecting something like a SolarWinds is extremely difficult. Anomaly detection does not work. Full packet capture does not work. While hygiene and hunting is state-of-the-art, it mostly gives you the illusion of security, rather than the security you need.
Q: What are some of the rising threats people are facing these days?
Gula: I think that there are so many changes coming from a technology point of view. IoT, new browsers, new types of phones, new types of cloud services. It's going to be really, really difficult for people to keep up with new security measures coming out piece-meal. It’s hard to say. Also, people are trusting the cloud too much: they trust Office 365, they trust Google. They really need an independent view of the traffic that's going in and out of their data centers.
Q: Who do you see as benefitting from a new mindset in cybersecurity?
Gula: About 90% of Americans are left behind in cybersecurity. What sort of company, what sort of industry is needed to address those people? I think it's somebody like Trinity Cyber, which can dramatically raise the level of security they are accessing. Let's say you're a small community college or a local fire department. You don't have a hunt team and you don't have cybersecurity hygiene. What one vendor can you go to? Do you need antivirus software? A firewall? By the way, it’s also really good for large institutions too. In fact, maintaining a patch management cycle is particularly difficult for them.
Trinity Cyber says, why don’t we clean all of your internet communications? It makes it a lot easier to not only do vulnerability-based intrusion prevention but do it in a way that doesn't impact your users. I really believe this changes the equation for a lot of folks. And that’s important, because we need the cyber industry to tackle the 90% of the nation that is not currently protected.