Through your eyes: Creating a new paradigm for enterprise security

Nine network pros give first-person accounts of working through tough situations.

Paul Simmonds: Chief information security officer, ICI, London; and co-founder, the Jericho Forum, an international user group focused on next-generation security issues.

Creating a new paradigm for enterprise security

Paul Simmonds

Chief information security officer, ICI, London; and co-founder, the Jericho Forum, an international user group focused on next-generation security issues

The Jericho Forum came about because no one was addressing the problem of de-perimeterization - the ability to operate your business on the raw Internet. Our hardware and software suppliers weren't discussing the fact that borders aren't doing much good for corporations. It was a bit like the "Emperor's New Clothes" as they were saying there was nothing wrong - they were still telling us how to harden our borders.

So we started two years ago as a supper club, going out to a meal with like-minded CSOs to discuss the problem. The first one had seven or eight people, the second had 15, and eventually it became a half-day event with 15 to 20 people. It just continued to grow.

Paul Simmonds

In October 2003, I spoke at the RSA Conference in Amsterdam about the topic of de-perimeterization. A journalist was in the back of the room and made a front-page story out of it. Very quickly we went from an ad hoc group of people who all knew each other to something very formal. In January 2004, the Jericho Forum, which was named for the walls of Jericho that come tumbling down, was officially born.

Then I did the keynote at another conference and there was stunned silence. 'This is total heresy,' they thought. I went back to the same conference in 2005 for a follow-up and the industry had gone from total disbelief to acceptance. We now have 80-plus users, with Procter & Gamble, Qantas and a host of international companies represented.

I have an 80-hour-a-week day job that I still have to do. I can't afford to mess around. We've got a clear set of goals, and we're going for it. If I didn't think the Jericho Forum wasn't going to have an impact in the next 10 years, I wouldn't be investing the time.

- As told to Sandra Gittlen

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