5 Questions For Bob Gleichauf, CTO Of Cisco Systems' Security Business Unit - InformationWeek

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5 Questions For Bob Gleichauf, CTO Of Cisco Systems' Security Business Unit

Gleichauf's role is to make sure Cisco has a proper understanding of how security should play across all its current products, as well as those it plans to release over the next five years. Easy as walking and chewing gum for this student of history.

Bob Gleichauf
CTO Of Cisco Systems' Security Business Unit

Interview by Larry Greenemeier

Bob Gleichauf, CTO Of Cisco Systems' Security Business Unit -- Photograph by Mark Ostow

Photograph by Mark Ostow

"I'd like companies in our industry to look at socioeconomic trends, the way the world adapts and misuses things." Many a well-intentioned focus, such as overzealousness to encrypt everything, can lead to security problems that create "CNN moments for businesses and government.

Banks that add encryption to backup media must think about the scenarios under which they would need to access that media. "Recovery is generally done under duress, so they have to make sure they can locate the keys when they need to."

After college, Gleichauf went to Africa for a year to work for the Leakey Institute, famous for its anthropological studies on the origins of the human race. There he used computer programs in Fortran on mainframes to find patterns in archaeological endeavors. "Archaeological problems are math problems."

Following his work in Africa, Gleichauf was named a University of Michigan Rackham Fellow and continued his studies in early human prehistory. "It's the study of what makes us uniquely human."

To help determine where IT security is heading, Gleichauf spends a lot of time listening closely to customers. "We often have to apply psychology to do our job."

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