CIO Profiles: Ken Silva, Senior VP And CTO Of VeriSign - InformationWeek
IT Leadership // IT Strategy
04:30 PM

CIO Profiles: Ken Silva, Senior VP And CTO Of VeriSign

This security pro sees huge potential for virtualization.

Career Track

Ken Silva, Senior VP and CTO, VeriSign

Ken Silva
Senior VP and CTO, VeriSign
How long at current company: 9-1/2 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Over a number of years, VeriSign acquired a significant number of companies. Most of those technologies hadn't been integrated from an infrastructure standpoint. To obtain maximum efficiency, we decided to integrate all of those operations, including networking and security. By being decisive and making the goals and objectives clear, we were able to fuse multiple teams into a single unit, which in the end was smaller and far more productive.

Most important career influencer: Peter Kellman served as a mentor and a technical barometer for more than 10 years while I worked at the National Security Agency. His mix of technical expertise and his unique ability to bring out the very best in people is something I've rarely seen in a senior technical leader. In working with him, I saw how a mix of technical skills coupled with a personable demeanor could take a team to a new level of productivity.


Advice for future CIOs: If your security or technology policies are in conflict with the corporate culture, you're in serious trouble. You either need to adapt the policies or change the culture. If you don't, you'll never get the buy-in from your peers or management.

Best way to cope with the economic downturn: Make sure that projects are clearly prioritized and the risks for not doing some projects are well understood.

The federal government's top technology priority should be ... securing critical communications infrastructure.

On The Job

IT budget: $200 million

Size of IT team: About 700

Top initiatives:

  • Virtualization is one of the most exciting initiatives we have. I see an enormous potential for rapid deployment and configuration control. We have a number of small initiatives around virtualization that will ramp our efforts over time. There's so much potential for productivity improvement.
  • Distributed storage is another key initiative. Storing and retrieving data is one of the biggest challenges companies with large data sets have. We've launched a distributed storage initiative that will greatly simplify data replication and data mining.
  • Security is important to any company (or should be), but at VeriSign it's in our DNA. We constantly revise our security measures to take maximum advantage of the latest technologies available.

How I measure IT effectiveness: Aside from the quality of your applications, one of the most important elements of an IT organization is its availability. It doesn't matter how good something is if your customers can't get to it. By measuring uptime and availability as a metric, you can understand which components might need attention. By tracking uptime and availability at the component level, you can see where trouble spots are.


Leisure activity: Golf

Tech vendor CEO I respect most: Bill Gates

Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Steve Jobs

Biggest business-related pet peeve: People who show up late for meetings

Last vacation: Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Smartphone of choice: iPhone

Personal computer of choice: iMac

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll