41: DataGravity – Paula Long Talks IT Ecosystems and Cyber Security
In a world where most people think that it’s difficult for women to get ahead in tech, Paula Long has enjoyed 30 years in the industry and has seen it all. She’s the co-founder and CEO of DataGravity. This company provides data-aware storage for businesses that allows them to look inside their content and discover insights to drive their business forward. With IT Ecosystems and Cyber Security hitting the headlines on a regular basis, I invited Paula onto the show to hear her thoughts on the industry.
Can you tell me a little about your journey?
I was a typical kid in the 70’s not knowing what I was going to do and kind of fell into tech by accident. Right around the late 90’s everyone was doing start-ups so I fell into start-ups. I started my startup journey in 1998 before the tech market was at one of its heights so I’ve gone through the highs and lows of the tech market. I’m on my 5th start up, the 2nd one where I’m a founder. I’ve had some massive failures and good successes. I’m on my next journey which looks like it’s going to be another great success.
What are the biggest attitudes and changes you have seen in the tech industry?
I think the biggest changes and attitudes are tech used to be this big mystery so you could be like the mad scientist and not have to explain stuff and you could make the simple look amazing because everybody was sort of a technophobe.
As the co-founder and CEO of DataGravity I bet you’re discovering that building an effective ecosystem is becoming a trend across multiple industries. Could you tell me a little more about your findings there?
What I’m finding is no one product is going to solve a whole problem; you’re going to need an interaction of products. If you went to the last RSA you would see some mopey people saying “we’re not winning”. The reason they would say we’re not winning against the hackers, data pirates or intrusion is because everybody has a crystal clear view of their slice and now the slices have to tell have to tell each other about what they’re seeing so we can fill in those gaps and holes.
Do you think that ecosystems will be crucial for the success of security and IT?
It’s absolutely going to be critical because what’s going to happen is different products have access to different amounts of information. Being able to pull that information together and making more informed decisions based on more data points is going to be critical to making the right decisions.
Do you think that those who don’t adopt these ecosystems in the near future are destined to fail eventually?
I think those who don’t start to look at a holistic solution to their data security problem are putting their companies at risk. That really depends on what kind of data you’re holding, whether that risk can be fatal to the company. It could be benign, it could be completely fatal or it could be somewhere in the middle.
I think one other big problem is convincing board members and those in charge of the purse strings of the actual value of cyber security. I think many people always assume it will happen to someone else. How do you think IT departments should educate the board about security?
The press has been doing a really good job on reporting the break-in’s so security is a topic at every board meeting. But what people can’t show is the ROI. It’s all about risk. People haven’t done a very good job about saying here are our risks, here are the costs of mitigating those risks. Some of them you’re going to be willing to take because the likelihood is low, the impact might be low but some of them are high. You’re going to do a cost analysis about risk reward. It’s like some people don’t get collision on their cars because they say my collision insurance is worth more than the car.
There are organizations with a shoe string budget. How do you approach security and data protection with little investment and what steps can companies take to protect their data?
I think what you want to do is have a data strategy where you don’t assume that you know where the confidential information is. It’s going to leak because people make mistakes and they drop things in places they aren’t expecting. You want to have software that can help you find where your sensitive data is and you want to be watching who is accessing it so you make sure you have the right permissions on it.
If anyone listening would like to reach out to you or find out more about your work at DataGravity what is the best way to get in contact with you?
I’m on LinkedIn as Paula Long.
What’s next for you?
Stayed tuned because DataGravity will be doing a pretty big launch this summer talking about how we make understanding your data and protecting your data easy for folks who aren’t cyber experts. We’re all about making it very easy. If you can understand what it is you want to protect we can help you protect it. Stay tuned this summer when we start talking about the details of that.