After spending years helping companies see their networks the way hackers do — full of inviting holes — Philippe Courtot is fed up and ready to do something about it.Last week, the chairman and CEO of cloud security firm Qualys pledged $500,000 of his own money to launch new non-profit called the Trustworthy Internet Movement. It’s his attempt to make cloud computing off limits to cyber criminals.
We contacted Courtot and asked him why he’s digging into his own pocket for this. Short answer … he wants to stop the bad guys. Long answer:
“The very fact that we are not making much progress at making the Internet safe and trustworthy is underscored by the ever-increasing data breaches,” he told Business Insider. “While the industry talks a lot about security and the cloud, it has ignored the fact that the Internet is one of the key enabling technologies where cyber criminals operate with almost total impunity.”
That’s an interesting — and odd take — from a guy running a security company.
Computer security is the catch-22 of enterprise computing. In 2011, enterprises spent an estimated $60 billion on software and services to protect themselves and their customers, according to PcW. This spend is expected to grow 10 per cent annually — despite the crummy economy. Even so, the Internet is still hardly a safe place. In 2011, there were scores of high-profile hack attacks.
But, that’s more-or-less the way many computer security vendors want it. After all, without the hackers, no one would need their products.
So Courtot deserves a round of applause for wanting the security industry to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. He wants the TIM to finally tackle the stuff that’s been plaguing Internet users forever, such as botnets, viruses and issues with security certificates used by browsers to validate websites (or in geek-speak SSL governance). He wants to come up with ways to bake protection into public and private clouds, too,
This isn’t Courtot’s first effort to stop the criminals. He’s been volunteering with the Internet Society and he’s invested in StopBadware, he told us.
Qualys, which Courtot is readying to take public, is a cloud service that helps enterprises test their networks for security holes and regulatory compliance.