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IT LIFE: Jason Hart, Gemalto CTO Data Protection

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Jason Hart guides us through his career in IT, his love of the enigma machine and why he would turn to farming tech if he wasn’t in the security sector

What is your role and who do you work for?

I am the Chief Technology Officer for Data Protection at Gemalto. I’m responsible for directing and guidance the business and strategy of the product roadmap, helping establish the vision for the company.

How long have you been in IT?

I’ve been working in information security since the age of 18 – (just) over 20 years! I started as an ethical hacker, working with a number of FTSE 100 companies to work out where their vulnerabilities lay – it was an interesting time for me, and a fast learning curve for the companies!

Jason Hart Gemalto CTO 2What is your most interesting project to date?

The most interesting project I’ve worked on was creating the vison, creation and launched the now World No.1 leading cloud authentication platform SafeNet Authentication Service (originally Cryptocard). This is now used by nearly every business and is seen as the industry standard – something that’s a particular career highlight!

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

My biggest challenge is getting people to understand that they need to go back to the basics of information security – protecting what matters and where it matters. What surprises me is the lack of knowledge of information security risks that are out there at the moment.

I still work on projects where people are not implementing the basics to protect themselves. Best practices I was advising people to use 20 years ago are still not in place, namely applying security controls that relate to mitigating confidentiality and integrity controls.

Businesses can no longer have a ‘head in the sand mentality’ when it comes to protecting themselves from cyber-attacks. People are keen to spend money on security controls that reveal when a breach has occurred, rather than something that protects against an actual breach. No technology will prevent a breach, but you can mitigate one.

What technology were you working with ten years ago?

I was creating the vison and strategy for Cyptocard.

What is your favourite technology of all time?

My favourite technology is actually a piece of hardware from WW2, despite my efforts and love of the cloud world! It’s the enigma machine that was developed and used in the early-to mid-twentieth century to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communication (I’m a proud owner of one of these).

It’s simplicity and user experience are still the underlying principles we strive for today when it comes to crypto and encryption.

How will the Internet of Things affect your organisation?

As an organisation, we need to ensure our technology allows organisations to protect the data they create as more and more “things” are connected to the internet. With the rise of IoT, comes the issue of more entry points for hackers to potentially access the network through.

But it’s not just the devices that need to be protected – the whole data life cycle is vulnerable. Our challenge, and one that I’m eager to take on, is to continue to evolve to help solve this problem for our customers by making data protection transparent and simple to consume.

Do passwords have a future in cybersecurity?

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What smartphone do you use?

I use an iPhone because of two reasons. Its user experience is brilliant and it offers a transparent security layer that doesn’t affect that experience.

What three apps could you not live without?

Monzo – a joy in a new banking experience.

Go Henry – allows me to track and limit the amounts my kids spend, whilst giving them a better understand of money!

Findmyphone – Something I wish I didn’t need, but I’m always glad I have it to track the children!

What new technology are you most excited for a) your business and b) yourself?

  1. As business technology becomes more ‘consumerised’ by the week, I’m excited about how traditional data protection controls are going to evolve into an easily consumable form that everyone can embrace.
  2. Behavioural analytics has always fascinated me, so I’m intrigued as to how this will be used to mitigate security risks in the future.

If you weren’t doing the job you do now, what would you be doing?

I would be a farmer using technology to evolve traditional farming.