Forcepoint’s Global CTO Nico Fischbach discusses the future of security, his networking background and why he might open a restaurant
What is your role and who do you work for?
I joined Forcepoint in January 2017 and I’m currently the Global CTO reporting to Matt Moynahan, our CEO.
How long have you been in IT?
You could say I’ve been in IT for 20 years, but if fixing your neighbours’ computers and using debuggers to get unlimited lives in games counts, then I’ve been in IT since I was a teenager! I started my career as a sysadmin and developer then joined Colt, a global service provider, as a senior network engineer. Following this I ran security engineering and operations before leading company-wide architecture.
What is your most interesting project to date?
At Forcepoint, it’s one I can’t really talk about yet, but let me say that it combines a cloud-first approach, state-of-the-art security services and a good dose of networking! At Colt I’m really proud of how we re-invented networking through SDN and NFV-enabled on-demand high-bandwidth services.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
Being able to recruit top talent to accelerate the pace towards delivering Forcepoint’s Human Point System! Many of us, not just in the security industry, are competing for similar skills and the market is pretty dry globally.
What technology were you working with ten years ago?
Mostly routers, switches, firewalls and Linux-based systems. Sometimes I actually miss not spending more of my time using a CLI (versus Mail and Powerpoint).
What is your favourite technology of all time?
ABS. I like cars and ABS has “saved” me more than once. If you apply this to IT security, having something keeping an eye on you, without being invasive and “kicking in” at the right time to protect you from something bad happening, is actually very desirable.
How will the Internet of Things affect your organisation?
Most IoT devices are used directly or indirectly by humans and generate massive amounts of data. This is exactly where Forcepoint plays: at the intersection of people and data by making sure we protect people, assets, data and IP.
What smartphone do you use?
I’ve been an iPhone user since day one.
What three apps could you not live without?
According to my iPhone’s statistics: Facebook, Deezer and Strava. On my corporate one: Mail, Slack and Maps.
Over the years I’ve had the chance to meet with so many great people in the network and security industries who I can call friends now, and at some point we moved from using IRC to Facebook! A music service is a must when you spend so much time airborne (with a good noise cancellation headset).
What new technology are you most excited for a) your business and b) yourself?
I’m not sure I want to leak our M&A strategy! Obviously using machine learning to drive better and faster security response and protecting people is something exciting. Personally, I wonder if 5G will effectively displace wireline services like ADSL.
If you weren’t doing the job you do now, what would you be doing?
Many friends have suggested I quit the industry and actually open a restaurant. I love cooking and apparently buy too much wine. Now you probably understand why Strava was in the top 3 apps!