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Interview with Jeff Capone, CEO and Co-founder at SecureCircle

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Jeff Capone

Award winning executive leader with expertise in all facets of enterprise software development, network and storage solutions, and IoT applications. Strong ability to motivate and engage all members of the organization to achieve above and beyond business and financial goals. Instrumental in streamlining and improving processes, implementing technology solutions, and utilizing entrepreneurial mindset to develop creative resolutions that increase revenue.

SecureCircle was founded in 2015 to help solve pressing industry challenges in cybersecurity. Its patent-pending Transparent File Encryption solution helps organizations ensure the security, visibility and control of unstructured data from internal and external threats, regardless of format or storage location.

Tell us about your journey into Artificial Intelligence? What made you launch a cyber-security company?

I’ve co-founded and served as CTO for many software organizations, including NETGEAR, Leaf Networks and Aligo, Inc. As time went on, I couldn’t ignore how technology was changing our lives and how we work. The sheer number of devices companies use and the unstructured data that pass through them presents a massive threat, so I set out to develop a solution, which turned into our patent-pending Transparent File Encryption solution designed to transparently protect unstructured data in any form.

With GDPR making its debut this year, how should companies approach data security and privacy challenges? Are we looking at a universal cyber-security regulatory body very soon?

Organizations should take necessary steps to prepare for regulations like the upcoming GDPR. Companies should take a proactive approach instead of reactive. The risks for noncompliance are just too high. For example, noncompliance with GDPR could cost an organization up to 4% of annual revenues, or up to €20 million in fines.

Regulations are still misaligned from state to state and country to country. Meeting compliance regulations can be difficult as requirements can actually conflict with one another. GDPR is actually a good driving force for regulatory standards. GDPR sets a high bar that tends to be a superset of other compliance requirements. It’s unlikely we see a universal regulatory body, but we’ll likely see organizations keep increasing the bar. There is no need for additional requirements that fall below GDPR’s breach reporting requirements, for example.

Working with a data security company sooner than later is a smart move. For example, SecureCircle addresses each phase of GDPR compliance for our clients, including:

  • Discover – identify personal data and where it resides: If there are known processes that create data associated with GDPR, those files can automatically be protected the moment the file is created. This could be an employee report that comes from an HR solution, for example. SecureCircle can also protect files that data classification solutions like Boldon James identify.
  • Manage – govern how personal data is used and accessed: SecureCircle provides granular control for users, devices, and applications. Administrators can use existing management tools such as Active Directory to grant users and devices access to specific Circles. Admins can also restrict which applications have access to files. This enables an organization to prevent data leaks with unknown, suspicious, or even malicious applications.
  • Protect – establish security controls to prevent, detect, and respond to data breaches: With SecureCircle, files are always encrypted: at rest, in transit and in use. SecureCircle helps meet compliance requirements while not changing work flows. End users will not notice any additional layers of security or extra steps to perform their job.
  • Report – address data request, report breaches, and keep records: All requests are logged with rich metadata. Using a SIEM such as Splunk, it creates geo-location enabled reports with IP address, application, success/failure, time of access, and much more. Audit teams can quickly determine everyone who has opened a specific file or report on every file opened by a specific user.

How do you make AI deliver economic benefits as well as social goodwill?

Artificial intelligence touches so many parts of our lives today. In the data security space, AI is used to manage and secure data faster and more efficiently than any human could. For example, SecureCircle’s Similarity Detection Engine understands the DNA of a protected file. When that DNA is found in another file, the file is automatically protected upon creation. Thanks to AI, security follows content. We deliver peace of mind to organizations that need to secure their data, delivering direct economic benefits to organizations large and small. A data breach can negatively impact a company’s reputation and revenue, and our AI-driven security prevents that from happening.

As AI becomes more accessible, barriers to entry for social-focused projects will disappear. Using AI to solve local issues in the community will be possible with advanced tools that are easy for the non-data scientist to utilize.

How does SecureCircle help organizations meet data security and compliance requirements?

SecureCircle takes an entirely opposite approach than what’s currently on the market. Instead of deciding which files or content to protect, SecureCircle protects them all by default, allowing administrators to select which items to remove. SecureCircle exists because as consumer cloud services and new devices push into the enterprise, the task of tracking and managing unstructured data in a zero-trust world becomes increasingly challenging.

What are the foundational tenets of Transparent File Encryption and App Isolation?

SecureCircle’s patent-pending Transparent File Encryption solution is designed to transparently protect unstructured data in any form. It adds a near invisible layer beneath existing files which means users and applications interact with protected data in the same way they would unprotected data. This is a fundamental requirement to avoid user opt-out and ultimately data leakage. SecureCircle never changes file names or extensions and users open files with the same applications they use.

As for app isolation, only applications that are in the SecureCircle Allowed List have access to the contents of the file. Application processes that are not in the Allowed List can only move the file.

This prevents data leakage via unauthorized applications and ensures users are only using trusted applications. For example, with app isolation, ransomware will never be able to access the contents of protected files.

Tell us about your AI research programs and the most outstanding digital campaign at SecureCircle or elsewhere?

AI will be able to analyse user behavior and find abnormalities which could be security threats. With AI, the time to detect and react to security threats will get smaller and smaller. Data security, especially unstructured data security, is a very underserved area. SecureCircle has been very fortunate that our digital campaigns can be informative and factual and gather lots of attention. Our latest email campaign focusing on automating security in the cloud easily doubles the open and click through rates for our industry.

What are the major challenges for AI technology companies in making it more accessible to local communities? How do you overcome these challenges?

Resources are the main limitation to accelerating AI usage. There are so many ongoing open source AI projects. As companies continue to develop AI tools and make the tools easier and easier to use, smaller companies, universities, students, and individuals will be able to take advantage. Another evolution to AI growth is going to be making the machine learning algorithms which can be copy and pasted.  Leveraging existing algorithms in a playbook to accelerate the machine learning cycle will allow non-data scientists to use AI for various tasks.

What AI start-ups and labs are you keenly following?

We have been using TensorFlow and following the advancements of many in the field including OpenAI.

What technologies within AI and computing are you interested in? 

We solve very specific problems for our customers, but we are always interested in answering more fundamental questions. Like do humans and computers learn the same way, such as with positive or negative reinforcement?

As an AI leader, what industries you think would be fastest to adopting AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for AI technology markets? 

Data-centric industries will be the first movers in AI/ML.  For example, predicting housing or rental demand and pricing, data analytics regarding usage, sharing, and protection of data, and healthcare.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack? 

Keep the most important tasks in front of you.  It’s easy to lose focus.  Focus on the most important issues.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read: 

Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder Sun Microsystems, founder of Granite Systems, founder Arista Networks, and first investor in Google.

Thank you, Jeff ! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

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