Mike Foster is one of the countries leading experts in Computer Security and has recently released a book on the subject The Secure CEO. What sets this book apart from the average ‘computer geek’ book is that it is written in plain english. Often times computer books are crammed with technical information, and laden with acronyms that mean absolutely nothing to the uninitiated.

When I first picked up The Secure CEO, I groaned inwardly, oh no another book full of gibberish about TCP/IP, Firewalls, Routers, and the rest of the alphabet soup that the computer industry lives by. Instead I found a well presented, and well researched book that anyone could read and glean a great deal of information from. The title The Secure CEO, in my opinion anyway, was not the best choice, much of what Mike Foster writes about has relevance to just about everyone who uses a computer for work or play.

So impressed was I by this book that I just had to interview him. Mike is no easy guy to nail down for an interview, although he lives in Napa Valley, he spends most of his time traveling, doing what he does best, working with companies making their IT investment an asset rather than a liability.

I caught up with Mike who was fresh off a firefighting trip to Atlanta. What I found interesting is that although he is a very ‘technical’ guy he talks the same way as he writes, plain english!

This is a man that sets the bar for IT standards of communication with the real world.

There is a disconnect between most IT departments and upper management. The CEO understands the need for physical security and happily buys good quality locks to deter thieves, he likely will also pay for an alarm system, maybe even a security service to patrol the premises after closing time. These are tangible expenses, there is something to show for them. Less likely is his agreement to security in the IT area, firewalls, passwords, routers, are seen as an impediment to progress, and merely have a bad effect on the bottom line of the profit statement.

This is not ‘geek speak’ this is the real world, and parts of the real world are less than angelic. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse, business owners and home users need to understand the rules of engagement. More importantly they need to understand the consequences when things go bad. Unwanted pop-ups maybe just a nuisance, on the other hand having your personal or corporate data stolen, or lost can be devastating.  Mike Foster has some solid strategies

You can catch the entire audio of the interview here. Mike also has a web site that contains some great background information.

Simon Barrett (ex computer geek)


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