I recently had the pleasure of attending the fifth annual IT Security Entrepreneurs’ Forum at Stanford University. Robert Rodriguez, chairman and managing principal of The Security Innovation Network, (SINET), summed up the organization’s goal as “being a catalyst between federal agencies, private industry, system integrators, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investment bankers, academics and scientists within the global security community.”  SINET’s forum works on all fronts and delivers an excellent return on the time and investment.

SINET is relevant for today’s physical security integrators positioning themselves to leverage opportunities to counter cybercrime and industrial espionage. IP networking and convergence allows more collaboration and information sharing to combat global crime. Our open Internet provides major benefits, but simultaneously accelerates organized cybercrime models seeking to leverage the same technologies to their advantage. Security practitioners (manufacturers and system integrators) can expand their services and protect the business operations of their customers. Enter SINET.

Day one consisted of sessions with senior industry players discussing pertinent topics. Dr. Doug Maughan, division director, Cyber Security Division, Science & Technology Directorate at DHS, who is the main sponsor of the event, provided advice on getting product development funding and government contracts. Dave Javens, chairman of IronKey, and David Howe, chief executive officer of Civitas Group, presented case studies for vendors leveraging government contacts and crafting market entry strategies. These sessions were timely and informative for system integrators and promoted informal networking with these experts.

'The key for the security integrator is to attack this "cyber elephant" one bite at a time'

The general session included a who’s who of the cybersecurity ecosystem. Sarah Friar, managing director, Goldman Sachs, delivered a keynote on “Tectonic Shifts & Trends in the Infosec Landscape,” which I wish could be repeated at industry events such as ASIS and ISC West. Panels included experts on subjects ranging from partnering theory to social networking and cloud computing. SINET provides an excellent strategic compass for security integrators seeking to understand the emerging synergies between the physical, IT and cybersecurity business models. The cybersecurity issue is very complex. The key for the security integrator is to attack this “cyber elephant” one bite at a time. The SINET event is perfect for this strategy. It provides the ability to understand the market trends, and evaluate new areas your business model can adopt to generate more revenues.

“Traditional approaches are not working and our nation cannot afford to leave any stone unturned when it comes to innovation,” said Rodriguez. “SINET connects the builders, buyers, researches and investors within the cybersecurity ecosystem and the SIs are an integral part of this formula. We encourage the SIs to help us ‘bridge the gap’ between the Silicon Valley and the Beltway as we continue to build communities of interest and trust through open collaboration models.”

The SINET venue is especially relevant considering the business environment moving forward. Cybersecurity and cloud computing represent major trends that will transform the future of the security integrator community. Our military leadership has formally recognized cyber as their fifth domain of warfare, following land, sea, air, and space. Think about the major fundamental changes and ongoing investments that followed the establishment of these prior service branches. Cybersecurity is now a national security issue that will unite our military, public, private and academic sectors for years to come. Cloud computing will be the architecture that accelerates this momentum and forces disruptive changes to existing security integrator business models. SINET provides a strategic roadmap to integrators for understanding these trends and how to embrace them in the future. The next event is in October in Washington, D.C. For information, visit www.security-innovation.org/showcase.htm. See you there!