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Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Steve Alexander, Associate Editor
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ShieldIO is enabling Organizations to Perform Search on Encrypted Data without Decrypting It using their revolutionary patented Real-
Founder and CEO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – October 14, 2019
CEOCFO: Mr. Jennings, the first thing I see on the ShieldIO site is “Cyber Resilience For Today’s Data.” How are you providing that?
Mr. Jennings: ShieldIO provides cyber resilience through our patented Real-
ShieldIO has enabled organizations to perform search on encrypted data without decrypting it. We are delivering this capability through what we call Secure Autonomous Drivers. The drivers are a standard database, JDBC, ODBC, .NET, EF and other database drivers that reside next to the existing database driver and manage the encryption, query parsing, and all of the pass-
CEOCFO: What was the biggest challenge in creating this solution?
Mr. Jennings: Many different types of Homomorphic Encryption have existed in academia and think tank science labs for going on thirty years. All of these iterations of Homomorphic Encryption have a couple of different issues with them. One is that they are incredibly latency intensive from a compute infrastructure standpoint. It takes a tremendous amount of computing power to process searches on encrypted data. When the first homomorphic algorithms came out, they were one hundred trillion times slower searching encrypted data than searching decrypted data. Over the years, companies like IBM, Microsoft, and others, in their labs, have reduced that latency down to about fifty thousand times slower in searching encrypted data than searching decrypted data. Even with these advancements, Homomorphic Encryption was still unusable in a real-
ShieldIO has overcome that hurdle through our patented memory management. We stood on stage last year with Oracle and searched an Oracle database that was encrypted faster than they searched their own decrypted database. We have taken Homomorphic Encryption out of the science lab and put it into practical production environments. That was one of the biggest hurdles; overcoming that memory management problem of latency on the encrypted search that has plagued what many people call the ‘Holy Grail’ of encryption.
CEOCFO: Are people surprised and skeptical even though you are showing them that it can be done?
Mr. Jennings: Yes, we get a multitude of jaw-
When you talk to people that are deep in security and encryption, they understand column level encryption; they understand data masking and tokenization and the multitude of other methodologies that have existed for thirty plus years. They still find it hard to believe that someone has finally cracked the code of being able to search encrypted data in real-
CEOCFO: Who is using ShieldIO? Who should be using ShieldIO?
Mr. Jennings: As CEO, I’m obligated to say everybody should! However, realistically, we have focused deployments in the healthcare, e-
Other areas of focus are in insurance, research, and IOT. Just think about the volume of private data these endpoint devices generate. That data requires end-
CEOCFO: Are there different solutions for different industries or is it one basic solution with some tweaks?
Mr. Jennings: That is a good way of categorizing what we’ve done. We believe in a platform approach vs. a multiple point product engineering effort. As such, we’ve built a platform based on our Real-
While that sounds simple, it’s far from a trivial effort. There are many nuances involved in delivering our targeted products for analytics; working with multiple databases; enabling different application sets, and so on. However, this effort has enabled ShieldIO to be both database as well as application-
Additionally, we are location agnostic. So, whether your environment is on-
CEOCFO: With seemingly limitless potential, where are you focusing your efforts? Who is you reaching out to you? How are you reaching out?
Mr. Jennings: We are going to market primarily through our partners and focused on the predominant cloud ecosystem vendors and their customers. It is much more cost-
Today, we are going to market through Oracle, Teradata, Arrow Electronics, and multiple resellers and managed service providers. We have other top tier cloud vendors that will announce they are reselling ShieldIO soon.
CEOCFO: Is this easy for the resellers to understand? Do technical people understand, or is there a certain amount of education for the people that might be presenting to the end client?
Mr. Jennings: There are two levels of education that I see. One is at the thirty thousand foot view, for the general business and technology consumer. What they see are the four and one half billion data breaches that occurred in 2018 but what they feel is, “When I went to Home Depot, all of my credit card information was stolen, and I had to cancel my credit card.” Others read about or are impacted by very public breaches like Capital One and Amazon Web Services. People experience these emotionally and financially driven issues daily and wonder, “Why is that happening, how can my data be protected?”
At the technical level within organizations, the DBA experiences that jaw-
CEOCFO: Where does price come into play? How do you find the right price point and what has been the response to your pricing?
Mr. Jennings: Our total cost of ownership is far below who we consider competitors in this space. Most security vendors sell breach mitigation and professional services and offer encryption as sort of a side note. We do not do that. We do not require lengthy professional service engagements or modifications to the database or applications to deploy our product. It takes a matter of hours or days, not weeks or months or years to implement ShieldIO.
ShieldIO is exceptionally price-
CEOCFO: What surprised you as ShieldIO has developed and come to the point where you are today?
Mr. Jennings: So many things have surprised me! What continues to shock me daily is more about the market though. As you can imagine, as CEO of a cybersecurity company, I get a veritable plethora of newsfeeds in the morning. When I wake up, I see ten new breaches that took place overnight by some nation-
There is a complacency that exists in the market, even though these things happen daily, and that is just absolutely overwhelming and astonishing to me.
CEOCFO: Why look at ShieldIO? Why is this the answer for cybersecurity?
Mr. Jennings: ShieldIO is a departure from traditional data security and encryption methodologies. Real-