Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a leading C-suite figure in the business technology sector. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Dave Sikora, CEO of ALTR: a data access monitoring, governance, and protection provider, founded in 2014.
Dave – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
The biggest challenge facing global enterprises is protecting and securing the sensitive data that is used to run their businesses. With increasing regulations that introduced new punitive economic measures for lax oversight, the cost of non-compliance has accelerated significantly.
For example, the fines for non-compliance of the GDPR and CCPA or a data breach could be as high as $7,500 per record. For most companies, the contingent liabilities are in the tens of millions of dollars. So understanding where sensitive data lives inside an enterprise, how that data is consumed, who has access to it and how it’s protected are now board of director level issues for global companies, as it should be.
Information architectures are also extremely complex, with the adoption of cloud computing and data lakes that are used as sources for business analytics, machine learning and early use cases of AI.
Historically, the cybersecurity industrial complex was built around walls and moats which protected a company’s core data assets. As more and more companies embrace cloud computing, a “wall and moat” strategy is not sufficient to meet market requirements. It’s critical now that security is embedded in business applications versus the afterthought it has been historically.
ALTR has approached this market problem by offering a comprehensive solution that helps companies meet these challenges, while leveraging highly differentiated technology that is protected by 26 patents and counting.
Technology that Excites you Most?
As a veteran of the software business and having been CEO of multiple public and private companies, I’ve had the good fortune to witness multiple revolutions in our industry. First the PC industry in the 80s, the internet beginning in the mid-90s, and mobile right around the time of accelerating BlackBerry adoption.
During that time I’ve had the chance to develop a pattern recognition capability of market trends meeting disruptive technologies.
When I first had the chance to see the technology that ALTR had developed in the data security space, it reminded me of the early stages of the previous revolutions I’ve experienced. We are witnessing new data breaches every single day, caused by nefarious nation states, bad-actor insiders, and just plain lack of awareness and honest mistakes by individuals. Brands are being destroyed and the new global regulations have the potential to cause tens of millions of dollars in fines for non-compliance.
The market needs a new mouse trap, a stronger mechanism that embraces market changes, such as cloud computing, machine learning and AI. ALTR’s technology is well positioned to be the modern data security platform of choice for global companies.
My greatest success, hands down, was raising my three daughters, who have all successfully completed college and are gainfully employed in the technology and fashion industries.
On the professional side, I’ve been blessed to have been involved in some very cool things in the technology industry: installing the first local area network in the city of Houston in the early 1980s; starting a private-label PC company; doing the first internet software IPO in Texas in 1995, running 26 earnings calls across 2 public software companies; launching the first transactional mobile storefronts for more than 40 global brands like UnderArmour, Home Depot, Godiva, and Brooks Brothers. Also, raising tons of venture capital, having had multiple great exits.
But all of this pales in comparison to the pride and joy I take in my girls.
Interestingly, I regard my worst failure in the context of family as well, however all the great stuff I’ve accomplished in the business world meant that I had to miss lots of time with my girls as they were growing up.
With technological advances in video conferencing, online collaboration and remote working, these challenges aren’t as persistent today as they used to be. But you can never get that time back and I would offer a significant portion of my net worth to go back in time to revisit missed parent-teacher conferences, athletic events, and simple time at home with the family.
In Another Life I’d Be…
A major league baseball player, about to retire and be a coach and teacher at the college level. I was captain of a nationally ranked junior college baseball team and opted for a career in technology and business. Given that I still have two years left of collegiate eligibility, and I’m in pretty decent shape, there’s still hope!