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A race to information

Zafar Anjum | April 27, 2012
In this interview, Sam Curry, the chief technologist at RSA, talks about how enterprises can secure themselves against attacks.

Sam Curry

It is a cold day in early March when I meet Sam Curry at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco. We are both here for the RSA Security Conference 2012.

Sam Curry is chief technology officer, identity and data protection business unit and chief technologist for RSA, the security division of EMC.

Sam is based out of Bedford, Massachusetts, 15 minutes north of Boston, he tells me.

Along with me, there is an Italian tech blogger too to interview Sam. We are sitting around a round table in a room meant for doing interviews.

When I whip out my iPhone to record the interview, Sam notices it and quips, "Phones are the best way to bug a room these days." Everyone laughs at his joke.

Sam talks about the RSA security show and how he has been attending it for the last few years. He says it is an industry show, second to none.

Then he talks about his session which is scheduled for the next day, which is on forensics and virtualisation-how do you do forensics in a virtualised environment. The Italian journalist shows enthusiasm for the session. I thought it might be a bit too technical for me.

I tell Sam I had been reading some of his blog posts on the RSA website and how I found them to be informative and engaging. "I haven't been blogging that much recently," he says, almost getting red in the face. Then he chuckles.

I ask him what he does in his role as a chief technologist at RSA. "I have two functions," he says. "One is the chief technologist across the company. You can think of it as a senior engineer and a senior scientist role. I am responsible for really making sure that we do things correctly. I am also the CTO of one of our two business units. I am CTO for identity and data protection, which means that I am responsible for what and how we build things and for pushing the envelope and try to improve our ability to be market leading with the way we do things and how we approach a problem."

"I am also responsible for some long term R&D and strategy."

What are some of the challenges that you face in your role, I ask him.

"I think the challenges that I face are I have to push the company to test itself and I have to figure out...I think many ways define the obstacles we overcome," he says. "Part of my job is to figure out where to aim and how to get over some of those obstacles. So, if I don't challenge the company enough, then we won't overachieve, we won't really accomplish anything. I am posing questions like should we architect our products for infrastructure as a service first. Should we be doing everything as a service first? The first platform we should launch should be a virtualised platform. What token should we use? Should we, for instance, use Ruby? Should we use Spring? How can we get different quality in the system by changing the way we operate? How can we get better quality and faster time to market for functional and non-functional requirements?"


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