At the Forefront of Security: The Latest Q&A with R&D Vice President, Rob Juncker

From young hacker to Ivanti R & D vice president, no one serves up the IT metaphors and insights quite like Rob Juncker. Read his latest “VP – R&D – Q&A”.

As a product expert with Ivanti, your travels frequently take you to conferences and expos, meetings / presentations with customers and prospects, product advisory councils, meetings with industry analysts and the media, etc. What did you experience recently and / or what’s on the horizon for you over the next six to eight weeks?   

It’s a busy season for me, but my favorite moment to share was from Interop ITX a few weeks back.  I was on a panel session where we were discussing cyber-security and an audience member asked, “How do you deal with the shortfall of security professionals?”  It was a great question and my answer surprised and inspired me.

I asked all the people in the audience who were security professionals to stand up.  Then I told all of the other people in the room to look at these individuals and speak to them afterwards if they wanted to know more about security.  It’s incumbent upon us as security experts to encourage those who are interested and who want to learn more to take up arms.  The laws of governing dynamics simply state that if there are more people trying to break down a wall than defend it, the wall eventually falls.  History has taught this to be true as well.  We need our experts to mentor, inspire, and grow a new generation of security professionals.  Please contact me or DM me on twitter at @rjuncker if you want to help out. We’re excited about some of the programs this response has driven.

Finally, in the next few weeks I’ve got a few stops at security conferences before we spin up for the biggies of VMworld and Microsoft Ignite in the fall.  Looking forward to a few weeks off the conference trail though!

Narrowing down to just one of the items in your answer to question #1, what was / will be your purpose for being there and what did / do you hope to accomplish? 

I’m excited to be at the forefront of security and continuing to speak at conferences where we inspire a new generation of people into the security workforce.  Here at Ivanti, we wish that malicious behavior in our online world could be controlled via a light switch on a wall that we could simply flip and turn off the darkness. I promise, if I could, I’d flip it.  It’s just not that simple. We’re going to have to be nimble and well staffed, well trained, and well prepared to handle the future risks that we’ll all face.

Which way are the industry winds blowing? 

I was playing lacrosse with my son on a day that had high, gusty winds and the analogy here couldn’t have come more quickly to me. It’s as gusty as a tornado out there.

In my last Q&A blog, I talked about a layered approach to security and that answer is still right.  The only challenge is there is so much change in security right now. You have to worry about sudden gusts of wind that affect the game.  In the last two months, we’ve seen WannaCry that pushed an emphasis on Patching and Application Control, we’ve seen new exploits around EternalBlue that reinforce a strong governance policy for compliance, and we’ve seen some crazy exploits of large organizations that reemphasize that no one is really safe.

If your winds are calm… you’re likely in the eye of the tornado.  Be worried.

What are your three key takeaways / insights / epiphanies surrounding the future of Ivanti in the market space you’re primarily involved with? Where do you foresee both the challenges and opportunities for the company?

First, I wish patching was more sexy than it is, but it’s like taking out the garbage… we all hate doing it, but if you neglect it, your garbage builds, it stinks, and it’s hard to catch up. WannaCry taught us this since my last Q&A.

Second, I was at a connected law-enforcement show and the problems we face today are small.  By the Q&A, we’ll be addressing IoT a lot more. We’re going to have inconceivable growth of connected devices.  I’m serious. It’s going to blow up that much.

Third, basic security principles are like a good foundation for your data, applications, and computing house you build on top of it.  At Ivanti, we focus on those bedrock security principles, and it’s great to see us being called in constantly to ensure and secure the foundations of the houses of so many of our customers.

What was your professional journey like to get you where you are today? What were some of the unexpected hurdles and some of the unexpected benefits? 

Well, I almost went to prison.  How’s that for a start?  ☺

I grew up a hacker and not for good.  My parents always questioned why we never had phone bills when my modem was connected for nearly countless hours of communications.  This is a key part of my industry expertise as I collaborated with hackers around the world.  It taught me how they think, what they loved to do, and drink (Mountain Dew).  More to come on this next time.

What are your Top 5 favorite films ever? 

My top 5 films:

Number 5:  Sneakers.  This classic film reminded me so much of my youth.  I identify with Carl Arbogast’s character (played by River Phoenix). That was me.

Number 4:  Matrix.  Again, a movie that I identify with because of the topic and the thought that the world we exist in is all 1’s and 0’s.  While there’s a lot happening on the screen, if you are in the zone, all you see is a man in a black suit, woman in a red dress, etc.

Number 3:  Babe.  It had a talking pig… if that’s not funny, I don’t know what is.  Something tells me this is the comment that is going to light up Twitter after it’s posted.

Number 2:  Inside Out.  Okay, yes, an animated film made #2 for me after watching it with my kids, but with good reason.  I think it was Arthur Conan Doyle who made the comment, “We have to push out old information and make room for the new.”  This movie embodied losing the emotional attachment to things for the greater good—a topic we’ll explore next month.  If you feel stuck, watch this one.

Number 1:  Apollo 13.  When someone hands you something where you should be destined to fail, and you get clever and win the day… watch this movie.  So much of life is about attacking problems creatively and this movie embodies the “you can always win” spirit we should all have.  I don’t care if I get handed the worst situation in the world. I believe I can turn it around and more times than not, I love it when I find the way.

ransomware attack