Creating a safe work environment is top of mind for Secure Computing country manager, Eric Krieger. He spoke to ARN about his transition from teaching to the fast-moving world of web security.
What was your first job?
Teaching French and English at a high school. I did that for quite a few years but decided I really wanted to be in control of my own destiny. As much as I loved teaching, and it was great fun, it was time to get serious so I got a job in publishing. My first role was to set out and find channels for the emerging PC technology. That was in the 1980s for a company called McGraw-Hill. From there I was recruited to NetComm in North Ryde, NSW.
What made you switch from teaching to IT?
I found IT fascinating and when I got into security I thought it was going to be something that everyone was going to need, like insurance.
How did you progress to where you are today?
My last job in the PC industry was with NEC and I could see the writing on the wall with hardware. I decided I wanted a change and reinvented myself by going back to university and doing a post-graduate diploma in security. That was over 10 years ago and security, as a subset of the IT industry, started to become really serious. I loved every minute of it and have been with Secure Computing for almost seven years.
What do you like about your current job?
The fact that my line managers have faith in me and have allowed me to grow the business to reflect the growing interest in security in general and Secure Computing solutions in particular. I like the independence they have given me and the faith they have shown in my ability.
What is the biggest achievement of your career?
Seeing the growth of Secure Computing in this region has been a tremendous highlight and the faith that customers have had in solutions we provide has been inspiring.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
People who work on creating fear, uncertainty and doubt in other people. It is wrong and creates a lot of uncertainty, among customers in particular. I would rather they be honest about things and say "you need security and you have choices".
What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?
I think the way that we address the growth of the Web. We have reached a point now where it is in its second phase - Web 2.0 - and with that we have seen the growth of malware. I think the next phase will be how we address security features in all major forms of hardware - iPods, mobile phones, and so forth. I also see the growth of remote computing. We had people sitting in traffic jams for years but they are realising the possibilities of working remotely. To do so, you have got to give them safe infrastructure.
What is the main focus for Secure Computing this year?
Creating a safe environment for people to work whether they do so at home, in the office, via an internet cafe or on a yacht. We want to make sure that everyone can work securely.
What do you do when you are not at work?
I swim, ride my bike, go walking, play tennis and, when my knees allow, go skiing.
Have played any competitive sport?
I compete in ocean swims when I can. My biggest achievement was a 2km swim from North to South Curl Curl and back. Just being able to finish was wonderful.
Do you like gadgets?
I have most electronic gadgets that are flying around the place. I find IT fascinating and I think a terrific way to keep abreast of all developments is to look at what is new in IT and gadgets. My most recent purchase was an iPod.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
A doctor and a carpenter. Looking at orthopaedic surgeons, I think the two are very closely related. I was also very keen on being a foreign correspondent, but I settled for teaching instead.
What is your biggest ambition?
Professionally, to see Secure Computing established as the leading security brand. I am really keen to do that. My personal goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that will allow me to achieve those professional goals.