Feds Tap Silicon Valley Entrepreneur For Security

Rod Beckstrom goes from selling Wiki software to protecting the .gov hierarchy.

The Bush Administration has picked Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rod Beckstrom to be the head of the new National Cyber Security Center, a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

President Bush created the National Cyber Security Center in January by executive order. Beckstrom will report directly to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. There are other security agencies within the federal government, such as CERT and the National Cyber Security Division, but those are outward facing entities.

Beckstrom's task is to secure the government systems. In his role as director, Beckstrom will lead efforts to secure vulnerable government and private computer networks, according to a DHS spokesperson.

Primarily he will be coordinating other government efforts to secure the entire .gov domain, but he will also liaison with private industry to aid them in securing their own networks.

"This is one part of the federal government's effort to secure our federal cyber networks. It will act in concert with other existing agencies and departments within agencies," a government spokesperson told InternetNews.com.

Beckström, 47, started his first software company, CATS Software, at age 24. CATS was a derivatives and risk management software company which went public before being acquired by Misys.

He later created Mergent Systems, a distributed product information management system that was acquired by Commerce One in 2000 for $200 million. His latest project was TWiki.net, an open source Wiki development firm.

He's also known for the book he co-authored called "The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations," where he argued that modern firms should not use the hierarchical management structure but instead rely on employees to drive change.

TAGS: open source,security,software,wiki

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