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The importance of aligning messaging system with corporate goals and policies

Thru is a global leader in delivering critical messaging solutions to reduce risk, optimize IT assets and accelerate compliance. Thru uses a best practices approach called Critical Message Governance (CMG) to help you align your messaging infrastructure to your corporate and IT governance policies. Now you can gain real-time visibility into where your most critical messages are and maintain centralized control of how your messages flow across and beyond your network. The Thru technology platform delivers greater ease-of-use and tighter integration over email encryption products, FTP servers and content filtering tools to simplify the delivery and management of mission-critical information. As a result, Thru solutions help you successfully protect intellectual property, manage sensitive records, strengthen internal controls and defend against lawsuits.

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Name: Lee Harrison
Position: CEO
Popularly known as: Boss
Previous jobs: Prior to Thru, Lee was CEO and founder of I/O Partners,
Education: Associates Degree Electronics Engineering Holmes College 1979, also Attended Mississippi State University 1975 RTF

Presentations: Recent presentations includeDemystify and Simplify Information Management for Contracting Effectiveness at 3rd Annual Commercial Contracts and Chargeback 3rd Annual Commercial Contracts and Chargeback Management Conference in Philadelphia, the VHA Southwest CIO conference on security and the HIMSS show in New Orleasns
Family: wife Patty and 2 children
Residence: Irving, TX
Other interests: golf, skiing (snow and water), wake boarding, wine food and song ( I play the drums)
Favorite Charity: The North Hills School

In the following interview, Lee Harrison, CEO of Thru Inc. discusses with Info Security PG, Editor-in-chief of Info Security Products Guide, why it is so important today to align the messaging system of an organization with corporate goals and policies.

Info Security PG, Chief Editor - Info Security Products Guide: Why is it important today to align the messaging system of an organization with corporate goals and policies? What are the security implications for an organization not having a control over their messaging infrastructure?

Lee Harrison, CEO - Thru, Inc.:
Messaging-based transactions are now critical to the everyday business workflow and have changed how organizations depend on their messaging tools. Messaging drives not just collaboration and interaction, but is critical in information collection enabling sound business decision-making. In this type of environment, it only makes sense for corporate managers and IT executives to realize they need to align secure messaging to their corporate goals and policies. Think about it: information is power and secure information is a trusted power.

A quick glance at news headlines and financial statements shows what happens when firms do nothing to prevent proprietary information from getting into the wrong hands. Waiting for an incident to occur or ignoring the warning signs can have catastrophic results a very negative impact on a company’s share price. Pervasive messaging tools such as email, FTP and instant messaging (IM) have become the most common way organizations collaborate, communicate and do business. Unfortunately, when it comes to handling intellectual property (IP), since these tools were not designed with security in mind, they present significant risks to information at rest and in flux. For instance, medical patent-related, trademarked or copyrighted material can be distributed from desktops, servers and mobile devices without a context-sensitive audit trail. Trade secrets, designs, source code, artwork, literature or contracts can be scattered across email servers and at rest on networks of external trade and business partners.

If the decision is made to place restrictions on electronic transmittal via messaging of sensitive information, the difficulty of transmitting very large documents and databases may force employees to use insecure, inefficient delivery methods such as CDs and DVDs. The lack of access control, audit trails and policy enforcement can leave IP unprotected and vulnerable to fraud and piracy. In this environment, the actions of careless or disgruntled employees can result in millions – or even billions – of dollars in lost revenues and competitive advantage.

Info Security PG: How has Thru, Inc. kept up with innovation? What is the secret behind the products and services provided by your company? How is your company focusing on 2008 growth?

Lee Harrison:
Innovation comes from people and Thru strives to employ only the best. Thus, as an innovation-centric company, our goal is to first meet the needs of our customers and second anticipate  their future needs. We have established ourselves as a best of breed lifelong partner to our customers by helping them solve challenges they face every day such as email compliance and information leak prevention New product releases  that directly impact our customers feature such breakthroughs as Thru Audit Manager and Thru Desktop for Lotus Notes, as well as other products and enhancements to be introduced soon. These are just the latest results of Thru’s commitment to innovation.  

Thru uniquely combines secure messaging, file transfer and information management to provide complete intellectual property protection and information management solutions. We often find that businesses using Thru are focused on implementing best practices or proven methods for corporate governance. This  helps them defend against lawsuits, strengthen internal information controls and enable efficient and cost effective e-discovery.

Thru has some very exciting product announcements coming in early 2008.  These revolutionary additions to our  industry-leading, all-in-one technology platform will expand Thru’s penetration in the U.S. and globally. With that in mind, we are expanding our sales and support organizations to handle anticipated new business.  Marketing will be rolling out extensive campaigns to generate awareness in Q1 and Q2 of 2008.

Info Security PG: Will the security vendors always be playing a catch-up game with hackers and attackers? How do you see the security products evolving 2-3 years from today?

Lee Harrison:
The short answer is yes.  Whatever we invent to prevent security breaches, these guys will spend all their time hacking away at it.  Seriously, inbound security threats will never go away and I estimate that they will only continue to increase as more people gain access to the Net. Let me go on the record for agreeing with Vinten Cerf that we must not shut down access to the Internet because of a few thousand bad apples.  Look, the email and instant messaging genie is out of the bottle and nothing can put it back.  What we need to do is work diligently to create business tools that help employees get their work done safely and securely without disrupting how they do it. 

I believe you will see more use of workflows that don’t have any visibility on the Internet.  What I mean is the extended enterprise will connect over say secure networks and forgo the danger of public side Internet usage with frequent trading partners.  This will become critical when you consider that companies are moving their most valuable information the same way two colleagues invite each other for lunch.  The risks are just too great.

In the foreseeable future, information security should become complexly integrated in all user workflows and transparent to the user.  By cleaning up confusing and labor intensive workflows, vendors such as Thru will bring real value and, after all, isn’t that the bottom line?

How effectively security vendors can prevent and reconcile security incidents depends on looking at the challenge differently. Quickly, the challenge is moving from just a focus on protecting the network perimeter or encrypting messages, to a new focus on allocating IT infrastructure and resources to enable high security, reliability, and efficiency in critical messaging. It’s about business value and not about technology. When security vendors can produce a measurable return on investment and show they can protect and manage critical information based on its value, not just because firms are forced to. In 2-3 years, I think we’ll see information become more intelligent and like self-healing hardware, you’ll see self-defending data.

All About Thru, Inc.
Head Office Address: 909 Lake Carolyn Pkwy, Ste 750, Irving, TX 75039
Founded in: 2002
CEO: Lee Harrison
Public or Private: Private
Investors: A Global Private Equity Fund
Number of Employees: 11-50
Products: Thru products are built on the all-in-one Thru technology platform. Thru products secure your messaging environment, manage file transfers and provide efficient management of information. Product options range from a 100% hosted service to a seamlessly integrated, enterprise deployment.

Thru Enterprise Edition
Thru Enterprise Edition is used by large organizations for secure delivery, access control and information management across multiple locations.

Thru Desktop Edition

Thru Desktop Edition is the best choice for organizations that need to make it easy for employees to share information internally and externally without added training time and expenses.

Thru Web Edition

Thru Web Edition is ideal for workgroups that require secure messaging and file transfer with external partners.

Thru Office Live Edition
Thru Office Live Edition helps small business users share secure messages and confidential information easily and affordably.

Company’s Goals: To establish Critical Message Governance as a best practices approach that delivers measurable value and real results for businesses worldwide.