Ideas That Become Obvious In Hindsight

Interview: Authentic8 Co-founder and CEO Scott Petry on Leo Laporte's TWiT.tv

Were you excited when Apple presented the Newton mobile device to the world, a glimpse into a future starring the iPhone? Or perhaps relieved when the email Spam Wars were won by Postini, a Silicon Valley startup later bought by Google, where it became the core of Gmail?

The ideas and concepts that drove both breakthrough innovations initially faced ridicule (in the case of Newton) and skepticism. What they have in common is that today, they are obvious in hindsight.

What they also share is a name: Scott Petry. His career took him from Apple's Newton team to founding and later selling Postini - which solved the email spam problem - to Google and from there to his current role as Co-founder and CEO of Authentic8, which pioneered remote browser isolation in the cloud.

Do we have a theme here? Leo Laporte thinks so. The award-winning tech journalist and founder and host of the TWiT.tv podcasting network recently invited Scott on his interview show Triangulation to ask him about his career as a serial entrepreneur and about Authentic8's Silo Cloud Browser.

"Once you hear the idea," said Leo, "you go: Oh, that's obvious. Why didn't we think of that before?"

TWiT.tv, home of the #1 ranked technology podcast This Week in Tech and also of Security Now, proved a fitting stage for the animated exchange between the two Silicon Valley veterans.

Watch or listen to Leo Laporte's interview with Scott Petry on Triangulation here:

In their conversation, Leo and Scott dive deep and cover a broad range of topics, including (but not limited to) spam filtering, VPN, virtualization, browser security, privacy and attribution, web isolation, identity and access management, centrally managed policies, and GDPR compliance.

Together, they put the thinking and technology behind Silo into (historical) perspective during their conversation. Scott draws a straight line from Postini (which enabled IT to "outsource" the spam problem from users' email inboxes to what we know as the cloud today) to Silo Cloud Browser.

The (in hindsight) similarly obvious "outsourcing" idea behind Silo wasn't just a lucky happenstance. Authentic8, Scott points out, was launched with core members of the Postini team. Authentic8's cloud browser enables IT to "outsource" all browsing activities to the cloud.

This approach effectively eliminates the inherent security, privacy, and attribution risks associated with traditional browsers that expose the local device to web-borne threats. Scott: "We wanted an idea that was obvious in hindsight, and this is really obvious."

With Silo, all web content is processed remotely, in an isolated, disposable browser instance in the cloud. No code from the web can touch the endpoint.

Users interact with a stream of benign visual display information (pixels, essentially) instead, while enjoying the native web experience they expect from regular browsers.

With integrated policy controls and credential management, Silo enables IT to centrally secure, manage and audit the web activities of selected "at-risk" team members, entire units, or the whole enterprise.

Users can leverage the power of the web safely and anonymously (only Authentic8's IP address is presented to visited websites or apps) at work, from home, or via a public WiFi hotspot, without exposing their organization to any web-borne risks.

"Regardless of device, regardless of network, regardless of location," Scott explains, "the browser becomes the centrally managed asset - totally secure, totally anonymous, [plus] policy control."

Btw, that live demo of Silo Cloud Browser that Scott mentions and Leo brings up on his screen (at TC 41:57) during the interview? You can try it yourself - no signup required:

Try Silo here.

P.S.: Don't have time for the whole interview? Listen to this clip (4:11 min) of Scott explaining how Silo Cloud Browser works: