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May 28, 2024

TechFinitive: Cybersecurity Threat Series — Dr. Ellison Anne Williams, CEO of Enveil

“Stopping every breach is virtually impossible; ensuring protection for your sensitive data is not”
Could you please introduce yourself to our audience and share how you ended up working in cybersecurity?

I’m Ellison Anne Williams, founder and CEO of Enveil, a Privacy Enhancing Technology startup focused on protecting data while it’s being used or processed. Starting a company has been my dream since I was young, although I never imagined that company would fall within the technology sector.

My desire to contribute to interesting, substantive work led me to pursue a PhD and MS in Mathematics and an MS in Computer Science. I started my career at the National Security Agency and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where I spent a decade leading avant-garde efforts in large-scale analytics, information security, computer network exploitation and network modeling. It was during my time there that I first recognized the disruptive impact Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), including homomorphic encryption, would have on the broader market.

Since then, my work has centered around delivering PETs-powered secure data search, analysis and AI capabilities that are critically relevant for businesses in today’s data-driven environment.

What are some prevention strategies you believe every business should adopt?

The most important prevention strategies revolve around protecting an organisation’s most important asset: its data. A data-centric approach to security aims to protect data at a granular level. Instead of building stronger perimeters or more secure infrastructure, data-centric security is designed to protect data at all times — at rest, in transit and in use. Since this approach assumes that systems and networks can and may be compromised, organisations work to ensure that data assets are identified, categorised and protected at levels appropriate for their sensitivity and/or value.

Stopping every breach is virtually impossible; ensuring protection for your sensitive data is not.

What role do you think governments play when it comes to cybersecurity?

Businesses want to implement emerging tools and technologies that can help address challenges and enable growth, and there is a clear need to accelerate broader standardisation efforts to meet this market need. When possible, government leaders could help expedite the development of such guidelines for high-growth, high-impact capabilities such as AI.

Such efforts, supported by international standards bodies, would directly drive responsible usage and adoption. When emerging technologies are transformational, organisations are going to move forward with their use.

However, it would be beneficial if they were guided to do so in a way that meets minimum security thresholds.

Read full interview here.

1 | TechFinitive: Cybersecurity Threat Series — Dr. Ellison Anne Williams, CEO of Enveil | Enveil | Encrypted Veil
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Enveil is a pioneering Privacy Enhancing Technology company protecting Data in Use. Enveil’s business-enabling and privacy-preserving capabilities change the paradigm of how and where organizations can leverage data to unlock value. Defining the transformative category of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), Enveil’s award-winning ZeroReveal® solutions for secure data usage, collaboration, monetization, and Secure AI protect the content of the search, analytic, or model while it's being used or processed. Customers can extract insights, cross-match, search, analyze, and leverage AI across boundaries and silos at scale without exposing their interests and intent or compromising the security or ownership of the underlying data. A World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and Gartner Cool Vendor, Enveil is deployed and operational today, revolutionizing data usage in the global marketplace.
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