Friday, December 14, 2012


How ironic is it that the name of the Newtown, Connecticut Elementary School where the horrific shooting took place earlier today is Sandy Hook? What is it with "Sandy" and 2012 that association with that name is resulting in unbearable tragedy.

Today's event, however (unlike Hurricane Sandy), was completely avoidable. Gun control advocates start pressing for legislative action in the immediate aftermath of such events. Unfortunately, we have seen one too many this year. We had the Oikos University shooting (in Oakland, CA) on April 2nd - where seven people died. Then there was the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20th - where twelve people died. Immediately on the heels of the Aurora shooting was the sikh gurudwara shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin - where six people died. Today's shooting, where 27 people died was the worst of the year (and the second worst in a school - only behind the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 where 32 people died). President Obama called for "meaningful action" to prevent such tragedies.

Gun control has always been a controversial issue in American politics - ever since the second amendment to the constitution that protects the rights of the people to bear arms was passed in 1791 (over 200 years back!). With the easy access to automatic weapons now, this "Bill of Rights" has been abused far beyond imagination. While these larger scale events bring the gun control debate to the forefront, the appalling statistic is that there are over 10,000 gun homicides each year in the United States alone. Another data point is that ~ 70% of all homicides involve guns (the source of these statistics is a US DOJ paper on Homicide Trends in the US). I certainly hope that the killing of innocent, young children today will bring the Gun lobbyists to their senses. The NRA, Gun lobbyists, Gun control advocates and politicians should reach an agreement to put some meaningful laws in place to have proper checks and balances when firearms are sold. Most certainly the selling of automatic weapons to individuals should be banned.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Red Letter Day for the Internet we know and love

On the face of it the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), taking place next week in Dubai, seems innocuous. However, the decisions made by governments at WCIT could redefine the international regulatory environment for the Internet - impacting how people around the world are able to use the Internet.

Who remembers the days when it would cost us money every time we picked up the phone and placed a call. The reason for that in the analog world was, "Somebody has to pay to use this service". With VOIP and the digital world, we now pay a monthly "subscription" for unlimited usage of our phones. The complex world of the Internet and its interconnected global network is currently working on the same principle - of paying a subscription to the service provider. The ITU (International Telecommunications Union) is looking to change this and is considering taking us back to the (more regulated) analog world. WSJ's Gordon Crovitz has written an excellent article talking about the far reaching consequences of this conference. Some countries are looking at this "additional regulation" as "an opportunity for censorship".

Companies like Google are spearheading a campaign saying, "A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the internet should have a voice." You can add your voice and sign the petition to support a free and open internet here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Life of Pi

Director Ang Lee brings Yann Martel's Booker Prize winning book to the screen and does justice to this marvelous epic.

The book has been said to reverberate echoes from sources as disparate as Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. The trans-Pacific sea adventure of Pi Patel has been likened to the Kon-Tiki expedition.

Ang Lee uses stunning visuals to accentuate the journey of Pi Patel after he survives a ship wreck and is adrift in the ocean with a Bengal Tiger, humorously named Richard Parker. A majority of the movie focuses on the 227 days Pi and Richard spend on the lifeboat. While that may sound boring, the brilliance of Ang Lee and screen writer, David Magee, are seen in these sequences. It is for this reason that I would recommend watching the movie in 3D. Whether it is watching the majestic hump back whale or the frolicking dolphins or the spectacular flying fish, Ang Lee has used every technical wizardry at his disposal to bring these scenes to life. Unlike James Cameron's 2009 film, Avatar, where all the characters are make-believe, we can relate to the characters and players in Life of Pi. We suffer along side Pi Patel, brilliantly played by Suraj Sharma. We question his faith in religion and in God as he suffers one hazard after another through his arduous journey.

Irrfan Khan's performance as the older Pi Patel is brilliant. Whether playing the police constable in Slumdog Millionaire or the immigrant Ashoke Ganguli in Namesake, Irrfan Khan acts with conviction and portrays the character of the storyteller here.

If I have to point out a weakness in the film, it is the music. I wish Ang Lee had used A.R. Rahman instead of Michael Danna. Even though "Pi's Lullaby" is performed by the renowned Bombay Jayashri, I was somewhat underwhelmed by it.

This film is most definitely on its way to winning Oscars for Direction, Cinematography and Screenplay. It will certainly get nominated for Best Picture. There are many good movies contending for Best Picture this year, including Lincoln (surely Daniel Day Lewis will win Best Actor) and Peter Jackson's Hobbit.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why you should vote for Obama

Note: Obama's winning in California is a foregone conclusion. California's 55 Electoral College votes belong to the incumbent. So my vote for the Presidential election is immaterial. The "swing" states (aka "Battleground States") of Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Wisconsin will determine the winner in this Election on Tuesday, November 6th. This post is intended for the voters in these States.

When Barack Obama and Mitt Romney squared up for the first Presidential debate on October 3rd, Obama had prepared based on the messages he had heard Romney mention in his campaign and in the Republican Primary. However, a completely different, free-swinging, conflicting, I'll-do-anything-to-get-your-vote Mitt Romney showed up and thrashed Barack Obama in the debate. Mitt Romney won on oratorical points and a stumbling, bumbling Barack Obama was left dumbfounded. Late night talk show hosts had a field day in describing Romney:

  • Mitt Romney is not pro-life or pro-choice. He is multiple choice.
  • Obama's speech was, "You can be whatever you want to be". Mitt Romney's was, "I can be whatever you want me to be."
For Barack Obama, this was serious business. He went back to the drawing board and coined up phrases like "Romnesia". In the second debate, on October 16th, Obama (perhaps sympathetically) was assisted by the moderator, Candy Crowley. It was deemed that Obama won that debate by a narrow margin. He had, however, asserted himself strongly as the commander-in-chief. Romney's position on women's rights, abortion, contraception, health services and equality came out in the open when he bumbled his way through a question from a female voter.

More jokes appeared on the Republican party's position on rape (click on the picture to the right to see it in full size). It became clear that under a Romney Presidency (when two new Supreme Court justices may get appointed), the rights of women to control their own medical care would be limited. No I am not spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. I am helping the voters in the Battleground states read the tea leaves. Mitt Romney will run the Federal Government like a P&L center. Romney will not take into account human consequences. While that may be good for Corporate America, it not the tonic for the Federal Government. 

Obama may not not have accomplished everything we had hoped for. However, I believe that the nation is moving in the right direction. Besides, he is more likely to reach bi-partisan agreements in the second term since the Republicans have less of an incentive to "make sure that he failed". 

Here is my prediction for the 2012 elections (again, click on the picture to see it in full size): a narrow victory for Barack Obama:

Scintillating Concert

Living in the Bay Area, 8500+ miles from Chennai, the Mecca of Carnatic music, one never feels deprived from experiencing the rich cultural environments of a sabha. The mountain, as the saying goes, comes to Mohammed! If anything, there is an exuberance of activity in the Bay Area that one has to "pick and choose".

One sparkling example of Bay Area's Carnatic Cornucopia is Sanjay Subrahmanyan's SIFA concert on September 21st 2012 at Gunn High School in Palo Alto. Even though the performance was over six weeks back, it is still fresh in my memory. 

Sanjay was ably accompanied by S. Varadarajan on the violin and Neyveli Venkatesh on the mridangam. Thanks to getting caught in heavy traffic, I missed the varnam that Sanjay sang (if you attended the concert, please add information about the varnam as a comment). Sanjay's next song was vinAyakA ninnu vinA brOchutaku in hamsadhwanI. He followed this with a short alApanA in yadukula kAmbhOji and the krithi ninnu sEvinchina. Next, Sanjay started singing an elaborate alApanA in kalyaaNi. At one point he held the gAndhAra swaram (without pausing to take breath) for over a minute. When somebody in the audience started applauding, Sanjay shushed that person by holding his hand out to a stop sign. He continued to hold the swaram for another minute plus! The audience was left breathless!! He sang the Tyaagaraaja krithi sivE paahimambikE. Sanjay performed an elaborate neraval on the caraNam, carA caramayi karAravindamuna rAma cilukanu birAna.

Sanjay then sang the KOTeeshwara Aiyyar composition, kalangaadE manamE. He followed this with an exquisite alApanA in nATTai kurinji and sang the Gopalakrishna Bharati composition, vazhi maraittirukkude. Next he sang the fast paced Thyagaraja krithi anupama guNaambudi in aThaaNaa. He was, of course, setting up the audience for the Ragam-Thanam-Pallavi. The RTP was in AbhOgi. The lyrics for the pallavi were, not surprisingly, "sabhApatikku vEru deivam samAnamAgumA tillai. Sanjay sang the rAgamAlikA swaras in the Hindustani raags of jOg and darbAr. Much to the delight of the audience, Sanjay (perhaps sensing that a majority of the audience were Tamil speaking) sang the rest of the Gopalakrishna Bharati composition after Neyveli Venkatesh completed the thaniAvarthanam.

On the "home stretch" (aka tukkada section), Sanjay packed in three more songs - a Purandara Dasa krithi in bhAgEshri, followed by an excellent ragamAlikA viruttam and a composition in mAnD. The concert lasted for almost 3.5 hours and the audience were on its feet at the end acknowledging the brilliance of the artist.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

iOS 6

I installed iOS 6 on my iPad last night - to see if I should upgrade my iPhone to iOS 6 as well. I am glad I used my iPad as a "guinea pig". There is no way I am upgrading my iPhone to iOS 6.

There have been numerous posts on the failings of Apple's Maps. My own testing, while not as exhaustive, showed that the Apple Map app is far, far inferior.

Google's iOS 5 app is far crisper, provides a lot more detail and is accurate.

Why did Apple have to remove the YouTube app. Even with Apple's ongoing war with Google, removing the YouTube app is impacting Apple's users. What's next, when you type on Apple's Safari browser, you get redirected to Siri? Let us see you try doing that, Apple.

Friday, May 25, 2012

TiEcon 2012

TiEcon 2012, Day 1 (Part 1)

The morning of Friday, May 18th 2012 dawned brighter and earlier for those of us that were part of the organizing committee of TiEcon 2012. It was a phenomenal experience putting the various pieces of the conference together and seeing it grow from discussions around a table to a full fledged conference with attendees from around the world and a speaker list that would rival any other top notch conference. Given that this is an all volunteer effort, I was amazed to see the incredible amount of passion and energy flowing out of people and the attention to detail. Granted that I was doing this for the first time and some of these folks were "veterans" - having done this a few times. Nevertheless, pulling off a conference of this magnitude without a glitch requires utmost dedication and professionalism - which I saw first hand. Even though the hall was not full and there was a long line of latecomers at Registration waiting to get badged, Kiran Malhotra, Vish Mishra, Jai Rawat and Farhat Ali opened the conference on time (which I really appreciated - having been to several other conferences where the start would be delayed so that the hall can get filled). They sprinkled a few quotes in their opening addresses, including this one by Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success" - to describe the volunteer effort that helped put the conference together; and this one by a Roman Philosopher, "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult" - to describe the prevailing spirit of entrepreneurship in the room.

By the time Vishal Sikka was introduced, the keynote hall was not only full, but overflowing. Vishal Sikka's keynote was truly inspiring. The theme for his speech was, "Innovation without Disruption". He began by saying that he wanted to make five observations on the road ahead - his musings based on his experiences of 20+ years at Stanford, Start-ups and SAP.

1. What's Going On

Digital Artifacts are replacing physical artifacts. We are seeing this in music, movies and books. This content ties into our lives in more consumable ways. This results in being able to reach the masses more conveniently. In comparison, Thomas Paine's Commonsense Manifesto that was published 240+ years ago (thanks to the revolution of the Gutenberg Press), reached two-third the population, within a year, and helped seed the birth of America. The connectedness that is accomplished with the digital artifacts creates value and dissolves layers of inefficiency and indirection. He identified the need to understand and evolve complex systems - especially enterprise software - "which is quite primitive," he said.

2. My journey

He identified his journey with three institutions, hosts, paradigms - Stanford, Start ups and SAP. Stanford taught him to learn how to think in an unstructured environment - without boundaries and guidance. He applied this when he was asked by Hasso Plattner to help SAP intellectually renew itself. He treated SAP like a 40-year-old startup while instrumenting this turn-around and did so without  using "processes" or "governance frameworks" - as putting these in place would defeat the purpose of what he was asked to do.

3. Three principles

He used three principles to renew customer landscape without disruption: understanding timeless software constructed around content (application's content, UI, etc.), containers (the runtime) and change (ongoing evolution of the content and the container); systems thinking and evolving systems. These allowed SAP to renew the customer landscape without disruption. The example he provided was SAP HANA that helped simplify enterprise computing and dramatically improve performance thanks to advances in hardware, large amounts of main-memory and massively parallel processing of information. Their 100 TB, 4000 x86 core system is the largest in-memory DataBase system in the world (10x the size of IBM's Watson).

4. Purposeful Work

He urged the audience to take on purposeful projects. Don't waste your time doing things that don't add value. He gave examples of SAP's AppHaus - specifically the RecallGenie iOS app. Another example he gave was Project Charitra - with 10,000+ people here, it is a market for publishing needs and things that one is willing to do.

5. Work Hard. Follow your instinct, your passion and have fun

Vishal quoted the lyrics (by famed poet Gulzar) of a song from a Hindi movie, Kaminey, "Jo bhi soye hai khabron mein, unko jagana nahin" (this is in the song, "Dhan Te Dan". You can listen to the song here - the phrase is at ~ 3:45 mark in the song). The loosely translated meaning of this phrase is - "Don't chase fads. Do your own thing". There are lots of huge, purposeful problems that need to be solved:

  • Bring basic payments, banking to 100s of millions of people
  • Kidney dialysis is being done by ghastly means. Surely, in this modern age there are betters ways to do this
At the conclusion of Vishal's talk, Robert Guest, Business Editor at the Economist had a conversation with him. He asked Vishal about his experiences while growing up in India and a few other "soft ball" questions that he had prepared before hand - not necessarily from the talk that Vishal had just delivered.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Conferences are all about Networking

In my role as co-chair of the TiEConnect program in TiEcon 2012, I posted a guest column on GigaOm. Since there were restrictions on the number of words, etc. I could not include everything that I wanted to say. I am posting a longer version of the blog here. Hope to see many of you in TiEcon next week at Santa Clara Convention Center.

If you were at the Santa Clara Convention Center for TiEcon2011 on May 13th and 14th, 2011, you could not have missed a familiar figure in the registration area for almost the entire duration - talking incessantly to a panoply of people. When I asked Rohit Chandra about his motives, he said, "I registered for the conference to meet people, pitch my idea, find talent, hear other ideas, identify interesting start ups, pick up on the state of the art, etc. I may not get 30 minutes here for a full pitch with Investors. If I can pique their interest to garner a follow up meeting, it was worth it." When I asked him if it was working, he pointed me to a pile of business cards that he had collected.

While Rohit’s case may be an super-charged example of networking at a conference, it goes to show the immense value of meeting a diverse group of people at a single location. TiEcon provides for both structured and unstructured means to connect with leaders who would, otherwise, be unavailable or inaccessible. MentorConnect provides all TiEcon attendees
 provides an opportunity to meet with an industry stalwart in a scheduled session during lunch. Attendees looking to validate their idea, or want to know how to move their ventures forward can avail this program and meet with folks who have been there and done thatInvestorConnect provides access to VCs and Angels on a 1:1 basis to get feedback on your business plan. This program is available to anyone that registers for a TiE Expo booth. This is an unparalleled opportunity to present your business plan to get feedback and/or seek investments. Finally, TiEcon is also offering AttendeeConnect this year to allow for AdHoc interactions at the conference.

Unlike other conferences that cost in excess of $1500, TiEcon costs less than $500. We are able to keep TiEcon prices affordable since it is run entirely by volunteers (yours truly being one of them) in a not-for-profit organization. While the focus of this posting is Networking at TiEcon, there are other benefits to attending this year's conference on May 18th and 19th at Santa Clara Convention Center - outlined in this blog post by Jai Rawat, Convenor, TiEcon 2012. Register now to avoid missing out! You can use the discount code "TIEFOV" to get $75 off the conference price.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Classical Concert by Ananya Ashok

In November 2011, Hemmige and Subhapriya Srivatsan gave a lecture on, "The sense of proportion in Concerts" as part of the VivRti 2011 Fall Festival. They talked about the importance of:
  • appropriate rAgam selection
  • using songs from different languages
  • effective utilization of the percussionists
  • timing the various pieces appropriately
  • etc.
in order to keep the audience enthralled and engaged for 3+ hours in a concert. They Bay Area is indeed fortunate to have opportunities for such lectures, concerts and "music seasons" (a topic for a future blog post).

Ananya Ashok had this "sense of proportion" in a near perfect Carnatic vocal concert on Saturday, March 31st at the Divine Science Community Center in San Jose. Ananya was ably accompanied by Siva Ramamurthi (student of Delhi P. Sundararajan) on the violin, Vignesh Venkataraman on the mridangam and Ganesh Ramnarayan on the kanjira. Ananya began her concert with the shankarAbharaNam varNam, chalamElA. She followed this with Puliyur Doraisamy Iyengar's Sankrit kritI, sarasIruhAsana priyE in nAtAi. She did an efficient swara kalpanA at the conclusion of this song. Ananya then sang an elaborate AlApanA in madhyamAvatI followed by the Thyagaraja kritI deva srI tapastheertha - which is also a Lalgudi pancharatnam. Before embarking on her major piece, Ananya sang a melodious, short Annamacharya kritI in hamIr kalyANi, yEmana vachUnU.

Ananya chose bhaIravI for her major piece - an excellent choice given the wide scope for improvisation in this rAgam. She sang the popular Dixitar kritI bAlagOpAla and did a niraval on the anupallavI, "nIla nIrada sharIra dhIratara". This was followed by a 20-minute thaniAvathanam - executed very well by Vignesh and Ganesh. She followed this with a very fast paced Mysore Vasudevacharya composition paripAhi mAm shrI raghupatE. This perfectly led up to the RTP in shaNmukapriyA. The pallavI that she sang was "sAma gAna lOlE srI bAIE sangIta rasika priyE". In the kalpanaswAras she sang rAgamAlika swarAs in kAnaDA, hamsAnandi, naLinakAnti and kalyANavasantA.

Ananya concluded with a Tamil song thAyum Anavare in pilu and finally Lalgudi Jayaraman's mAnD tillAnA.

While a majority of the credit for this excellent concert must go to Ananya - for her sadhakam, kudos to her guru Anuradha Sridhar. Earlier in the day, I was at Badarikashram for a Ramanavami program by the students of Bay Area music teachers. Rohan and Madhuri, were singing along with Srilaxmi Kolavenu's other students (you can watch them sing rAmachandram bhAvayAmi in vasantaa and sing shObillu sapthaswara in jaganmOhini). Before Srilaxmi's students went on stage, there was a young artiste (probably not more than 18 years old) giving a solo performance (along with a young violin and mridangam player). I don't know their names, but she sang a mesmerizing AlApanA in pUrvi kalyANi and the Dixitar kritI gnanamOsagarAdha. She followed this with a melodious jAnaki ramaNa in kApi. It was later that I learned that the young artiste is a student of Anuradha Sridhar. Of course, singing with such control and have such an imposing stage presence at such a young age takes a lot of sadhakam. It also takes a dedicated guru. It is not surprising that Anuradha Sridhar has won numerous awards and accolades - including "Best Teacher in North America" at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Symantec CEO, Enrique Salem's Keynote at RSA 2012

I watched Symantec CEO, Enrique Salem's excellent keynote at the RSA Conference on Tuesday, February 28th. Unlike other boring "product pitch" keynotes, Enrique's keynote was a refreshing perspective on the impact of "The Digital Native" entering the workforce.

His talk can be divided into three parts:

1. Definition. What/Who is this talk about

He talked about the Digital Native Generation (born after 1990 and already starting to enter the workforce). We need to understand how they work, think and interact. These folks are always networked, always sharing, always multitasking. They reach across their networks to seek information and solve problems. Hence, they find faster, more effective ways to do business. "Connected" is the air they breathe. They are effectively redefining multi-tasking.

2. What is the problem - given this new phenomenon in the workplace

The line between "business" and "personal" is blurring.

  1. Enterprises need to manage online identities when employees have dozens of them.
  2. Enterprises need to keep track of substantially higher volume of online activity
  3. Employees' expanded use to public/private clouds implies that we won't know where our data resides
  4. Enterprises need to protect information - when the workforce shares freely

This freight train is hurtling towards us. All the ways we conduct business will change. In a sense, we need a "reverse firewall" - that will allow enterprises to keep information in, block when necessary by watching and monitoring outbound flow of data.

3. How do we solve this problem? What are the parameters for the solution?

The easiest thing for an enterprise to do is to "lock down". This will not work because the employees are using these resources to improve productivity.

Any solution will have three components:

  1. Authentication
  2. Authorization
  3. Audit

Need a "Flexible Identity Management" which is established through:

  • Credentials
  • Geo
  • Policy

The system to solve the problem needs to be content aware, intuitive and policy based. Any system needs to work ubiquitously. It has to keep track of who is accessing what, at what level and with what device. All access needs to be recorded - thus monitoring the interaction between people and information. This would create a "Cloud Audit Trail".

Another parameter to consider is that the Administrator's burden should be reduced. They cannot depend on an end user tagging the information. The solution needs to be transparent, but always active - so you always know what information you have and where it is going.

Implementing this solution will not be easy. We need a new, secure ecosystem that will deliver on:

  1. Advanced, persistent protection
  2. Reliable Early Warning System. The state-of-the-art protection will recognize threats without impacting users
  3. Fast remediation
  4. Effective response plan

Monday, February 6, 2012

Panel on Cloud Security

I had blogged earlier about the TiE Panel on Software Defined Networks. I did not realize that I had not posted a blog after that! I have been really busy :( More on that in a future blog post.

TiE Silicon Valley organized a panel on Cloud Security on Thursday, Feb 2nd. 2012. This panel was also very well attended - indicating the popularity of the topic and the opportunities presented to entrepreneurs and large companies thereof.

The basic premise of the problem / challenge / opportunity is that there are well documented data breaches that have taken place. In fact, the OnLine Trust Alliance (OTA) has dubbed 2011 as the "Year of the breach". The 550+ breaches in 2011 cost U.S Businesses alone $6.5b+. The FBI has said that cyber attacks are the top terror threat to the country.

Tim Mather, of KPMG and author of a book on Cloud Security and Privacy led with a provocative commentary on the state of the industry. The slides he used can be seen here. There are typically five kinds of security breaches that take place:
  1. Cryptographic key management
  2. Data Loss Prevention
  3. Data sanitization
  4. Federated Identity management
  5. Security Incident management
In terms of products that are available that address some of the Cloud Security issues, he highlighted Virtual private SaaS (which was introduced by Navajo Systems - recently acquired by The provocative part of his talk came when he talked about the upcoming "food fights" in the industry:
  1. Telcos are becoming Cloud Service Providers
  2. The initiative led by Viviane Reding to regulate Cloud Computing and update the Data Protection Directive
  3. The ITU-T meeting in Dubai in November - attempting to bring ICAAN under UN Control (and regulate cloud computing)
  4. Upcoming CALEA II (Communication Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) - which attempts to regulate any messaging over the internet. This will make SOPA and PIPA small in comparison!
The next speaker was Becky Swain. Her slides can be seen here. Given her background in CSA, she spoke about Cloud Security from a regulatory and emerging standards POV. One needs to constantly balance compliance and risk management in the cloud.

Caleb Sima spoke next. His thesis was the, somewhat simplistic, viewpoint that the Cloud is more secure. The surface area for attack is wider if you manage everything on your own. Going to the cloud could potentially mean a "loss of control". While this may be viewed as a vulnerability by some, others (himself included) do not see it that way. However, according to a Ponnemon Institute Survey, ~ 1 in 3 people have not adopted Cloud services because of concerns over security. This IW article states that security concerns is one of the biggest barriers to Cloud adoption among Federal IT professionals.

Ratinder Ahuja of McAfee was the next speaker. His slides can be viewed here. Naturally, his talk focused on how the McAfee Cloud Security Platform helps businesses leverage cloud computing services and solutions securely. The future, Dr. Ahuja said, holds tremendous opportunity in delivering Security as a Service.

Ryan Floyd of Storm Ventures was the final speaker. He said that he agreed with Caleb Sima in that the Cloud is more secure.

When Ryan stated that PCI compliance was the first standard that was adopted by the industry to improve the security of payment transactions, Tim Mather tore that to shreds. "PCI is worthless," Tim said. "It is merely the payment industry shifting the burden to the merchants." They tried implementing SET (Secure Electronic Transactions) first - and that was abandoned due to the onerous cost of implementing it.

Tim went on to say that there is a technology solution proposed by IBM's Craig Gentry - using fully Homomorphic Encryption. It has been debated that this is not ready for prime time. In fact, Microsoft published a paper with a contrarian view point proposing "somewhat homomorphic encryption".

At the end of the panel discussion, it was apparent that there is a lot more that was left unsaid. I expect that we will soon see products coming out in this space that will disrupt how we perceive and interface with security.