Dave Trader

Dave Trader

Field Chief Information Security Officer

Dave Trader brings military skills, discipline and awareness to the global war against cyber attackers...

Though he doesn't want to make too much of it after decades in the civilian world, Dave Trader, CISO of Presidio, admits that his military background has been extremely helpful. “My job at the start of my career in the United States Marine Corps was to wrap encryption around communications. We would roll out encrypted messages daily from the Pentagon right down to the Marine Regiment. If an enemy agent was able to hear or interpret those communications, it would be a life or death situation.”

He brought into the corporate world one key mantra, never ask anyone to do anything you are not willing to do yourself; always lead by example. “I have never accomplished anything alone,” he says. “That philosophy has really resonated in the corporate world. I have always had the ability to translate technology to the board: in the Marines we call it 'kiss – keep it simple stupid' – using as few words as possible so they can get to the concept rapidly. I understand why they need this information: I can talk to the business outcomes they are hoping to achieve. I have been able to do that successfully throughout my career and I don't think that need will ever go away.”

At home his five children keep him happy and busy. “I don't have a lot of free time and I like to spend it with them: we do everything together. As a Marine I learned that we can do so much more with a collective mindset, making collective decisions, so at home as at work we all agree on our goals and how to get there. Early in my career I may have been more of a trailblazer, persuading people that they should do things my way, but I now listen to others and understand what they want to do.”

And listen he does, avidly learning from his reading and from mentors like Daniel Shoemaker, a professor in cybersecurity at the University of Detroit Mercy, and Dan Lohrmann, former CISO at the State of Michigan, with whom Trader has sat on corporate boards and speaks regularly. “I like to bounce ideas off these great mentors, and I make good use of LinkedIn and white papers to keep abreast of the latest developments. I do read others, but my field moves so fast that by the time they are published they may be out of date.”

Always on the lookout for content he can share, Dave is currently intrigued by what a post-quantum computing encryption world could look like. “That may seem advanced, but things are happening in the race to quantum computing between the west and China and Russia for example. This is really going to change how we encrypt our data today. The AES encryption standard is in jeopardy, so what are we going to do if that happens? I think we'll move to a decentralized model and distributed randomization. In my spare time I am typically reading on those topics; for example, there's a team at MIT working on distributed randomization and I am following them closely.”

Time, perhaps, for some “KISS” style explanation. Dave does relax, though, playing golf when he can and keenly following his very own Detroit Tigers while trying to share his enthusiasm with his kids. “We do things together. I can't wait until COVID allows us to go to the stadium again to watch baseball as a family. And I can't wait to travel again, but for now we are making the best of it like everyone else.” 

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