by Cio Executive Council

Cybersecurity Innovation Works From the Inside Out At SAIC (K4)

Dec 01, 20113 mins
Data Center

Under its CIO’s leadership, SAIC’s cybersecurity firms innovate internally while honing external solutions

The company: SAIC

From the Inside Out

Under the CIO’s watch, SAIC’s cybersecurity firms innovate internally while honing external solutions

Walt Havenstein SAIC is an $11 billion technical services business dedicated to solving very tough problems in national security, energy and healthcare, with a broad capability in science and technologies, and a special emphasis on cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is both a differentiator for us in the marketplace and an important support for our own enterprise.

With that in mind, we’ve made acquisitions over the past few years of small entrepreneurial cybersecurity companies, whose capabilities, first and foremost, are applicable to us internally. Only later are their technologies are sold in our various vertical markets. This portfolio of companies, and their internal and external capabilities, has been aggregated under the leadership of Charles, our CIO, within our cybersecurity business unit.

Charles Beard With the kinds of threat factors we see emerging in our various client markets, we can’t have solutions that are on four- or five-year development cycles. With third-party technology providers, you’re beholden to their technical road maps and development cycles. We need the much more rapid-cycle innovations that we get from these small entrepreneurial companies we’ve acquired. For example, we acquired CloudShield Technologies, which had mainly been deployed in telecommunications infrastructure but not in Fortune 500 companies. We saw the opportunity to do something unique with that product for our clients in critical infrastructure industries. So we’ve deployed the product on our internal networks, and are now looking for innovative new offerings that we can spin out.

Havenstein CloudShield is also an example of the way we’re approaching the cloud. If we are to take cybersecurity seriously, we need to advance not just the concept of cloud but the secure cloud.

Beard Historically there’s been a concern about cloud from a security perspective, but the flip side, as Walt mentioned, is that we’re a company that likes to take on tough problems. If secure cloud is the problem, let’s stop talking about it as a barrier, and solve it for ourselves and then clients.

Havenstein A lot of the solutions Charles has to provide to SAIC internally are exactly the kind of problems we’re being asked to solve for customers. That’s why it makes sense to have him lead this portfolio as well as our IT function. It does represent an interesting challenge for him, since he is also serving 41,000 internal customers, but I think that’s the nature of what a chief information officer, at least at SAIC, must be able to do.

As told to CIO Executive Council VP

Rick Pastore. View a video interview

with SAIC’s CEO and CIO at