Dante Disparte is an entrepreneur, business leader and global risk expert. He is the founder and CEO of Risk Cooperative, an innovative strategy and risk advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. Dante serves on the board of the American Security Project, where he founded and chairs the Business Council. He is also a member of the Bretton Woods II Council and a fellow at New America. He is a frequent speaker and commentator on business and political issues shaping the world. From entrepreneurship, where he was invited by the White House to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, to risk, economic competitiveness and security issues, Dante’s wide-ranging views are regularly featured in leading media and publications, such as Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post and International Policy Digest, among others. A graduate of Harvard Business School, he serves as the chair of the D.C. alumni association and sits on the global alumni board. Dante holds an MSc. in Risk Management from the NYU Stern School of Business and a B.A. in International and Intercultural Studies from Goucher College. He is fluent in six languages and has conducted business all over the world.
“…in our trust-driven economy, companies need entirely new frameworks with unobtrusive security solutions that work at the speed of their businesses.”
Q: How does insurance play into cybersecurity risk?
A: Since most public and private organizations do not have a standing army of incident response, public relations and IT security experts, in addition to the financial comfort, most cyber insurance policies provide remediation support when things go wrong. This is the key element of a good cyber insurance policy and something that is particularly relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The increasing complexity and scope of cyberthreats makes insurance an essential component of building cyber resilience.
Of course, insurance cannot live in a vacuum of other mitigation efforts, including technologies like FHOOSH, governance standards and, perhaps most importantly, consistency and adherence to value systems. Even with cyber insurance, recovery from a breach is still painful. This pain can be eased if company representatives’ actions and internal communiqués are consistent with corporate values. In that situation, company character doesn’t fall into question and there would likely be less fallout from a breach.
Q: Where do you anticipate the most significant advances in cybersecurity and risk management over the next few years?
A: The advent of integrated solutions that encompass advisory, education, technology and risk-transfer is clearly the wave of the future on the supply side of the cybersecurity market. On the demand side, more and more organizations are waking up to how persistent cyberthreats really are and that this is not an issue that can be relegated to the IT security silo. Cyber risk is an enterprise-level priority requiring not only the general awareness of C-suite executives and boards, but also their ongoing engagement and investment. In order to keep these senior stakeholders engaged in the conversation, it is important for cybersecurity professionals to move the conversation away from “ambulance chasing” or hubris, to catalyzing growth and competitive advantage. There are some promising developments in accepting the Enterprise value of Data (EvD) as an asset that needs more than defensive spend.
When cybersecurity becomes a C-level strategic governance issue, executives will focus on ways to monetize their data in safe environments. With that mindset, they can adjust their defensive posture accordingly. Tying up companies with tons of red tape doesn’t create trust, and in our trust-driven economy, companies need entirely new frameworks with unobtrusive security solutions that work at the speed of their businesses.
Q: What FHOOSH high-speed cybersecurity features most intrigue you?
A: FHOOSH is a compelling technology that enables a dynamic and secure information-sharing environment. Clearly, notwithstanding how pervasive cyberthreats are, the lifeblood of both public and private organizations is the free (and efficient) flow of information. FHOOSH enables this environment, where I’ve likened the data encryption capability to the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland. The surprising benefit is not the quality of encryption, which is truly disruptive; it is the massive improvement in data transfer speeds, which has a multitude of enterprise applications. These transfer speeds allow for unobtrusiveness, by providing a simple solution to a complex challenge. And the easiest way to build trust is with a simple solution to a complex problem. Another area where FHOOSH can build trust and security at the speed of business is in managing the web of third-party relationships and the supply chains many companies rely on by serving as a secure interface.
Q: What drives your interest in cybersecurity?
A: My interest in cybersecurity stems from my interest in risk more generally, where I’m convinced risk is a force to be harnessed rather than feared. While many are cowed by the constant alarm bells of cyber breaches, ransom attacks and unwanted disclosure, we are confronting these challenges head on. The key is to make solutions much more robust and accessible, particularly to middle-market firms, which are the engine room of our economy. These companies face a mix of compliance challenges, a lack of budget and staff, and direct internal and external threats that could eventually paralyze the economy unless we make more robust tools that can run inconspicuously.
Once upon a time, everyone was afraid of identity theft and checking account loss. Banks made it simple, by saying anyone was covered for any online loss. Banks defanged the identity theft and fraud market. Trillions of dollars in online spending later, that was the trade-off. With companies now trying to protect value stored as data, the risk will also be cut, and this time, it will happen with simple tools that can run in the background.