Empowering Innovation and Trust in Atlanta

Recently, the San Francisco Chronicle published an open invitation from House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) to Silicon Valley CEOs requesting them to testify before the panel and discuss “disruptive innovation, privacy, data security, and the economic impact of this sector.” Chairman Walden’s invitation to Silicon Valley “tech CEOs and founders” demonstrates his commitment in striking the “right balance to protect consumers while also encouraging innovation and competition.” However, the Chairman’s invitation does fall short in limiting its audience to the San Francisco Chronicle and directing his invitation to “Silicon Valley CEOs.”

I know the Chairman’s oversight was not intentional. Silicon Valley has proven itself to be a hub of innovation and its innovators can provide valuable insight on the different technologies, business models, and their impacts to our daily lives. That said, why should we limit ourselves to just Silicon Valley? There are hubs of innovation across this great country. And, we Georgians (or ATLiens) know that first-hand.

Here are some facts: Atlanta is one of the top five technology hubs of the country; Atlanta has over 17,000 technology companies and boasts some of the top universities centered around technology and innovation in the world. Additionally, Atlanta is home to the only national organization representing the Chief Information Security Officer, the National Technology Security Coalition (NTSC).

According to a Tech Talent Report by CBRE in 2017, the city has seen a 46.7% growth in total tech operations locally since 2010, almost 20% above the national average. Just this past year, Atlanta has been the location of a number of cybersecurity events with an estimated 40,000 attendees. It also helps to have the world’s busiest airport, some of the best cuisine anywhere, a low cost of living, and great weather.

I founded Ionic Security in Atlanta to grapple with privacy issues; the company started in 2011 as Social Fortress, a way for consumers to protect the data they share when using email, instant messaging, and social media applications. As an overlay to applications like Facebook, I could encrypt a message so that only my friends could decrypt it, and then only if I wanted them to. Facebook could route but not read my message. While consumers weren’t ready for this service, large enterprises struggle to protect personal data, intellectual property, and other types of sensitive information. We chose to work with some of the largest, most highly-regulated companies in the world to solve this problem of data-centric security and privacy at scale.

Data is exponential, and the impact it has on our lives cannot be underestimated. From credit cards to health care records, modern citizens rely upon their information being collected and processed securely and appropriately. Unfortunately, the risks presented by inappropriate or irresponsible use of that data have never been greater. As an industry, we have been talking a lot about security and privacy, but it’s really about trust. Trust in this internet-enabled, machine-scale world is the intersection of security, privacy, and accountability:

  1. Security, which means allowing or denying access to something;
  2. Privacy, which means the appropriate use of something you’ve been given access to or have granted access to others;
  3. Accountability, to ensure that the right entities are accessing the right data in the appropriate way; and
  4. Integrity that the data is what was entered and hasn’t been accidentally or maliciously changed along the way.

Legacy perimeter security models depend upon building stronger walls to protect the data inside them, but these models are no longer sufficient to address the exponential data we create. When it comes to data trust, it’s time to adopt the motto “in math we trust.” Trust can be mathematically guaranteed and managed through technology that builds security, privacy, and accountability by default and by design. Data trust requires all three elements to coexist. Atlanta-based Ionic Security is disrupting the status quo and leading the charge in data-centric protection. For these reasons, I would like to accept Chairman Walden’s invitation to testify before the panel. I believe the future of the internet is based on our collective ability to maintain trust while accelerating innovation.


Adam Ghetti, technologist and entrepreneur, founded Ionic Security (www.ionic.com) in 2011 to address the problem of trust in our machine scale world. He has over 15 years of experience building large-scale systems in multiple internet-related markets. He is an expert in complex systems and task automation, and he possesses an applied knowledge of application security, network security, data security, and artificial neural networks.

Mr. Ghetti was recognized by Forbes as a 30 under 30 thought leader in technology and by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer. Additionally, Mr. Ghetti serves on the Global Future Council on Cybersecurity on behalf of the World Economic Forum, as an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as a member of both the advisory board for the College of Computing and the Institute for Information Security and Privacy at Georgia Tech, as a charter member of TiE, a Distinguished Lecturer for the Robson Program at Emory University, and as a board member for Savvy Cyber Kids, a 501(C)(3) providing educational materials for families to better enable them in navigating the digital world safely.

Mr. Ghetti has appeared most recently on Bloomberg to discuss the latest cybersecurity technologies and privacy issues facing today’s world.