Pizza Hut Exec During US India Chamber Tech Conference: ‘Security is as Strong as the Weakest Link’

Technology leaders gathered Friday to discuss the latest trends, legislations, and opportunities across industries including cybersecurity and protecting growing amounts of data.

US India Chamber

The European Union’s new privacy protection law was a hot topic at the 2018 Annual Technology Conference hosted by the US India Chamber of Commerce DFW. 

U.S. companies that do business in the European Union are scrambling to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation that goes into effect May 25. While online giants like Google and Facebook would appear to be the main targets, the new law holds any business accountable if credit cards or other personal information is breached or hacked.

“Our security is as strong as the weakest link.” 

Ajay Gupta

That includes Yum! Brands, which owns Plano-based Pizza Hut and Louisville-based KFC, said Ajay Gupta, global information security officer for Pizza Hut Global, during a discussion about cybersecurity for big data and artificial intelligence. EU citizens can request that their personal information be deleted, which changes how Pizza Hut’s apps and website work.

“Our biggest challenge right now is GDPR because the penalties are 4 percent of global revenue,” Gupta said. “Our security is as strong as the weakest link.”

Mike Regitz, a partner with Dallas law firm RegitzMauck who specializes in intellectual property, technology disputes, and the internet, said GDPR will set the bar for privacy worldwide.

There are so many online companies that track consumer behavior and sell it or leave it where it’s vulnerable to hacking. This issue has come to the forefront in recent months as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica breach.

“They know everything about us,” Regitz said. “The expectation is, that’s where the enforcement is going to go.”

Companies also are at risk of phishing scams where an employee clicks on a link or downloads a document that opens the door to ransomware or gives away a crucial password. Studies show about 4 percent of employees still fall for phishing scams.

“Until we can stop that, that’s what we can expect for the next few years,” he said.

Gertrude Van Horn, CIO for NCH Corp., said her company has found tax returns and other personal data that should never be stored on a company server.

“Good implementation overrules good intentions.” 

Vasu Nagendra

Better protections are needed now in this country, too, she said.

“That’s something that all of us need to get ahead of,” Van Horn said. “Right now there’s not a lot of solutions for that.”

It’s critical that companies have an action plan in case there is a breach, said Vasu Nagendra, vice president of engineering for cybersecurity firm Critical Start. A data breach isn’t just an IT problem—it touches the legal, side, the marketing and public relations side, and human resources. 

“What we’re seeing is, most companies have an incident response plan, but it’s on paper,” Nagendra said. “That’s no good” 

He likened it to having a fire extinguisher but not knowing how to use it when a fire actually happens. 

“Good implementation overrules good intentions,” he said.

THE BILLION-DOLLAR EXIT

Joe Razor (right), CEO of Rackspace, talks about his billion-dollar exit from Earthlink when it sold to Windstream. The keynote was moderated by Prabhakar Reddy, CEO and executive director of Motivity Labs.

Whether it was EDS, Earthlink, or Rackspace, Joe Eazor leaves a legacy of changing cultures, turning a profit, and transforming a company.

The keynote speaker for the USICOC conference famously led the sale of Earthlink to Windstream for $1.1 billion in 2017, a move that created a networking and data services giant.

With that done, he moved on to Rackspace, a managed cloud provider. Since he took over the CEO job, Forbes has named Rackspace one of the top 100 places to work. The San Antonio-based company remodeled an old shopping mall into its headquarters.

“Our goal is to be one of the leading service companies on the planet.”

Joe Eazor

“Our goal wasn’t just to turn the company around,” Eazor said. “Our goal is to be one of the leading service companies on the planet. We’re laser focused on customers’ needs.”

He said he’s always been attracted to transformations, disruption, and going places where he can make an impact. It was never about selling the company for billions of dollars.

“The exit takes care of itself,” he said. “Don’t focus on the exit.”

Updated 11:10 a.m. May 15, 2018.

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