Career Notes 7.18.21
Ep 58 | 7.18.21

Peter Baumann: Adding value to data. [CEO]


Peter Baumann: Hello, my name is Peter Baumann and I'm the chief executive officer of the company ActiveNav.

Peter Baumann: I think my earliest ambition or career path, um, was probably when I was about seven or eight. And, uh, I showed a keen interest in doing wiring. I was always building kind of lights in circuits um, I was putting lights and buzzers into models and, uh, I was kind of put in trip wires, uh, over my sisters' bedrooms, which would send off lights and buzzers so we, we knew where they were. That kind of morphed into, uh, an interest in an electrical engineer and, and not least in the world of a theater. I used to be fascinated um, when you would go to the theater and looking at all the lights. I think I wanted to be a lighting engineer. Um, surprisingly that's probably the last time I really had a clear focus on what my career was.

Peter Baumann: I went to something that's known as an industrial sandwich course, uh, in electrical engineering, it was actually electronics and communications. When I came out of that, I worked for four years or so. I traveled a lot. I enjoyed it. But I kind of realized it wasn't really, for me, it wasn't what I wanted to do. So in my early twenties, I went back to college and, uh, I took a more conventional course if you like in business and finance. And then that took me on a, on, on my career that I've, I've been on since, or at least my path.

Peter Baumann: I've always been quite entrepreneurial. So through the whole journey, there's, there's been pockets of either independent entrepreneurship where I've set things up myself, um, through to intrepreneurship, um, within large organizations. And, uh, it's only in recent years that I've realized that is just part of my makeup.

Peter Baumann: My first real engagement coming back out of college was with what's now known as a startup. At the time, we were the first organization to provide financial company financials and data on CD ROMs, um, which were a completely new thing back then. And so I kind of managed to leverage my interest in the business community financial service world with my background in early computers. That was my first foray into a mixture of adding value to data to turn it into information.

Peter Baumann: One of the things that's been a common on the journey is the value of data, and if you do a good job of aggregating that data, you can clean it and you can score it, um, which then gives you information, which itself has inherent value in it. One of the things that, that kind of attracted me to some of the work that was going on, um, originally at South Hampton University and, uh, an early version of ActiveNav was this ability to look at large quantities of unstructured data with no prior knowledge of what was in that, that, that data or that information. We started to shine the light on the data to provide this discovery capability with the workflow to remediation on unstructured, digital data. And that that's what we did. And that's the journey we've been on since.

Peter Baumann: The real challenge is what do you do with all this information that's coming back at you? It's not getting hold of the data that matters so much. What do you do with it? The risk that you're carrying is significant and that's where the whole cyber to privacy play comes in. And having that data out there maybe hosted in somebody else's environment, but not knowing what it is and essentially waiting for the day that it may be breached is, uh, a very, very real risk.

Peter Baumann: I like the people around me to take ownership control their own destinies. I don't think they need me or any other kind of executive really to be there telling them what to do on a day-to-day basis. And so it's one of empowerment. It's one of fairness, and building the right culture. Where people are comfortable, they can share challenges and problems. And I'd like to say, um, safe to fail. And that's hard. I think those cultures are driven very much from the top down.

Peter Baumann: This is a growth market. It's not going away anytime soon. I think there's, there's decades of work to be done. I think we're only at the start of, of really dealing with this challenge. For newcomers, I think you want to keep it very open mind. You, you want to understand those different facets and so understand, you know, why intruders are trying to get into people's networks.  Coming out of college, if you can have a technical, um, awareness. if you have a feel for the technologies, how they work, if you have a feel for why organizations care, and then you have a broad  familiarity of all the different approaches, solutions architectures, out there. I think you could be setting yourself up for a really exciting career.

Peter Baumann: Ultimately, cyber matters because of the data we and organizations hold. And that is for me, the final frontier to provide the protection, the security and the peace of mind that, that we all desire.