Thought Leader – Andy Ellis

Category: Thought Leader

Name: Andy Ellis

Title: CSO

Company: Akamai Technologies

Why nominated: A recognized visionary who predicted companies would rely on cloud-based applications Akamai CSO Andy Ellis has parlayed his deep understanding of how to use the company's content delivery network to guard against web-based security attacks into building new functionality into security offerings, pinpointing security threats, enhancing safety and educating customers on securing web experiences while ensuring an exceptional end-user experience. 

Profile: Since bringing expertise in protecting people and infrastructure honed in the Air Force to Akami in 2000, Ellis has designed numerous technologies, including the company's secure Transport Layer Security (TLS) acceleration network. Respected for his innovative mindset, he was also a driving force behind the development of Kona Site Defender, an integrated solution providing website protection against DDoS assaults and other web-based attacks. 

He guided the transformation of Akamai's corporate IT architecture from a flat, firewall-oriented system that relied on location-based access, to an architecture built around strong authentication mechanisms, with a drive towards eliminating the VPN. This led to the development of Akamai's Enterprise Application Access (EAA) solution, a cloud architecture that allows only authorized users and devices to access the applications they need as opposed to the entire network. 

Ellis served in the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant performed duties as Information Warfare Engineer to USCENTAF and Chief of Command & Control Test Management for the Electronic Systems Center.

Outside of the office, he is an active proponent of the UMass's Cybersecurity Education and Training Consortium on cyber workforce planning, a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council and the FCC's Communications Security Reliability and Interoperability Council, and an affiliate of Harvard's Berkman-Klein Center on Internet & Society.

What colleagues say: “Andy is clearly viewed by me and my peers as a thought leader in the field. He serves on a highly selective IT Visiting Committee at Harvard. The group is comprised of information technology leaders from the private industry, the public sector and academia. Visiting committees are valued at Harvard, as their members provide candid and objective feedback on strategic direction. Andy's active role aids the University to provide secure infrastructure to our staff, students, faculty and visitors… The bottom line: Andy is the first person I would call if I was ever impacted by a big cyber event.”

 - Anne Margulies, CIO, Harvard University

“Andy has spent his career protecting people and infrastructure, beginning with his service in the U.S. Air Force and continuing through his tenure at Akamai. While he is steadfastly committed to protecting our business, he really pursues a much broader and impactful purpose to his work: advancing best practices across the industry to protect enterprises in a rapidly evolving threat landscape… He was ahead of the industry in predicting companies would rely on cloud-based applications, and he immediately grasped the security ramifications that were not evident to all companies eager to move to the cloud… Andy is an original thinker with an infectious passion for security education and developing technologies that become industry standards.”

 - Tom Leighton, CEO, Akamai Technologies

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