I am eager to contribute to CIRA's success by applying my background as a technology entrepreneur, CEO, lawyer and experienced board member to its governance challenges. I am passionate about the future of technology and innovation in Canada. The internet is central to so much of what we do now and where we can go in the future. CIRA has a vital role to play in how it develops in Canada, and to ensuring a trusted network for all Canadians. I want to help. My career began with 10 years as a partner in a major law firm (Fasken). Technology issues were an important part of my practice. After that, I became an entrepreneur and founded a software company. The company grew to become a world leader in its field, along the way attracting recognition from Microsoft as a leading cloud solution provider in Canada. Needless to say, with a cloud solution the internet was central to our business. I have over 25 years of experience on boards, in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. My ability to apply critical thinking to board challenges is confirmed by multiple professional designations, including a Masters of Law from Oxford and the ICD.D from Rotman's school of business. I believe that contributing to a board requires the ability to ask good questions, to listen carefully, to appreciate different perspectives and to work towards a consensus, while being prepared to speak up as needed. I strive to make a significant difference to every organization I am involved with. I'd be delighted to do so with CIRA.
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
On the basic level, CIRA is a private, not-for-profit organization that is Canada's internet registration authority, managing .CA domains on behalf of all Canadians. But that is the tip of the iceberg. CIRA works to protect the integrity and security of the internet in Canada, with the goal of ensuring a trusted internet for all Canadians. It develops and provides the CIRA Canadian Shield, helping protect users from malware and phishing. It offers cybersecurity services for large and small Canadian organizations. It provides significant grants to Canadians with a strategic focus on improving Canadian internet infrastructure, digital literacy, cybersecurity and community leadership. It promotes IXPs in Canada, improving the performance of the internet here. It partners with major players on safety and security for the Internet of Things. It is a global advocate for a better internet, including internet governance and standards.
All of this matters tremendously. It matters because the internet is one of the core enablers for how we live and work today. It will become even more central to our lives in the years ahead. Its speed, reliability, security and privacy are of vital importance to all Canadians. As is the belief and trust that Canadians have in their internet. The technology is complex, but the person who is stuck at home and needs to do their online banking needs it to just work. Safely. And the technology keeps changing, so Canada needs a voice with vision that can influence where the internet is going and how best to get there. A private, informed voice that reflects the input of knowledgeable members, which is normally much more effective than government bureaucracy. And not everyone out there has good intentions. As vital as the internet is to us all, it has also become a major vehicle for criminals. With cybercrime soaring, CIRA has a key role to play in helping protect Canadians.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
What I want to do is to make a difference. To contribute to things that matter. At this stage of my career, I believe I can best do this by helping at the board level of organizations that fit with my background and are making a difference. CIRA does. I explained above why I think that CIRA's operations are of tremendous importance to all Canadians. As a board member of CIRA, I would contribute to its success by applying my experience and abilities to its governance challenges. Specifically, this includes my experience as a CEO running a technology company, as a lawyer addressing techno-legal issues, and as a director of technology and not-for profit organizations. Of course, as a director I would not be applying operational skills. I would be using my background to address the governance issues and so assist management in their role of running the company. As a lawyer I have particular experience in being thoroughly prepared for any meeting I attend, in asking good questions and in listening carefully to answers. Those skills are important to most board room settings as well. The most important aspect that I would bring to CIRA is my passion for making technology safe and accessible to all, and for improving the state of technology in Canada.
What do you think are the top 3 challenges and opportunities facing CIRA in the next 3 to 5 years? What approach would you take to addressing these issues?
Firstly, in answering this question it is important not to confuse the roles of management and the board. My first steps would be to hear from management on all the issues they face, how they propose to address them, and to probe their proposals with appropriate questions and discussion. One of the benefits of an independent outside director is that they can bring a fresh perspective to this process. I have not had the benefit of doing this.
That said, in my view the top challenge facing CIRA going forward is the continuing growth of cybercrime. It is projected that in 2021 global cybercrime will account for about $6 trillion in revenue to the criminals. That is bigger than the economy of every country in the world, other than the US and China. Organized crime now obtains more revenue from cybercrime than from any other criminal activity. They even offer it as a "service" to others who want to benefit from this type of crime. Cybercrime is a threat not just for the money it costs, but also for how it undermines trust in the internet. Which in turn reduces the benefits the internet can deliver. The pace of growth of cybercrime continues to increase, and it is a tremendous challenge to respond. CIRA has done well on this front so far, but may need to increase its investment in this area as the complexity goes up and the seriousness of the attacks increases. A second challenge is the slowing growth for .CA domain services. There are many alternate domains available today, with more coming. They are gradually replacing ccTLDs as credible domains. CIRA has bucked the trend in 2020, but going forward that may be harder to do. This impacts CIRA's ability to achieve its goals, as the .CA registration business is by far its main source of revenue. The response to this is also my third answer to this question, which is the opportunities in diversification. CIRA needs to continue on its path to become a multi-service organization. The new product offerings CIRA has come out with over the past few years have grown nicely, and can do much more in the future. They contribute to the main goals while also offering new sources of revenue.