5 Minutes With: Ellen Boehm, VP of IoT Strategy, Keyfactor

By Sean Ashcroft
Keyfactor offers cloud-based crypto-agility solutions that help security teams run enterprise-wide keys and certificates


Tell us a little of your current role

As the SVP of IoT Strategy & Operations at Keyfactor, I’m responsible for understanding our customers’ strategic business objectives on IoT initiatives, including their challenges around generating and managing secure IoT identities. I help identify opportunities where Keyfactor can provide valuable solutions to IoT designers and manufacturers. 

My background is in IoT product development and product management. I understand the journey that companies and organizations face as they launch new products to market and need to keep security at the forefront. 

Does being an electrical engineer help in your job?  

Having a background in engineering helps me understand the typical development cycle for IoT products, and the options that exist for connectivity and security at the edge. I’m also knowledgeable about global manufacturing, including the use of contract manufacturing partners. I know too how the complexity of global supply chains can impact the cost, reliability and maintenance of solutions and products.

Can IoT change the face of supply chain? 

IoT solutions provide valuable insights by collecting real-time data about how equipment, systems, or processes are operating. It’s similar to the concept of a smart refrigerator capable of knowing if you have all the ingredients to make your favorite stir-fry dinner - and ensuring they aren’t expired).

What are the security risks of IoT? 

Any time we connect an endpoint to the internet it opens up an opportunity for compromise. Bad actors can remotely connect to, control, and change the behavior of IoT devices if they are not properly secured. We need to be able to trust the data that comes from our connected devices, and ensure they haven’t been compromised. 

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who are passionate, whether it’s passion for their profession, their art, or their health and mindset. When people have a passion for what they do you can see that shine through their words and actions. This has a positive impact on how they work with others, which in turns makes teams or groups of people more successful.

What's the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing. I think we have to continue to come up with new and innovative ways to solve problems, and oftentimes that comes with exploring an area you haven’t worked with before. Push yourself to learn something new each year, while applying what you’ve learned in your past experiences. 

Where do you see supply chain tech being in five years?

I see it being much more digitally connected, as well as predictable. This will allow for more efficiencies and better customization, giving rise to more manufacturing-as-a-service models.



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