BlackBerry CIO on Mobile Security, BYOD and the Modern CIO Role

Research In Motion (RIM) CIO Robin Bienfait is not your typical CIO.

In her own words: "I probably would be more classified as a CTO. But at RIM, it takes somebody that's like a CTO to be the CIO. You've got all these people within RIM who are highly technical and they're going to challenge everything you do as a CIO."

Bienfait joined the BlackBerry team in December 2006 after serving as AT&T's SVP of Global Network Services and Chief Compliance Officer, where she was in charge of the company's business-continuity and disaster-recovery efforts during various natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And she says business continuity is her strong suit. Senior Editor Al Sacco met with Bienfait this week in San Diego, the evening before she headlined the event's day-two keynote address, to discuss what she learned from her time at AT&T, as well as her thoughts on how RIM approaches BYOD internally, the importance of mobile security, how the modern CIO role is evolving and what the future holds for RIM.

Al Sacco: First of all, can you talk a little bit about your experience working on the 9/11 network recovery?

Robin Bienfait: Within AT&T, you had to be able to get into the area and pull cables. They wanted the stock exchange bell to ring on Monday morning. We typically would fly people in but, since they shut the airways down, we had to put everybody on trucks and all of our equipment on trucks. We literally built like a little "truck city" that was a replacement for the network infrastructure that was impacted.