The Black Digerati

Contrary to popular belief, African Americans are masters and creators of the Information Age. Major players in the field tell us what the future holds. .

also believes the field of expert systems is an excellent career choice for entrepreneurs and individuals looking for a career that will take them well into the next millennium. Says Mayberry, “The development of software tools that support the hardware infrastructure of the Net–especially tools that support e-commerce-will experience tremendous growth.” .

Humphrey Polanen GM, Internet Commerce and Security Business Unit Sun Microsystems

Computer hackers and cyber-criminals beware. Humphrey Polanen is bent on making the Net safer for consumers and corporations alike. “Our products form the backbone of Internet security,” says the general manager of Internet commerce and security for Sun Microsystems. The $8 billion company commands a 60% global market share of Internet servers. the computers that run Web sites.

Polanen believes security concerns about the Internet are warranted, although many tend to focus on the wrong issue. “Most people are worried about getting their credit card numbers stolen, but the real threat to the individual is unauthorized access to personal information such as health records or Social Security numbers,” he says. Digital certificates, which are available on most newer browsers, allow Internet users to verify the identities of companies with which they are dealing, while greatly increasing the security of personal information.

Businesses have more at stake when it comes to security. Banks, for instance, send thousands of credit card numbers to and fro via secure networks. While it’s Polanen’s charge to make business-to-business commerce more secure, most of the security issues companies face are not Internet-related. “Security is much more than technology, it’s a culture,” says the 48-year-old executive. Eighty percent of the security threats to businesses are from dishonest or careless employees or contract workers rather than the Internet.

Polanen believes Internet security should be seen more as a business tool than merely a padlock on your network. “Companies are beginning to use security as a competitive advantage by connecting with their partners and customers securely,” he says, adding that companies that have the Internet as an option for secure, reliable transactions will position themselves for success. .

Howard Smith President/CEO Clarity Software

“With the possible exception of the IBM-compatible PC, no other development will put as much computing power in the hands of consumers than the Internet,” says Howard Smith, president and CEO of Clarity Software in San Jose, California. Smith founded Clarity in 1990 to sell office automation products for Unix workstations, but as that market began to dry up, he focused his company on developing products for the Internet.

Clarity’s main product is MagicFax, an application that allows companies to transmit long-distance faxes for the cost of a local call. Recognized within the industry as an excellent product, it has shipped with Netscape’s SuiteSpot servers. “Later this year, we’ll release a consumer version of the software that will let anyone use their PC to send faxes worldwide at no cost,” says the 57-year-old Smith, who believes the rapid dissemination of information on the Internet will help make the world more democratic.

“It’s becoming more difficult to control the flow of information,”

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