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November 30, 2007
Results Software


Nick Magliato recalls knocking back a few with friends at a bar last year and wondering aloud why laptop security was front and center while protecting cell phone data wasn’t.

So Magliato, CEO of Trust Digital, which makes enterprise smart phone software for more that 120 corporate and government clients, did a little test.  He bought 11 phones on eBay, and after downloading the data left on them by the sellers, he printed out a stack of paper nine feet high.  It was rife with confidential information, including business transactions and personal messages. A data string placing a high-level exec at dinner with his wife while receiving text messages from a mistress was just one of the tasty tidbits. It was enough to land Nick interviews on MSNBC, Fox News and The Early Show.

A self-described “techno geek weenie,” Nick came to DC in ‘87 to flee the drifting snows of Syracuse, his college stomping ground. He took his first job at Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) after rejecting a gig with IBM that paid twice as much.  “The 50-somethings at Big Blue wore ties down to their navels and seemed ancient,” says Nick, who’s now 42.  “I didn’t think I’d fit in there.”  Nick later moved on to Digex (acquired by WorldCom and later MCI), then USInternetworking. Each of the three moves put him in front of the tech curve–-as he created new opportunities for businesses to get online. Joining Trust Digital in 2004 was the same.

Although Magliato likes to stay ahead of the tech curve, he doesn’t appear to have shared all his information with his wife of 15 years, Jennifer, who recently asked him how she can get her email on her phone.

“Wouldn’t you just love to use your phone for everything instead of your PC?” he asks, noting that some people are already doing just that. He doesn’t expect most will completely replace laptops with phones, but is confident that by the end of the decade everyone will at least have a smart phone. His 11-year old twins already do.

Today, mobile device sales far outpace laptops, says Nick, who is pleased to say this has meant rapid expansion for Trust Digital. He considers the day his firm won an agency-wide contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs a crowning moment. He applauds the VA for gaining insight on security—especially for cell phones—after the agency’s 2006 lost-laptop debacle. Other Trust Digital clients include DoD, Pepsi, and a large east coast university he says he’s not allowed to disclose for security reasons.  (Hmm, what would this give away?)

According to Nick, mobile phones are seven times more likely to be lost or stolen than PCs. About 25 percent of company phones disappear each year—as Nick knows firsthand. In the middle of a critical meeting with Bell Canada to get investment, he realized he was missing something. He discreetly began to frisk himself, trying not to interrupt the flow of his pitch.  “All I could think about was that my travel arrangements were on my phone,” he says. “I didn’t know the time or airline for my flight out.”

Magliato and Trust Digital CFO Michael Pratt.

To this day, he’s not sure if he was more relieved to find the phone in the Town Car he had hired, or to learn that his company had secured the $9 million round of funding with Bell Canada. Core Capitol and Avansis Ventures have also contributed.

In the near and long-term future, Nick expects the mobile device market will continue its explosive growth. He points to the recent frenzy of announcements from Microsoft, Google, and Apple and says corporations will likely be expected to provide these cutting edge mobile technologies to all employees. To get a head start, Nick conveniently suggests that at this year’s holiday office parties, Santa might want to stuff employee stockings with smart phones.

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Venable LLP
George Washington University
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