Sign up to stay connected and get the latest on local events and news.

News & Stories

Innovator Spotlight: Patrick Dennis, Guidance Software CEO, Talks Cybersecurity

By Michelle Garrett — February 17, 2016

When it comes to digital investigations and cybersecurity the #1 name in the business is Pasadena’s own Guidance Software. With over 370 employees worldwide, Guidance Software develops and provides software solutions across the globe along with forensic analysis of some of the most sensationalized crime stories over the past decade.

Patrick Dennis, President and CEO of Guidance Software, recently sat down with Innovate Pasadena to talk about why cyber security should be top-of-mind for everyone, the implications of digital risk, and what apps he can’t live without.

What is the Guidance Software story?

Guidance Software founded the forensic software business. In 1997, our company saw the need for the field of forensics to be translated into the digital world and that's when we first brought forensic software to market.

From there, we ventured into forensic investigation. Through forensics, evidence is being created that will later be used in court. Guidance developed e-discovery software to help people manage litigation and court cases. It was logical for Guidance Software to transition into this market.

In the last two years, people and companies have taken a strong interest in security software. The cyber security market has been really hot for the last 12-18 months and Guidance Software has positioned itself to innovate in this area.

Why is innovation in cybersecurity important?

Cybersecurity deals with global problems of digital risk. Let me explain in macro-economic terms and paint a backdrop of why it’s so important. Billions of dollars are lost through cybersecurity factors. This creates huge revenue implications for business if revenue opportunities are not being exercised and companies are worried about cost leakage.

The number of computing devices in the world is climbing at an unprecedented rate. Each device creates an opportunity for an attacker to gain access to a computer or network. There is no requirement for public reporting of security breaches so the general population only hears headlines of the big ones. There are 90 million security breaches annually, many of which we don’t hear about.

What sort of hurdles has your company faced?

Every company faces challenges of speed and agility. Markets move fast and you have to move faster to compete and help your customer. The rate of change in the software business is always a challenge. Guidance Software’s strategy keeps pulse of market trends allowing us to innovate and serve our clients better.

What sets Guidance Software apart from its competitors?

We built our company on a forensic software foundation. Our security portfolio includes a forensic security suite. Two of the 3 products can’t be found anywhere else in the market.

What’s next for Guidance Software?

We just announced and unveiled our newest product, EnForce Risk Manager. EnForce Risk Manager will help companies manage down risk by allowing organizations to take a proactive approach to information governance. Guidance began writing software to identify the most commonly compromised data anywhere it is stored and this software pushes the burden of breach back onto the company where the breach occurred. We are the first company in the world to write software to do this.

Which area of technology excites you most?

Not shockingly I’m really interested in security because it is fascinating. I’m also into machine learning. It’s amazing how quickly you can build apps in Cloud. I still program in Groovy and Go.

What’s the coolest app on your phone that you can’t live without?

I’m a security guy so I have an app called Signal. It offers end to end encrypted messaging- voice calls and secure text messaging.

I also like car racing so for fun I have the official Formula 1 app. It helps me keep up-to-date on stats, races, etc.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

If a decision can be reversed, do it immediately. If it can’t or has material consequences, take as long as you need.


Guidance Software exists to turn chaos and the unknown into order and the known - so that companies and their customers can go about their daily lives as usual without worry or disruption, knowing that their most valuable information is safe and secure. For more information about Guidance Software, please visit

Get local innovation & event news straight to your inbox.