Robert Garigue, CSO, 1952-2007

Robert garigue, a veteran member of the IT industry who used his expertise in data security to develop technology strategies for some of Canada’s largest organizations, died last month. He was 55.

Friends and colleagues described Garigue as a man of rare intelligence and humour, who was as good at articulating a vision as he was at bringing the best out of a team.

“You have to make the debate less technical and talk about privacy, regulatory compliance and show that security is there to catch you,” he told Computing Canada in 2003. “It’s a doctor’s role . . . you try to encourage a healthy lifestyle, but then sometimes it’s, ‘Go to the hospital.’”

Jim Robbins, president of Electronic Warfare Associates of Canada in Ottawa, said he first encountered Garigue when the latter was serving in the Canadian Forces, establishing the Network Vulnerability Assessment Team (NVAT). Occasionally referred to as information protection cops, NVAT’s members recommended patches, changes in configuration and procedures to system managers. It has since been renamed the Strategic Network Vulnerability Analysis Centre.

“To be able to share that vision with the senior leadership and establish that team – any time you’re breaking new ground within an organization that can be steeped in history, that’s a considerable achievement,” said John Weigelt, who also met Garigue during this period and later led IT strategy at Treasury Board Secretariat. “Even years afterwards, he was always keen to see what had become of his organization and provide advice and guidance.”

Garigue moved on to become assistant deputy minister in the Office of Information Technology for the Province of Manitoba, but his biggest project as CTO there was to organize the National Public Sector CIO Council sub-committee on information protection.

Though he joined Bell Canada last year as vice-president of information integrity and security, Garigue spent much of his private sector career as CISO for the Bank of Montreal.

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