Michael Wons and John Valente Join Ridgeback Network Defense as Special Advisors

BALTIMORE (BUSINESS WIRE) – Ridgeback Network Defense ( announces that Michael Wons, former CTO for the State of Illinois, and John Valente, former CISO of 3M, will serve as special advisors assisting the company with expanding sales operations for its unique cybersecurity software. Ridgeback’s innovative cybersecurity software is the first of its kind: Ridgeback is designed to disrupt and deter attackers, while also delivering a ground-breaking visibility solution for network operations – all with a single 1MB file per network segment.

John Valente has led information security operations across complex global organizations, most recently as CISO at 3M. Valente commented that “Ridgeback is an entirely new and inventive approach to cybersecurity. The fact that all this value comes from one small file really grabbed my attention. I look forward to working with the team at Ridgeback.” His career also includes senior roles at Best Buy, Dell, Pepsi and Citibank and he is a member of the Cybersecurity Summit Think Tank. John has also acted as a CXO Executive Advisor for Zscaler and on the board of advisors for the Pacer Center.

While serving as CTO for the State of Illinois, Michael Wons was a key architect of the state’s digital transformation and moving citizen services to mobile environments. Mike has also played important IT leadership and general management roles in the private sector, including at Microsoft, Federal Signal, PayIT and Civix.

Wons stated that “the protection of our digital information is as important as the maintenance of our public safety. I was immediately intrigued by Ridgeback. Phantom creation in the network’s dark space and Ridgeback’s real-time visibility for the SOC are just not available from other vendors.” He added, “the Ridgeback solution plays a key role in network defense, moving us towards better proactive measures across key industry segments – from financial services to healthcare and on to public safety.” Currently, Mike is the founder and CEO of GovTech Advisors ( providing operational advisory services to help SaaS companies scale growth.

Ridgeback’s CEO, Scott Fogarty, said “Attracting the support of industry leaders like John and Mike marks a very important milestone for Ridgeback. We are very fortunate to have them on our side.

Thomas Phillips, the founder and inventor of Ridgeback added, “Both John and Mike bring considerable real-world experience protecting organizations from the full spectrum of cyber threats and adversaries. We are excited to leverage their expertise in both the private and public sectors.

About Ridgeback

Ridgeback’s patented software delivers real-time visibility, and attack disruption and deterrence from a single 1MB file per network segment. After an attacker has compromised an individual endpoint in a network they seek to expand their knowledge and control over endpoints, data and systems.

Ridgeback disrupts the attacker’s network discovery, actively engages them and evicts them from the network before they can cause harm.


Scott Fogarty
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