I was heartened to see news of the imminent appointment of Howard Schmidt as Barack Obama's chief information security adviser.

Firstly, Schmidt has the background for the role with a rich CV that includes having worked at the FBI and in the private sector at Microsoft and eBay. 

Second, he has a strong grip on the importance of co-ordinated international policies, laws and systems.

Third, he's a charming man. I met him about a year and a half ago at a dinner for security experts and the press and can report that the man who will have the president's ear is an Anglophile and a highly likeable fellow with a tremendous sense of humour and little discernible ego. When people hold great power, it's good to know that they have the common touch and I fully expect that Schmidt will be an able translator of what is going on in cybersecurity at government and international level.

Another American, former FBI man, internationalist and possessor of a laconic wit is Ed 'The Fed' Gibson. As I reported last week, Gibson is leaving Microsoft UK where he distinguished himself as security advisor. He will be sorely missed here. 

Information security is a huge challenge for all of us and it's the duty of governments and large organisations to spell out the current dangers. Eloquent, straight talking folk like Schmidt and Gibson are, therefore, invaluable.