Cannavino will be responsible for the daily operations of the privately held company, which was founded in 1991.
"I am intrigued by CyberSafe's unique approach to developing security products and its ability to help customers realize the business-to-business and electronic commerce implications of securing their networks," Cannavino said in a statement. "This is an exciting time to be in the security industry, and I am eager to lend my experience to CyberSafe."
Cannavino was selected for his industry experience and strategic background, Coleman Sisson, president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Although Cannavino was once rumored to be a CEO candidate for Apple (AAPL), a source familiar with the situation said the computer maker's search committee never contacted him, nor did he appear before Apple's board of directors.
Last July, Cannavino resigned from Perot Systems, where he served as CEO and handled the company's daily operations, strategy, and organization. He joined the company, owned by former presidential candidate Ross Perot, in 1995.
That stint was brief compared with his 32-year career at IBM, where he retired in 1995 as senior vice president for strategy and development. And in the early 1990s, he was general manager of Big Blue's personal systems group--where he was responsible for such areas as the IBM PC company, the low-end printer business, and the personal software products division.