In this ESG On Location Video, ESG's Mark Peters, Jon Oltsik, Doug Cahill, and Mark Bowker provide their insights on RSAC 2018, held in San Francisco.
Read the related ESG Blogs:
- RSA 2018: Securing (y)our Data, (y)our IT…and the World
- Quick Take-Aways from the RSA Security Conference
Announcer: The following is an ESG on location video.
Mark Peters: Welcome to the RSA conference here at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Yes, it's big and it's brash, but I think what makes it so interesting in the world in which we live is it's not just about IT, it's also about business. And of course, increasingly these days, it's about individuals, people, and also about politics. So, it's a fascinating place to be and highly relevant for a lot of things that are going on in the world of IT these days.
It may be an eponymous show, and certainly RSA has plenty of presence both in terms of keynotes and down on the expo floor. But I mentioned we're at the Moscone Center. Mess-cone Center, one might say, and I can't think of a better metaphor for what's going on inside the security than all the construction, reconstruction, the difficulty of finding your way around. Actually, ironically, the difference, sometimes, of even getting access to places. And that really is an ideal metaphor for everything that cybersecurity is about these days.
To get a little more detail, I wanna talk to some of my ESG colleagues about what they have seen at the event. First I'm gonna talk to Mark Bowker. Now, Mark, you've been to many of these. Anything different this year? What do you see? What really hit you?
Mark Bowker: I think the biggest thing that stands out, Mark, is really just, to your point, the complexity of things and just the overall scale. There's so often times in security, and I see this across identity and mobile, that there's a lot of security thrown at the problem as opposed to looking at less is best.
Let's just use identity, for example. There are 10, 20, 30 different identity vendors to really look at here, and it can be very complex to understand which one does something different than the others. They all have very similar messages going on. And then the other thing I observe is this idea of built-in versus bolted-on. I'm seeing a lot of security being built-in to endpoint management type of solutions, and I'm seeing endpoint management type of solutions have more security features being built-in there as well. So I think I'm gonna watch, really, and by the time we get to RSA 2019, being able to see, where have vendors gone of building in more, and have users and business really adopted this idea of built-in versus bolting on everything?
Mark Peters: I mean, is that the main thing you see? Because of course we say "less is more," you don't mean less security, you mean less products to achieve...sort of, less to...okay.
Mark Bowker: Yeah, less tools. It's less tools and products, right? I mean, people try to solve one thing and just check the box saying, "Okay, we've got email security. Check, over." But what I'm really seeing is, people are taking those different points of security integration and putting it in an analytics type of view. So now I can take my analytics, put it in a view that's meaningful to me. I can understand the risk of a user, the risk of a device, the risk of an application, and then be able to use that to make decisions on my security posture of my company.
Mark Peters: So, now I'm with Doug Cahill. And Doug, Mark was talking about the complexity of the business and trying to get different pieces integrated. What have you seen? I mean, you've been to a number of these shows, clearly. One or two key differences or takeaways?
Doug Cahill: Yeah, absolutely. I think complexity is a good word, both to describe the challenge that cybersecurity professionals have today in protecting modern environments from compromise, but also RSA as a conference. I mean, RSA is one of the central events for cybersecurity in the year, but I always think about the buyer coming to RSA, right? There's a lot to process and a lot to try to understand.
Mark Peters: I think I heard you in a prior meeting, so you pity the buyer. Or, I mean, it's... So...
Doug Cahill: I do pity the buyer. So, I think those vendors that are really prescriptive with respect to their solution and how they solve particular problems are best suited to help customers address complexity. I mean, complexity is in the form of, first of all, the attack surface area has expanded so dramatically, from mobile knowledge workers, to cloud applications, to the fact that we have hybrid environments but we're still securing on-prem, and with the speed at which businesses need to operate today by adopting cloud. So, is has, you know, gotten increasingly complicated. And that's why for me, coming to RSA, I'm looking for solutions that span the attack surface area and provide operational efficiency as well as efficacy.
Mark Peters: Have you seen progress? Signs of hope, I would say?
Doug Cahill: I think so. Oh, absolutely. I think we're seeing a convergence of end-to-end systems, or reference architectures, or platforms, if you will, that allow you to prevent detection and respond from an end user's endpoint device all the way to a cloud application for the infrastructure or network security controls and applying advanced techniques like artificial intelligence and machine learning. It's just a lot for a buyer and a customer to stitch together. So I think it's important that we move toward things like standards, reference architectures, and platforms that give customers a way forward.
Mark Peters: So, John, you're another person with a great deal of experience at these events. You've seen this industry grow and this event grow. Key takeaways?
Jon Oltsik: I'm wondering if we're too wedded to the way we've done things in the past. And just given the way the industry's changing, including the way people are using IT, I think it may be time to take a step back and look at what we've done historically and question whether there's a better way to do things. Things like, are we collecting, processing, and analyzing the right data? Are we collecting, processing, and analyzing too much data where we could get to the root cause of a problem much quicker if we kind of honed our focus?
Mark Peters: And is that a comment on a challenge for the industry that you see reflected at this event, or are you saying you've begun to see people working on this and that's why you're intrigued by it?
Jon Oltsik: No, I think we need to work on these things. I think as an industry, we need to question everything we're doing because what we're doing is ineffective. So, layering on more pieces may not be the solution. Getting more data may not be the solution. We've gotta stop dwelling on technology. I mean, we're technologists, it's an industry that sells technology, but the people and process issues are really broken, and that's what we should spend more time on at RSA.
Mark Peters: At the beginning of this piece, I talked about construction at the Moscone Center and how that is a metaphor for the industry. I want to use another construction metaphor because I think it really talks about not just where we are but where we're heading with the cybersecurity segment as a whole. Think of a jigsaw that you have to build. And really, for years, and this is what all my colleagues were talking about, we've had multiple pieces that had to go together. The problem is, thankfully, even when they fit, you get little tiny cracks between those pieces, and those are areas of exposure and danger.
Imagine now a jigsaw that's been built, not just the edge pieces, pun intended, but everything in the middle as well. That's why you see so many organizations talking about showing you a complete picture of what that jigsaw will be like and gradually enabling you to build that. It's that integrated picture of security which is the next step for this industry. It'll be interesting to see what happens.