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The Never-ending Story of Security Issues: RSA Conference 2017 Wrap-Up Edition

What do data, security, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence have in common? Only the world’s largest security show. Another year, and another RSA Conference is officially in the books. This year’s event was certainly eye opening, with a bevy of new exploits, vulnerabilities, and potential solutions to lingering IT security issues. This year’s U.S. conference focused on bringing unity to what is becoming an overwhelmingly larger global security community. The opportunity to participate in such an event certainly leaves you with a long to-do list and a broader view on what’s to come in the world of security.

With that in mind, and somewhat still in the haze of the show, here are some of my own takeaways from this year’s RSA Conference:

A focus on business-driven security

Previous RSACs have really dug into the meat of complex security issues, with a number of new exploits uncovered and techniques demonstrated by the world’s leading security researchers. While that was still ever present at this year’s show, one of the themes I noticed early on was this idea termed “business-driven security.” Companies are often the targets and victims of high profile attacks, and this year, a number of keynotes focused on the discipline of risk management as well as the idea of trust. 

Google released a study during the Conference where they found that corporate email accounts are 4.3 times more likely to receive malware and 6.2 times more likely to receive phishing emails than personal email accounts, according to a recent article in SecurityWeek. And that’s just email.

The age of the Internet of Things is upon us

Within the last few years, security experts and researchers have been discussing the Internet of Things (IoT) and the potential risks it poses. However, there was more of a sense of urgency around IoT. That might also be due to the high profile Mirai botnet that companies like Dyn dealt with at the end of last year. This particular attack proved that while the technologies are still mostly consumer-facing devices, the interconnectedness of these devices and the data being collected, analyzed, and shared among them are creating serious concerns for cybersecurity professionals.

There were some pretty frightening examples discussed, like compromised autonomous vehicles, and there was also a focused discussion on standards, regulations, data volume, and collaboration. In fact, I was incredibly honored to have a chance to present on IoT data and its journey, along with the perils data faces along the way to its destination. We are certainly entering the age of IoT and a focus on mitigating or preventing serious cybersecurity incidents will drive security professional’s agendas for some time.

The data explosion continues

It’s not surprising that the creation, volume, and sheer size of data is continuing to explode at astronomical rates. Many organizations have estimated that somewhere around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day (which amounts to 18 zeros, for those interested), that figure was actually pulled in 2013. Imagine what we’re dealing with in 2017 with things like Amazon Echo, Snap Spectacles, and Samsung Family Hub Fridges quickly becoming mainstream household items—not to mention the amount of electronic health records or digitized financial transactions that are commonplace. The security implications around protecting so much data, and sensitive data in particular, is absolutely astounding. This will continue to be an enormous challenge for those in and around security and technology for years to come.

There were so many incredible topics shared, there’s absolutely no way that I could cover all of them here, but things like cloud’s movement from containers to serverless computing, the evolution of IoT, artificial intelligence, and the effects of proactive security practices or technologies are all things we’ll continue to hear about for the next few years. Security remains to be incredibly challenging to manage, and feels a little bit like a game of Whack-a-Mole that won’t end. The challenges are ever present and will continue to define this industry, along with the response from enterprises to small businesses, for generations.

What’s inspiring about RSA Conference though is that there are so many incredibly talented and smart professionals that are taking these issues head on, and I’m looking forward to lending my own voice and expertise in the fight to protect your data, your network, and your organization. 


Greg Hoffer – Vice President of Engineering

Greg Hoffer serves as the Vice President of Engineering at Globalscape. He is responsible for leading the product development teams who are responsible for the design and engineering of all of Globalscape products. Read more about Globalscape leadership.