Using people to fight cyber attacks is like bringing a knife to a gunfight

It’s time to automate security response, says the CSO of a $1.6b company, who swears by a new tool he has deployed

Golan Ben-Oni, CSO and SVP of Network Architecture at IDT Corp., is responsible for protecting the infrastructure of the diversified company’s telecommunications, payment, energy and oil businesses, which employee 1,700 and include 12,000 endpoints worldwide. Automation is key, he says, because the attackers have upped their game. Ben-Oni shared the story with Network World Editor in Chief John Dix.

Golan Ben-Oni, IDT

Golan Ben-Oni, CSO and SVP of Network Architecture, IDT Corp.

Let’s start with a thumbnail description of your company.

IDT and its affiliated firms are involved in telecom, payment services, oil exploration, energy supply and entertainment. We started in telecom, and that’s what IDT is known for, but we have since entered the vertical markets of energy and oil, and banking and finance. We’re doing shale oil in Israel specifically, and on the finance side we own banks in Europe, so we see our share of state-sponsored threats. The energy and oil business was recently spun off as a separate company, but it’s in our building and some of us have shared responsibilities. I’m responsible for the architecture of their security environment, although we’re growing and the companies are getting bigger independently.

So with energy exploration and banking concerns you’re a rich target?

Yes, that’s correct. And the reality is our adversaries are numerous and quite good, which brought us to the need for speed and for automation because I look at it in the context of a battlefield. In the beginning, adversaries were lazy because pretty much anything they did worked. They didn’t have to try very hard, and most of the time they weren’t even noticed. They could live inside an organization for weeks, months or years and just collect more and more intelligence.

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