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Contributing Writer

Final Thoughts on the RSA Conference 2012

Mar 09, 20123 mins
Big DataCisco SystemsData and Information Security

Good event, some hype, lots of concerns

Okay, it’s been a week since the RSA Security Conference 2012 so my window of opportunity for editorial comment is nearly closed.  A few last thoughts:

1.  Big data and security.  This was a topic full of constructive discussion and wild hyperbole at the show.  I participated on a panel hosted by security beacon Eddie Schwartz from RSA along with analyst friends from EMA, Forrester, and Gartner, and there were at least 3 other panels during the show.  I also discussed this topic with a number of vendors.  Red Lambda is doing some interesting work and SAIC is taking its deep government/military/intelligence experience on big data security to the commercial market.  There is no doubt in my mind that it would be beneficial to capture and analyze more data as it has the potential to give us a better understanding of “normal” activities and anomalous behavior.  That said, the technology is immature, batch-oriented, and very technical.  When you have to bring up a skill set like “data scientist” as part of the solution, you can certainly assume that this is a niche for the security elite.  How many organizations want to become NSA-like?

2.  Big data and security at work today.  If you want to see where this technology is going, talk to any vendor who offers some type of cloud-based reputation or anti-malware service.  Think Blue Coat, Cisco, Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, etc.  I met with Trend Micro CTO Raimund Genes and he described the cloud-based infrastructure for Trend’s Smart Protection Network.  As I recall, Trend has something like 850TB of data on-line using big data technologies like Hadoop.  Same thing with SourceFire’s FireAMP as it collects and analyzes endpoint security data in real-time.  This is where the technology is headed but again, how many organizations want or need to do this.  Seems like managed security players and cloud service providers will likely benefit from big data security momentum most.

3.  One more point about mobile security.  I’ve blogged about the number of vendors trying to get into this market.  Who is funding this group and why?  I don’t get it.  One interesting tidbit however.  In all of my meetings, each vendor discussed supporting iOS and Android.  Not one vendor had any intention on supporting Blackberry, and only one, Juniper, is publicly stating that it will support Windows 7/8 Mobile.  As you probably know, Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson is an ex-Microsoft guy as are a number of other senior folks.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but unless Microsoft offers incentives to a lot of partners, mobile security vendors won’t offer support until their customers demand it.  Interesting dynamic.

Contributing Writer

Jon Oltsik is a distinguished analyst, fellow, and the founder of the ESG’s cybersecurity service. With over 35 years of technology industry experience, Jon is widely recognized as an expert in all aspects of cybersecurity and is often called upon to help customers understand a CISO's perspective and strategies. Jon focuses on areas such as cyber-risk management, security operations, and all things related to CISOs.

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