Cybersecurity professionals preach the challenge of constant identification and readiness to attack to defeat threats

A recent gathering of global cybersecurity professionals explored the latest attack scenarios hackers use to infiltrate corporate networks. But unlike the misguided hopes of potential victims, no miracle solution or software guarantee will fully protect them.

Presenters at the RSA Conference (RSAC) focused on the increasing demand to implement a Zero-Trust philosophy. The presenters urged network administrators to educate their employees on detecting digital identity proofs. This involves securing the data points needed to feasibly proliferate digital ID proofing solutions.

Another major cause of network breaches is organizations integrating their on-premises environments into their cloud environment. That makes the cloud prone to various attacks originating from the premises.

“The RSA Conference plays a critical role in bringing the cybersecurity industry together. As cyberattacks increase in frequency and sophistication, it is imperative that professionals and experts from the public and private sectors come together to hear unique perspectives to help address today’s biggest challenges,” said Linda Gray Martin, vice president of the RSA conference.

The RSAC provides a year-round platform for the community to engage, learn, and access cybersecurity content. That process is available online and at face-to-face events.

According to the RSAC, better cyber protections will only be achieved with an increased focus on authentication, identity, and access management in conjunction with threat hunting activities.

leading the charge

Kevin Orr, President of RSA Federal, oversees the implementation of security, especially identity access management tools, for federal and commercial clients. His company has its roots in the early days of cybersecurity defenses.

At this year’s RSA Conference and the corresponding Public Sector Day, he had the opportunity to speak with leaders in the enterprise and government cybersecurity space. He discussed his observations on the state of cybersecurity with TechNewsWorld.

RSA Federal is an identity and access management (IAM) solutions company that began as a cyber security arm within the Dell computer company. Today, it has contracts with some of the most security-sensitive organizations in the world.

The connection between the technology company now known as RSA Federal LLC and the name of one of the leading encryption technology algorithms is significant. RSA Federal provides security services and solutions to customers throughout the public sector ecosystem.

RSA is a public key encryption technology developed by RSA Data Security, which was founded in 1982 to commercialize the technology. The acronym stands for Rivest, Shamir and Adelman, three MIT cryptographers who developed the RSA public key cryptography.

Long-standing conference roots

A series of RSA company sales positioned it to capitalize on the growing need for cybersecurity specialists. Security Dynamics purchased the company in 1982. Dell later acquired RSA from EMC in 2006. A consortium of private equity investors led by Symphony Technology Group purchased RSA from Dell in 2020.

The sale reflected the corporate strategies of RSA and Dell. It allowed RSA to focus on organizations that prioritize security, while Dell pursued its product strategy, according to Orr.

The annual RSAC event is a key gathering for the information security community. It is considered the world’s leading information security conference and exhibition. Originally scheduled for February 7-10, world events led to its rescheduling for June 6-9 at The Moscone Center in San Francisco.

RSA Federal is not a sponsor of the conference. However, their representatives participate in panels, exhibits and speeches throughout the event.

This year’s 31st annual conference was the first to be held as an independent, stand-alone business following an investment from Crosspoint Capital Partners in March. The event attracted more than 26,000 attendees, including more than 600 speakers, 400 exhibitors, and more than 400 members of the media.

Notable Conclusions

The most important takeaways for cyber security were laid out in keynote speeches, according to Orr. One was the impact on security from the rapid digital transformation.

That change happened faster because of the pandemic. It forced the acceleration of the participation of people who had to work remotely from home.

Transformation disruptions in the physical world are now causing digital ripples throughout the supply chain. Better supply chain security is needed to curb tampering within your technology.

“Another important issue was the role that rampant misinformation played. We are in a hyperconnected world. Misinformation clouds the way people distinguish fact from fiction,” Orr said. That continues to impact the use of technology.

Perhaps one of the most damaging impacts is the worsening talent shortage. There simply aren’t enough people trained to address cybersecurity threats and what needs to be done within the cybersecurity domain, she added.

The attacks are increasing with so many different factors now. In the past world, we all sat behind the firewall in a corporation, Orr noted. Security teams could keep track of the good guys and the bad guys, except maybe the insiders.

“As soon as we moved from the pandemic to mobility, the firewalls were gone. His personal security boundary disappeared. Part of that boundary needs to be built around identity,” she urged.

Securing the edge of identity

From Orr’s cat bird seat in the world of cybersecurity, he sees how stopping identity breach is now essential. Organizations need to know who is connecting to their networks. Security teams need to know what identities do, where they are on networks, and what they should have access to see. In this global world, those derailments really changed things.

“Attack vectors have also realigned. Attack vectors have really changed,” Orr said.

Network administrators must now look at threat sectors and determine how and where to spend money. They also need to know the technologies available and, more importantly, know that the attack surface is larger.

“That means they need additional sets of people or different skill sets to go in and address these open problems,” Orr said.

ROI also influences those decisions. What really drives the security issue is that typically a corporate expense must have a return on investment, he continued.

Ransomware turned rogue

The rise in ransomware attacks sucks money out of businesses. The strategy from the beginning was to never pay the ransom demand. From Orr’s perspective, the best strategy now depends on the circumstances.

Either way, ransom victims pay and hope for the best. Or they refuse to pay and still hope for the best. At stake must be a plan for the worst.

“I think it is an individual decision based on the situation. There is no longer one size fits all. Take a look at what the bad guys have and what they value. The bigger question is how to prevent it from happening,” she added.

Lack of software options

The cybersecurity industry isn’t just experiencing a talent shortage. There may be a shortage of advanced tools.

“I think there are a lot of basic technologies. I would start with the first. Really take a look. Cybersecurity products for some types of organizations are not really something you can buy. The first step is learning not to click on the phishing attempt,” Orr advised.

The solution begins with education. It then goes on to put some parameters in place. Determine what your most valuable data is. Then find out how to protect it. How do you monitor it?

“Cybersecurity really is a layered approach,” Orr warned.

Never trust, always defy

That was a big topic of the security conference, he continued. Part of the big change is not being able to trust web visitors.

“That was something that has really changed now, not to trust. Always check if it is the required approach. Now you are seeing things differently,” she observed.

We are making good progress. The difference is that now we are preparing for a cyberattack, he concluded.

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