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RSA Conference 2009 - Cisco and McAfee Weigh In

Created: 22 Apr 2009 • Updated: 18 Dec 2012 • 2 comments
Bob Angus's picture
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This week I am taking a break from my ecommerce focus to deliver live coverage of the RSA Conference in San Francisco, CA. The Wednesday afternoon keynotes focus on confidence and how security stays a few steps ahead to keep us confident in an ever-changing world. Of course, as everyone transacting online knows, confidence = trust and trust = SALES. So the news and trends coming out of the premier security event should be of interest to everyone. And make sure to follow me on Twitter and the VeriSign Twitter team for constant live updates.

Cisco CEO John Chambers and McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt each had keynotes at RSA Conference 2009. Both focused on how to build confidence via better security in an ever-changing world.

Cisco - Operational Excellence Over Innovation

John Chamber provided a picture of how collaboration is opening up the world and how new ways of communicating can drive future growth. However, with these new methods of collaborating, we create to new security risks. Ultimately, if security fails and the bad guys win, confidence will erode and that future growth opportunity can wither.

According to Chambers, the opportunity for security to stay a few steps ahead of the bad guys is not just about innovation. The race is too fast to rely on just running forward as fast as possible. The fight will be won with a architectural plan and operational excellence. Cisco is building a comprehensive security architectural approach into their products and services and operational excellence occurs when one integrates these systems.

McAfee - Predicting the Unknown

Dave DeWalt used the analogy of predicting the weather to defending against the many attacks we face everyday. I loved this analogy because I always used to think of weathermen as often inaccurate shamans. No confidence at all.

Now we have meteorologists who can pretty effectively predict whether it is going to be a rainy day or a 100 degree scorcher. Now I am confident that I can leave my umbrella at home. The same goes for predicting where the next attack will be initiated. How McAfee sees it, we can be effective in predicting the unknown by employing the same approach as meteorologists:

  • Sensors - Deploying sensors everywhere to gather data just like the weather sensors floating out in the ocean, flying amongst the clouds and posted across the land.
  • Communication Hub - Creating a central place to read, communicate and store data like the satellite that reads all the weather sensors and communicates to databases back on the ground.
  • Learning - Multi-vector correlation and learning systems just like the programs that meteorologists use to analyze data.
  • Global - Finally instantaneously disseminate the security analysis and remedies globally.

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John Hyde (Site Doublers)'s picture

Good metaphor about predicting the future.

But could a weatherman forecast a totally new kind of weather that had never ever happened before ?

Just off the top this could be something weird like a PC virus that disabled your home alarm system then told the burglars where you live.

In other words something very novel. Not just more of the same.

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Ares Vista's picture

This analogy would work if God or nature changed the weather to counteract our attempts at prediction.

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