High-Lights: Our Tech PR POV

RSA Day 2: Getting More Involved in the Cyber Issues that Matter

While yesterday’s RSA keynotes highlighted the need for increased trust and transparency in cybersecurity, today’s discussions were all centered around how to make those changes a reality – starting with getting individuals more involved in the issues that matter.

Calls for Comprehensive Legislation

Harvard Kennedy School’s Bruce Schneier kicked off the conversation by discussing how technologists can get more involved in impacting cybersecurity legislation. While the internet has developed exponentially since its creation, legislation surrounding it has not. Schneier stressed that this needs to be changed and it needs to start with people who understand the technologies dominating the security landscape on both sides of the battlefield.

He touched on current cybersecurity regulations like the EU’s implementation of GDPR, Australia’s implementation of legislation that enables law enforcement to access encrypted data upon request, and how the U.S. can start getting more involved in the conversation. The takeaway? If we want technology to continue to grow and expand in a way that is going to be beneficial, we have to get it under control. And the best way to ensure its longevity is by getting the people who know it best more involved.

Power to the People

Microsoft’s Corporate VP of the Cybersecurity Solutions Group, Ann Johnson, also used her time to discuss the more human aspects of the industry – namely noting how expanding the cyber workforce and increasing its diversity will be the best way to propel the technology behind it. She emphasized that work in cybersecurity can be the most rewarding, yet the most taxing. This could explain both the exceptionally high stress rate among industry professionals and the three million job openings still vacant within cybersecurity organizations.

Johnson encouraged organizations to prioritize a diverse workforce and to foster more positive atmospheres. She discussed how these steps can boost employee retention and provide variety in organizational approaches to issues. She also noted that more diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. Johnson highlighted how work in technology and cybersecurity, in particular, is beginning to change. As today’s tools become more capable of alleviating some of the responsibility formerly held by human counterparts, professionals are starting to explore new avenues in the field. “Tech is amplifying our human capacity to separate the humans from the noise,” Johnson said.

Combining Tech and Human Intelligence

Facebook’s Head of Cyber Security, Nathaniel Gleicher, and Twitter’s VP of Trust and Safety, Del Harvey, also discussed the necessary partnership between tech and human responsibility, which together allows platforms to better differentiate between human and non-human interference and determine next steps accordingly. They each discussed some of the sensitivities that both platforms face when regulating user content, most notably how to differentiate technical interference with legitimate content so as not to violate users’ first amendment rights. But both individuals noted that as technology continues to advance, the lines between technology and legislation continue to blur.

Overall, day two of RSA highlighted the incredible contrast between just how far technology and cybersecurity have come, and how much farther the industry and legislation behind it must advance in order to keep it as reliable and benevolent as possible. But if today’s speakers emphasized anything, it was that change is never quite as far away as it seems –  in fact, it is already taking place and it is starting with security technologists like you and me.