High-Lights: Our Tech PR POV

RSA Day 2: Finding New Ways to Explore ‘The Human Element’

RSAC 2020 continues and day 2 kicked off with keynotes and presentations focusing on the prevalence of nation state attacks and the rise of ransomware, leveraging intrinsic security within your organization, and offering an introspective look at the ways technology continues to shape our lives.

For a full recap of day 1’s activities and key takeaways, be sure to check out Highwire’s day 1 blog recap if you haven’t already.

Hacking Exposed

Today’s RSAC started off with a bang as former Crowdstrike CTO and co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch commenced the day’s keynotes with a global debrief on some of the world’s most active nation state threat actors, an analysis of 2019’s top cybersecurity trends (disclaimer: top three were ransomware, ransomware and ransomware), and predictions for the global threats to come in his keynote “Hacking Exposed: Global Threat Brief”. He analyzed major nation state players like North Korea, China, Vietnam, Russia and Iran, and broke down why 2019 was the year of ransomware. “Everyone is a target”, Alperovitchexplained, noting that not only did ransomware dominate headlines in 2019, but also that in 2020 we can expect to see that trend continue along with an increase in threat activity from attackers in Russia, Iran and China. 

Alperovitch also expounded on ways that the U.S. and other western states can mitigate the long term impact of increased nation state attacks – namely by increasing regulation in cybersecurity and expanding the reach of legislative policy in the industry, but also by embracing new technologies and defense strategies as attackers evolve. “The bomber will always get through,” Alperovitch explained. “But just because you have an intrusion doesn’t mean you need to have a compromise.” 

Making Security More Intrinsic

Taking a closer look at the InfoSec world and the current state of cross team collaboration between security and IT teams, VMWare’s Patrick Morley and Southwest Airlines’ Carrie Mills explored ways to make security more intrinsic within organizations, outlining ways to simplify organizational security approaches. New findings from VMWare showed that 77% of SecOps and IT teams don’t engage well. By highlighting ways to maintain positive relationships across teams, both Morley and Mills showed that cross team collaboration will ultimately lead to more successful organizations. 

Technology in New Spaces

But the real highlight of the day was hearing from former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, and the first woman to command the International Space Station (twice), Peggy Whitson, who discussed not only the possibilities that innovation and technology continue to bring to our everyday lives, but also how to embrace challenges head-on, how to work with new teams (even when they’re 238,900 miles away) and what diversity and inclusion mean in the technology industry today. 

Not only was Whitson NASA’s first female Chief Astronaut, but she’s also spent more time in space than any other American astronaut – male or female. Of her 10 (record-breaking) space walks, not one of them came easy or without hiccups along the way. Elaborating on a single instance when an array that was in the process of being deployed tore in space, Whitson highlighted the cross team collaboration – the human element – that ultimately led to the repair of the array and the eventual success of the space mission at hand. 

Teamwork was one of the core principles highlighted in Whitson’s talk, but so was diversity and inclusion – and not just embracing diverse demographics within an organization, but also empowering diverse perspectives as well. Massimino pointed out that ‘if everyone thought the same way, we would have never gotten to the moon’. NASA’s ability to promote collaboration among teams by leveraging individuals with diverse thought processes and diverse skill sets has ultimately led to the immense amount of innovation and success the organization has been able to achieve over the years, Whitson pointed out. “It’s the human element that makes every group stronger,” Whitson said. 

Overall, today’s speakers really highlighted the need for the collaboration – both across the industry and within internal security and IT teams – to solve both industry and business challenges with increased efficiency, and tomorrow we expect to hear more on the cyberthreat landscape.

Anything we missed? Feel free to send us your thoughts, comments and suggestions at SecLeads@highwirepr.com – and let us know if you’re in town for RSA! We’d love to catch up. 

Tune in tomorrow for another recap of #RSA2020 day 3!