RSA Conference day 3 recap: we’re solving people problems

· 2 MIN READ · ANDY RODGER · APR 27, 2023 · TAGS: Company news

Whether RSA Conference 2023 attendees know it or not, we’ve come together this week to solve people problems. It’s easy to think of cyber criminals as a faceless, nebulous mass, but in reality they’re just people using technology for nefarious means. The millions of open cybersecurity positions signal recruiting shortcomings and lack of clarity for people who might be interested in security careers. Artificial intelligence (AI) is on everyone’s mind, but even that conversation focuses on how generative AI brings people closer to technology than previously imaginable. At the core, these are people problems.

No matter the session topics or the booth messaging, many RSA attendees aim to arm defenders with the resources they need to protect their orgs and customers from cyberthreats. But what are those resources? The first answer that comes to mind might be new tools, or more advanced technology, but the right answer is teamwork. No matter what technology we use, we can’t protect our organizations alone. It takes a village.

Many sessions throughout this year’s program focused on exactly this. When the CISOs of the NBA, NHL, and NFL joined a panel to discuss how they protect major sports leagues and high-profile athletes, they emphasized how they collaborate and share their challenges, best practices, lessons learned, and actual security intelligence.

According to Ahmed Al Hammadi of the National Cybersecurity Agency in Qatar, securing the 2022 FIFA World Cup—the largest sporting event in the world—was only possible through close collaboration between the Qatari government, cybersecurity and technology consultants, vendors, and other subject matter experts. He emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships to defend against cyber attacks related to these events, and, in the same vein, he committed to working closely with the 2026 event organizers when it’s held in North America.

In their outstanding session, Strengthening Cybersecurity Through Inclusion, Camille Stewart Gloster of the White House Office of the National Cyber Director and Rob Duhart, Jr. of Walmart, talked about how security teams need to comprise diverse voices and backgrounds. They noted, “diversity is a deterrent,” and “we underestimate the adversary when we build homogenous teams.”

Even the sessions that weren’t all about security stressed the importance of community and collaboration. Eric Idle of Monty Python fame—after admitting that he knows nothing about security—noted that the five members of the troupe wrote every word for their shows, movies, albums, and more. He said that while the different members would go off and write in small groups, they’d come together to present their ideas to the whole group, and if everyone laughed, they used it. He even talked about how George Harrison of The Beatles financed the production of Monty Python’s The Life of Brian after initial funding was pulled. Harrison mortgaged his home for the cash needed to make the movie. Sometimes, even Monty Python needs a little help from their friends. (Sidebar: when Idle asked Harrison why he wanted to pay for the production, Harrison simply told him that he wanted to see the movie.)

We all need the support of the community if we’re going to win this cybersecurity battle. We can solve the shortage of cybersecurity talent, figure out the best ways to apply generative AI, and build diverse teams better equipped to fight the good fight. But there’s only one way forward to solve the most important challenges facing our industry, and that’s together.