RSA 2013: Innovating for Better Risk Management

Amy Larsen DeCarlo
Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • Even with IT budgets extremely tight, security remains a funding priority for the enterprise in the face of a virulent threat environment, as was clear from the crowds at this year’s RSA Security Conference.
  • Security challenges associated with BYOD, virtualization, application layer attacks and the skills gap are driving organizations to focus on identifying vulnerabilities and prioritizing assets for better risk management.

Where there is a will, there seems to always be a way when it comes to IT security breaches.  At times, it seems as if the IT security industry and hackers are running on parallel tracks when it comes to innovating to prevent and launch attacks, with tenacious hackers too often getting the upper hand.  Yet, as the high attendance figures (approximately 24,000) at this year’s RSA Security Conference in San Francisco show, the enterprise is hardly ready to give up the fight.  Instead, vendors and managed security service providers (MSSPs) alike are continuing to come up with more advanced mechanisms to find and fix vulnerabilities and better mitigate risk to prevent exploits.

Everything from more effective intrusion detection and prevention techniques and better identity and access management solutions to more sophisticated analytical tools and service promises to give commercial and public sector organizations a solid defense against constantly encroaching hackers.  However, in what are increasingly dynamic and highly virtual operating environments with vanishing perimeters and limited internal security resources fending off attacks from often ingenious hackers, IT professionals can feel like they are fighting a losing battle.

The fact is that even the best-resourced enterprises have to make decisions on how to prioritize or run the risk of fighting the wrong battles.  To this end, MSSPs seem to be elevating their focus on better managing risk in order to stave off or at least limit the impact of cyber attacks.  This requires organizations to prioritize protection of their most critical assets.  At the same time, MSSPs can help by finding and fixing their client’s greatest vulnerabilities and then tying together a security strategy that maps to the assets which are most precious to their customers.  Everything from intrusion detection and next-generation firewalls and multifactor authentication to DDoS mitigation, big data analytics and advanced correlation has a role to play in steeling the enterprise against savvy attackers.  However, at the heart of the matter is the IT organization’s ability to structure its policies, security architecture and practices in a way that can identify and address the greatest risks to its operations.

Are vendors and MSSPs improving their risk management capabilities?  What gaps still exist in their solution sets?  What solutions do you think are most promising?  Which ones are still too complex or under-developed to meet your needs?

What do you think?

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