The Defenders of the New Renaissance

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(T) They were this week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. I was a little bit disappointed by the 2007 RSA conference this year versus the previous years. The keynote speakers were not as great as they were in the past, the sessions were early in the morning and the Thursday party was not as good as the ones from the past (Especially the one in San Francisco in 2005). But anyway, it was better for the show to be in San Francisco than in San Jose as it was the case in 2006.

Definitely, the RSA Conference has entered a mature phase with the same routines, more attendees and more vendors. And, the conference is still mostly about information security rather than network security.

Following are my quick observations of the show both on the customer side and on the vendor side.

On The Customer Side

Talking to few of my peers at the RSA Founders Circle and randomly to some security managers from various enterprises, it looks like I was able “to feel” at the show a new need and a new trend about risk management.

Most of the vulnerability solutions are about scanning the various O/Ss and applications and reporting which ones should be patched.

And, the present risk management solutions are about assessing risks based on reporting and monitoring the configuration of the security devices.

All those products provide a down to top approach.

But having deployed so many security gears and still trying to assess the ROI on some of those, security staffs are now looking about securing different corporate assets with different level of security according to the business value of those assets.

Instead of spreading the security budget over the entire IT resources and network, let’s focus the security budget over the digital assets that hold most of the business value of the company and just provide the minimum level of security for other assets.

For some companies, the business value of their digital assets reside in their intellectual property, others in their customer data, others in their supply chain. Security risks must be evaluated according to the company business and security vulnerabilities much be articulated according to the type of digital assets.

That’s a top to down approach and I believe that this requires for a better risk management approach to the entire corporate assets and an approach that can be understood by the CEO and the CFO of a company.

On The Vendor Side

Most of the newly released products at the show were in the following three categories:
– Identity Management and authentication from RSA, Verisign, Oracle…
– Network Access Control (NAC/NAP) from Microsoft, Mirage Networks, TippingPoint and a large number of start-ups…
– Data Leak Prevention (DLP) from Websense, Vontu, Reconnex…

There were a few products for key encryption management such as the ones from RSA and nCipher.

And, a few products but not much for wireless security and storage security.

But where I was disappointed was in terms of network security technologies: very few products where shown for SSL and IPSec VPNs, and surprisingly not so much on Firewalls and IDS/IDP.

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Categories: Conferences, Cybersecurity