As I review the week long RSA 2013 conference results, a couple of things stand out for me. First, it was another ‘record attendance’ number with over 24,000 attendees and the event featured over 360 companies from the cyber security industry. Given the growing sophistication of highly visible attacks not only on business and government websites, but now on media such as Twitter and on mobile devices, is it any wonder that the emphasis on security continues to grow?
Perhaps the most interesting topic of discussion in keynotes, sessions and around the hallways was on big data. In the opening keynote, RSA Executive Chairman Art Coviello spoke about how big data was a two-edged sword. On the downside, with the move to cloud computing, more-and-more of our data is becoming accessible – to those who should have access, and unfortunately, to those that shouldn’t. But on the upside, Coviello discussed how “Big Data Fuels Intelligence-Driven Security” and has the potential to transform security. In another session, several panelists went further to explain that big data usage in security doesn’t mean gathering and analyzing every single bit and byte that you can; there’s simply too much data zipping around the nets. It means diving deep and getting ‘the right data’ – even though I’m not exactly sure what that really means.
Everyone agrees that using big data as the basis for intelligence-based security systems means gathering, analyzing, visualizing, sharing and learning how to detect and respond to attacks more quickly.
One simple conclusion for network infrastructure technology companies is that the security software demands on our platforms will continue to increase – exponentially. In addition to high-performance platforms, such those that we used in our DPI demonstrations in our booth, we will also need carrier-grade servers to manage and analyze the ‘big data’. As I’ve mentioned in several posts on this blog, as networks become more intelligent using technologies such as DPI, SDN, virtualization and now, big data, the underlying infrastructure has to become more powerful and flexible to adapt to the changing demands. Otherwise, the network will be so consumed with keeping our data safe there won’t be much left for actually communicating!