RSA Conference 2013: “Lets embrace big data” says Coviello


“We are the champions. We in this audience are the champions of a trusted digital world”. This is how Art Coviello, CEO of RSA, started his key note at this years’ RSA Conference in San Francisco, which saw a record number of attendees. Art is responsible for RSA’s strategy and day to day operations as it delivers EMC’s global vision of information centric security. Although Art started on a positive note, he went on to say that things could get a whole lot worse before they get better as he discusses the various security issues we are facing today, in particular the use of BYOD and Facebook.

For all of the buzz, there’s tremendous confusion about the term, ‘big data’, because it represents more than just a lot of data. Fundamentally, big data is about the ability to extract meaning, to sort through the masses of data elements and find the hidden patterns, the unexpected correlation and any surprising connections. It’s about analyzing vast and complex unstructured data sets at high speeds, to solve innumerable problems across a wide spectrum of industrial, non-commercial and governmental organizations.

Early on in his keynote, Coviello says information security professionals need to embrace big data and the potential it holds, if they are to succeed against new and emerging threats. Security issue is big on the agenda across the globe, including the UK, but Coviello is optimistic about the future. He has faith in the ability of intelligence-driven-security and big data analytics to help put defenders ahead of attackers.

There is an additional challenge we are all collectively facing, a very disturbing escalation from our adversaries that we need to have a thorough understanding of. This is referring to the recent attacks that go beyond intrusion and appear to be coming from a nation that sponsors terror and hacktivist groups.

It is therefore important that we do not over-hype the threat, but to rather ensure a better understanding so that organisations can take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

Art made a point of saying that he dislikes the term ‘cyber Pearl Harbour’, as he believes it to be a poor metaphor to describe the state we are in now. Triggering a physically destructive event solely from the internet might not be impossible, but it is highly unlikely.

Art ended his speech by saying that we are at a critical crossroad – where we are in the next phase in the evolution of the Information Age with this convergence of Big Data, mobility, cloud and our social media-driven society.

As well as Art’s keynote, the event saw a number of other announcements during the week including the RSA NextGen Security Operations Center (SOC) services, designed to help customers build battle ready cyber defense, the expansion of the technology partnership between RSA and Juniper networks and the release of RSA’s Authentication Manager 8.

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