Security has always been a factor in business — and it has evolved to counter an increasingly elaborate threat landscape. Simple door locks have over time been joined by CCTV. And as interactions become more digital, online security has also quickly moved far beyond its own simpler beginnings.
This rapid rate of change appeals greatly to Gary Alterson, Rackspace Technology Vice President of Security Services. “I’d get bored doing the same thing day in, day out. But the security landscape changes so fast,” he said. “We buy and install new technology, change our tactics and processes, and then attackers react.”
Keeping a step ahead is vital. During his 25 years in the industry, Alterson has helped many companies — some of which thought about security too late: “One global corporation became collateral damage for an attack on another company. Malicious code got in. Within minutes of a single PC being infected, servers and manufacturing devices on the factory floor were down.”
The result: weeks of cleanup; significant financial impact; an organization having to shift focus to remediation; and, very nearly, life-saving medicines not reaching hospitals in time. It’s a harsh lesson showing that when digital security is not appropriately considered, there are very real ramifications.
These issues form the core of the latest episode of the Cloud Talk podcast. Alterson joins Rackspace Chief Technology Evangelist and podcast host Jeff DeVerter to discuss the importance of security for modern businesses, the challenges they face and key strategies to implement.
In just 30 minutes, the pair discuss:
- Why a lax attitude to security can derail digital transformation
- The increased threat surface exposed by low-code/no-code technologies
- How users are a company’s biggest vulnerability — and how to deal with them
- The importance of trust for access and validating identities
- The need for visibility so you can quickly detect and react to anomalous events
- Why basic security hygiene remains vital in a fast-moving tech environment
Get all these things right today and you must still keep thinking about the future because, according to Alterson, “the constant cycle of change, reaction and evolution is like an arms race between defenders and adversaries.” Technology doesn’t stand still. A decade ago, people talked about firewalls to protect networks. Now, said Alterson, the focus is on how to “protect companies as they move to cloud-native environments, what to do about big data and even the impact quantum computing will have.”
The latest technologies provide tools to assist. Security threats can happen so fast or so subtly that AI and machine learning can be indispensable in identifying them. But companies must be aware of all the options — and correctly implement them. After all, as Alterson said: “Time really matters in security situations — and you have to do everything right all of the time. An adversary only has to get past your defenses once.”
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