August 11

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Some practical thoughts on change, Industry 4.0 and machine identity protection in cybersecurity

By Client Services

August 11, 2020


In the spirit of full disclosure, please be aware that I’ve received compensation for promoting this #ad for Venafi’s Machine Identity Protection live streaming event on 13 December 2018. Because your success is important to me, I only align myself with brands I believe in, and Venafi is one of them.

“Turn and face the strange,” I said, “Just gonna have to be a different man.”

The one-liner from David Bowie’s classic song, ‘Changes,’ was the perfect way to end my keynote on humans, machines and the rapid changes that beset us in cybersecurity.

I wanted to spark my audience’s imagination and leave them contemplating. This was my cue. If ever there had been a time to get them to open up and exploit their own thinking it was now. I wanted them to dig deep, debate with one another, and fully explore the paradox of change. The change that everybody says they want.

Take an average day.

I open up my browser; flick through my cell phone; turn on the radio, TV, or media services like Netflix, Sky or Amazon Prime. I listen to broadcasters and chat show hosts reporting on change. People say they want a better economy, as well as education, health, transport, legal and political systems. They say they want more peace, stability, distributed wealth and care for the environment.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

I attend an event; meet a client and am interviewed by a journalist. Executives say they want faster and more accurate cyber risk identification, sturdier protection of their data, financials, intellectual property and privacy. They want greater agility, resilience, competitiveness and profits. The C-suite wants more top talent, to attract and retain more women, to be given bigger budgets, and for far more stakeholder engagement, understanding and support. Practitioners and consultants want higher salaries and bonuses. Some want equal pay for equal work. All want workplace flexibility, and much more praise.

I listen. I observe. I pay attention to the predictable routine that invariably ensues. And, here’s what I notice. Everybody wants the result, but hardly anyone is prepared to own the process. Hardly anyone is willing to commit, endure the transformation, do the work and disrupt the patterns of behaviour that they’ve become accustomed to. Hardly anyone is prepared to challenge the status quo, put their reputation on the line and to lead the change.

I understand why.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

If you focus on maintaining what you have, any change has the potential to disrupt the operation and increase its risks. All change carries significant risks to you, too. Personally, and professionally. And, as cybersecurity is a high-challenge environment, the likelihood of you being used as a scapegoat for data breaches, compliance failures and hacks is high.

I remember a savvy entrepreneur summing it all up years ago,

‘The fundamental need in life is not survival. Rather, it’s the need to not have to endure change.

I’m sure you get this. Yet, the paradox is that change is constant, natural and inevitable. And, for the modern, business driven, cybersecurity leader, change is something that they not only have to embrace but get good at.

Here’s why.

We’re on the cusp of the 4th industrial revolution, or industry 4.0.

From now on, the world will experience unprecedented change, with growth being the common element. In cyberspace, growth means more people, more machines (physical devices like laptops, servers and routers, plus software like virtual machines (VMs), mobile apps, containers, algorithms and APIs), more connectivity and much more data.

In the next decade we’re going to see an intelligent cloud with all of the world’s data moving through it or being stored in it. No longer will the Internet just be limited to laptops or smartphones. Increasingly, it will connect previously unconnected machines.

With over 90% of the world’s population (roughly 7.5 billion) expected online by that time, over 125 billion machines will be connected to it. That means homes, appliances, clothes, and for some people, even their bodies. Cyborgs — beings with both organic and biomechatronic body parts — won’t be fictional concepts saved for the movies. They’ll be real and standard in our everyday lives.

We’ll see people getting around in autonomous cars that they’ll call on from a pool, rather than own and drive. Medical devices will diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications and provide remote surgery procedures and real-time updates to hospitals. We’ll all be transacting via crypto currencies and using the blockchain technology. We’ll also be using nanotechnology, biotechnology, quantum computing, and having multi-device and multi-sensory experiences through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). And artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, bots, drones and robotics will replace many of the jobs that we do today.

Machines won’t just be collecting, processing, and transmitting data. They’ll go further. Rather than making recommendations, they’ll be interacting with one another — visualising entire production and supply chain cycles and following through on the actions they decide to take.

Machines will rule our lives and we’ll become totally dependent on them.

This excites me, despite being aware of the risks.

Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum feels the same and in his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, he writes,

‘The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril. My concern, however, is that decision-makers are too often caught in traditional, linear (and non-disruptive) thinking or too absorbed by immediate concerns to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.’

He calls for leaders and citizens to come together to,

‘Shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first, and foremost tools made by people for people.’

I agree and call on you to get proactive in shaping the changes that are to come.

Thanks to the 4th industrial revolution, you are now on the move. Living in the shadow of speed, this means you must continually renew yourself on the path of excellence – the one that’s required to secure your organisation and uphold your reputation in the market. You must accept that what got you here today is not going to take you into the future. Now is the time to level-up and become a cybersecurity leader who has the hard and soft skills to effectively manage your organisation through the disruption. And, as Bowie reflected in his song, defy your critics, step out on your own and reinvent.

When you do, fully appreciate the evolution of humans and technology. In today’s and tomorrow’s world, it’s not a case of humans verses machines, but humans AND machines. That’s why you must consider the two threat actors in your network – humans and machines. Think about their remits and how they’re connecting and communicating securely. For example, to access data and systems, humans identify themselves to machines by using usernames and passwords. Machines, on the other hand, connect and communicate to other machines by using cryptographic keys and digital certificates.

Look at the dependencies between humans and machines, too. This is important because increasingly more focus has been placed on protecting human identities rather than protecting both human and machine identities. Be aware that cyber attackers know this. They understand how vulnerable machines are right now, and of their value. That’s why they’re devoting more time and resources to stealing machine identities than ever before.

I therefore encourage you to learn about the latest measures in machine identity protection. Keep ahead of the pack so you don’t get left behind. Sign up to Venafi’s Machine Identity Protection event, which will be streaming live on 13th December 2018. The URL is: https://www.venafi.com/livestream/influencer/machine-identity-protection

During this event, you’ll hear from Venafi’s CEO, Jeff Hudson, as well as CISOs, analysts and partners from leading, indexed companies. With a wealth of experience across different industries, they’ll be explaining exactly why you need machine identity protection.

Here’s the URL again: https://www.venafi.com/livestream/influencer/machine-identity-protection

Now I want to hear from you…

  • Tell me what insights you have on humans and machines and how you think we’ll be working in cybersecurity with the changes that are to come.
  • If you’re using machine identity protection, the benefits you’re reaping.

And, if you’d like to know more about machine identity protection, sign up for Venafi’s Machine Identity Protection event which is streaming live on 13 December 2018. You won’t want to miss this. The link is: https://www.venafi.com/livestream/influencer/machine-identity-protection/.

Finally, in the spirit of full disclosure, once more, please be aware that I’ve received compensation for promoting this #ad for Venafi’s Machine Identity Protection event.

Client Services

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