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CEO Roundtable: Network Security In 2017 And Beyond


As new technologies, software and online platforms become more integral to the workplace, corporate security strategies must evolve in tandem with advanced threats to network security. A one-size-fits-all approach may have once sufficed to address broader security concerns, but individual company needs are rapidly diversifying as newer, untested network technologies flood the marketplace.

Last month, JSA's New York Telecom Exchange — a C-level networking event — hosted a CEO roundtable with these specific matters in mind, roping in global tech experts from Facebook, Cyxtera Technologies, Zenedge and more. These are the highlights.

Automating Security And Defense

Machine-to-machine protection — leveraging artificial intelligence and pattern analysis to combat data hacks and breaches — is the key to the future of network security, cybersecurity firm Zenedge co-founder and Chief Product Officer Laurent Gil said. 

“Very often, when the attack is very sophisticated, you actually don’t fight someone, you fight another artificial intelligence that is changing its pattern and its behavior on the fly,” Gil said. “The only way you can protect [against] this is to have the same source.”

Facebook Vice President of Network Engineering Najam Ahmad said many network security problems fall under two primary categories. First, most solutions cannot be bought on a large scale from the industry and those that can be purchased are narrowly aimed at security problems. Second, responses to security incidents need to be able to detect and mitigate or solve problems within seconds — a solution that may require removing humans from the security process altogether.

“Anything you want to do in seconds, you can’t have a human involved,” Ahmad said. “At times, mitigation requires taking devices offline, quarantining them. So you have to build platforms or the ability to actually detect ... and mitigate and take a platform completely offline without a human getting involved.”

Moving Forward: Bringing Businesses Worldwide Onboard

Businesses have yet to invest in sophisticated protection technology en masse. Despite the nearly sensationalist nature of frequent news stories and headlines regarding network hacks and data breaches, it is rare to see CEOs and management personnel punished or suffer public consequences for not having the proper defenses in place.

Data is the greatest persuader. One way to show board members the massive implications of unprotected networks, Ahmad said, is to have a red team hack into a company’s unshielded infrastructure and pull up the data.

“If that doesn’t freak them out … all it takes is to say, ‘Look, I’ve got all your user data here on a server outside your infrastructure,’” Ahmad said. “And that’s all it takes.”

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