Reflections from RSAC 2024: Art of the people

  • Posted on May 23, 2024
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Top reflections from RSAC 2024

Fresh on the heels of RSAC 2024, I’m sharing some of my reflections from the biggest security conference of the year. As I suspect is the case for many others, it’s the people that bring me back to RSA. It’s the connections made with colleagues, partners and clients that inspire me and make me feel encouraged that we can secure a brighter future, together.

This year's theme, "Art of the Possible," emphasized collaboration and building trust. It got me thinking about my own personal theme, “Art of the People,” which centers around the imperatives of trust, diversity and partnership.

Learning #1: Beyond the hype – Bringing in process and leading with a people-first AI strategy
Unsurprisingly, generative AI was a major topic at RSAC 2024, from the expo floor to impromptu hallway discussions, everyone was talking about its impact on enterprise security.

Security leaders I met with discussed that there is a long way to go in understanding AI, how it can work for them and its security implications – some are concerned that it’s taking too much airtime. They feel the pressure to secure AI and know they will be judged on their response.

Against this backdrop, it’s critical that organizations understand how and why they're using AI and have a comprehensive approach that includes technology, people and processes. For AI to be useful and trusted, it must create value in context and be secure and transparent.

Avanade believes that those organizations using AI to empower people are the most successful. Take what we’re doing around Copilot for Security as an example. As an early adopter, we’ve been exploring Copilot’s potential to upskill our own security teams. As a result, we’ve experienced up to a 40% reduction in incident resolution time, with analysts empowered to respond faster and more effectively. We see transformative potential for our clients through increased agility, new insights for senior analysts and faster onboarding for junior analysts.

We’re helping clients get started in securing gen AI through three steps:

  • Govern: Understand your security and compliance issues related to AI
  • Protect: Take a secure by design approach to mitigate risk
  • Defend: Leverage AI for advanced threat monitoring and to bolster resilience against cyber threats

Learning #2: Securing governments with AI – The power of public-private collaboration
While at RSA, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion on securing the public sector in the new era of AI. As we know, public entities are particularly struggling in this area due to the shortage of skilled cyber resources.

Yet governments and public agencies have a higher bar to meet to ensure the trust of their citizens. When it comes to adopting gen AI, it is paramount that they put the security of their employees and constituents at the forefront of their strategy.

So, what is the way forward? Public-private partnerships that prioritize information-sharing are going to be crucial in combatting cyber threats and protecting users and systems. Private sector solutions can help remove barriers and streamline data-sharing across government agencies, while governments can leverage their knowledgebase to help make sense of data and threats.

For this partnership to work, it’s important that we understand and anticipate the unique requirements and needs of government agencies. One area that is disproportionally affecting the public sector is the AI skills shortage, which is both a hurdle to implementation and adoption of AI. This is a prime example of where the private sector can step in by helping governments set up training and development for their people to learn new skills like AI prompting.

Learning #3: Diversity in security – Taking home the MISA Diversity in Security award
One of the best ways to address the skills shortage? Cast a wider net when recruiting and hiring talent. That’s exactly what we’re doing at Avanade, where we believe that diversity fuels innovation. We're incredibly proud of the inclusive culture we’ve built that enables individuals from all backgrounds to thrive. From recruiting diverse talent to nurturing future leaders through programs like our STEM Scholarship initiative and Cyber Security Academies, we are committed to breaking down barriers.

We were delighted to have our work acknowledged at RSA in the MISA Awards ceremony dinner, where we received the Diversity in Security award this year. This win demonstrates Avanade’s significant commitment to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion to better serve security customers and foster change in the industry.

As we continue to face an ever evolving and expanding threat landscape, it’s critical that security teams have the diverse perspectives and experience required to combat complex cybersecurity challenges.

Looking to 2025 and beyond
As our business moves into next year, we’re going to be focusing on some key areas that will enable our people and our clients to meet these complex threats, including robust data protection, reinforcing cyber defense and partnering with the ecosystem in building resilience together to help our clients improve their cyber resilience. As in all things, our strategy will be people-centered and will have principles of trust, transparency and inclusion at its core.

Build cyber resilience and protect your business against ever-evolving cyber threats with Avanade’s Microsoft Security services.

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