RSA's Security Decoded conference opens in San Francisco's Moscone Center March 1, and RSA President Art Coviello will be giving his keynote address bright and early on the morning of March 2.
Coviello is always good for a prognostication or two-or more. This year he'll be talking about key trends he sees, including this one: that organizations are firmly on the path to cloud computing and will not be deterred by the compounded challenges of compliance, data protection and risk management in virtual environments.
"Small businesses and multinationals, local governments and sophisticated agencies are relying on this industry to not only deliver security services through the cloud but to ensure levels of protection in the cloud that meet and surpass that of physical environments," Coviello wrote in his keynote abstract. "Collectively, we've got what it takes. Game on."
Because of the advent of faster, more complete security applications and databases and increased bandwidth, enterprises now have multiple ways to check identities, permissions and credentials in real time-something that just wasn't realistic until recently. They also can outsource this service if they want, for "security in the cloud," so to speak.
"Last year, EMC [owner of RSA Security] bought a company called ConfigureSoft, which does configuration management, which is the source for our SIM [security information management] platform," Coviello told eWEEK. "So now we can tell if a server has been updated with the latest patches; we can tell what type of information is on that server, whether or not it's encrypted, and so on."
ConfigureSoft's technology will help RSA Security establish these multiple data points for enterprises to use to determine whether an event is serious, Coviello said.
EMC and RSA are "continuing to invest in that area, in fact we'll probably have some more announcements this quarter in that regard. I think that this is a trend in security that's actually accelerating," Coviello said.
Coviello said he sees another trend for 2010: small and midsize businesses having trouble handling new security threats.
"The degree of sophistication of threats and the magnitude and volume of the threats is such that SMBs can't keep up," Coviello said. "The old managed security services providers that used to manage firewalls and VPNs for folks-I think they're going to see a new birth of activity as people outsource more security controls because they just can't manage them all. That, in essence, becomes a security cloud service-or multiple security applications being made available in the cloud by an [outsourcing] service provider.
"With regard to smaller organizations, we will need to finally face the fact that these operations are ill-equipped to understand, let alone stand up, the security required to defend against today's attacks," Coviello said. "We need to offer security services that are cost-effective, convenient and transparent."
This comprehensive type of "software-as-a-service security in the cloud" needs to be distinguished from embedded security in private cloud infrastructures, Coviello said.
"The main drivers of this outsourced security trend are not only the magnitude of the threats but also the need to save money on infrastructure costs, which are driving people to consolidate in data centers and virtualize servers, desktops and entire infrastructures," Coviello said. "In so doing, we're building cloud offerings that make you more efficient."
Security Decoded is scheduled for March 1 through 5. Go here to see the agenda.