Like many of you, I recently had the great pleasure of attending the 2020 SAYA 10x Cybersecurity Awareness Tour. For those that missed it, this event was originally planned to be an in-person event hosted in Japan, but became the biggest virtual cybersecurity summit in history, spanning every continent and time zone over 4 days. It was amazing to see and hear key thought leaders sharing from their experiences, and to be able to interact with cyber-minded folks from all over the globe. There was a lot of great learning and these are just some of my “Robservations” from the event.
It Takes a Village, People!
I’ll pause while you finish singing Y-M-C-A in your head.
Whether you are a practitioner, vendor or curious by-stander, we all know intuitively that cybersecurity is a big challenge. Right from the initial session on the State of Cybersecurity in Japan, to the final closing thoughts, one theme was clear. We need one another. We need to share information on threat vectors in the face of an ever-increasing landscape. We need to share practices for sifting through noise to identify real problems before they can take down a system. And we need better ways of addressing cyber threats that encompass collaboration and shared knowledge.
We have all heard of the coming skills gap in cybersecurity. For this reason, I was especially encouraged to see the number of people that are currently in mentoring and working to address this head on. Organizations like Cyber in Africa, Infosec Girls, CyberXR and many more shared great insights and tips for providing opportunities, connecting to a community, training and skills. And there is always room for more.
Cybersecurity Is At The Heart of Tough Issues
Another great aspect of the SAYA 10x summit was the variety of topics that are relevant. Topics like Artifical Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Emerging Technology trends have been rising in importance in the cyber space for some time and were certainly topics of panel discussions and sessions. But I was grateful to see so many poignant discussions around personal privacy, data protection, bias, leadership and how to balance cyber initiatives across geographic boundaries.
For instance, consider the significant discussions occurring around using temperature readings to permit admission to public places. While nearly all would agree that using these readings once at the time of entry makes sense, should that information be stored? If it is stored, should it be allowed to determine access to a different location at a future time? And then there is always having to consider the reality of taking software introduced to perform one task and using it in ways that were unintended and unforeseen.
The point is that cybersecurity is forcing these hard, but necessary conversations to happen everywhere, which leads to my last big “Robservation”.
Cyber is Infinitely Better When The Community is Open and Diverse
I heard a great quote recently from Rick Warren that was about the pandemic but I think resonates well with the state of cybersecurity: “We are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm”. Cyber threats are something we all deal with. We all have devices that need protection. We all have data that is collected and stored in various places that needs to be secured.
We all have some level of risk.
It’s also true that different nations, governments, organizations and individuals all have some means and resources to deal with these. But in order to really attack and deal with the challenges of today – and tomorrow – we need to realize that no one entity is equipped to tackle it all alone. We need to embrace different perspectives and ideas. We need to be willing to try unconventional tactics. We need open discussions that span multiple points of view. It is what diversity is really all about. I was personally glad to make several new friends from many different backgrounds and locations through chat discussions and virtual networking rooms throughout the week.
The SAYA 10x Summit event was a great way to connect with diverse cyber-minded kin and I’m looking forward to their next endeavors. If you have not heard of SAYA University, you can learn more about them here and I would encourage you to follow them on LinkedIn to keep up to date on future events.