McAfee MPOWER Intro

May 20, 2020

Industry conferences are a great way for you to network with other professionals, improve relationships with vendors, and learn about new products and trends in your field. While these are all good reasons to make the trek, there’s another less tangible side effect that is even more valuable. Attending a conference provides a necessary interruption to your routine. The break-out sessions, trainings, presentations, and keynotes cultivate inspiration, offer new perspectives, and renew excitement for subject matter that can become stale in the context of the daily grind.

This past November I attended the McAfee MPOWER conference in Las Vegas and it was just what I needed to reinforce and stimulate my interest in all things cybersecurity! I was invited to MPOWER by McAfee, based on my 18+ month role delivering the McAfee MVISION Cloud CASB at a client. As the primary Solution Architect responsible for the project, I have been responsible for everything from the design of the supporting infrastructure to the creation of enterprise patterns that describe the integration of the CASB with eligible applications. My experiences highlighted some key concepts that I often overlook in my daily role as a Security Solution Architect:

Cybersecurity impacts EVERY industry

My primary clients at Systems Flow have been in the Financial Services space which was very well represented across the 1,000+ conference attendees. However, I was quickly struck by the diverse set of industries represented – public sector, private sector, insurance, and manufacturing among others. It became clear very quickly that Cybersecurity is ubiquitous. Bursting out of my Financial Services bubble gave me a different perspective on the challenges that we face on a daily basis.

Migration to the Cloud is causing major waves in the Cybersecurity space

Okay, so this shouldn’t have been much of a surprise – the rapid emergence of AWS, Azure, GPC, and other Cloud technologies has been a major disruptor across the IT landscape. Cybersecurity is at the heart of all things IT so it would make sense that it would be impacted as much as anything else. All that said, it was a bit jarring that every presentation and discussion turned to the Cloud before too long.  The security implications of PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS intersected with every conversation, as expected.  The migration of various security tools and devices to the Cloud was less expected, considering that these are typically tightly controlled in isolated on-premise networks.  The bottom line is that you can no longer talk security without talking Cloud.

Integrating Cybersecurity tools and managing data are a top priority

I’ve always disliked the phrase “Single Pane of Glass.” It’s one of those buzz-terms that is often misused or misplaced in marketing materials to set unrealistic expectations with unsuspecting business stakeholders. Over the course of the MPOWER conference I realized that, while the phrase may fail in most specific situations, it is an admirable goal and one that is becoming more and more necessary for Cybersecurity professionals. The set of security tools that are moving from “nice to have” to “must have” is ever-expanding, and those tools all produce data…lots and lots of data! User activity logs, web traffic, security alerts, configurations/policies… mountains of data are gathered and processed on a daily basis and it is quickly overwhelming Security Operations Centers’ ability to adequately respond. Integrating tools and implementing intelligent methods to find meaning in the noise are quickly becoming hard requirements for an effective Cybersecurity practice.

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