June 13, 2018
Infosecurity Europe – or Infosec – is the biggest information security event in Europe. Over the course of three days in June more than 400 exhibitors attempt to outshine each other with their security solutions and products to impress the 19,500+ attendees, many of whom are industry analysts and journalists.
Unsurprisingly, the event is also frequented by a large number of PR and marketing professionals, aiming to not only improve their clients’ visibility, but also gain insight into broad industry trends. This year, for the first time, I was one of them, and here are the three main trends I picked up on:
With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) having come into force on 25 May it was bound to be a hot topic at this year’s event. Many vendors centred their messaging around how their solutions can simplify compliance with the new laws, and many of the most attended - and high profile - talks and discussions also focused on the crucial intersection between data privacy and security.
Highlights included Baroness Martha Lane Fox’s keynote address on ‘privacy and cybersecurity in the digital age’ as well as the panel discussion on the implications of GDPR between high profile speakers including Johnnie Konstantas, Sr. Director in Microsoft’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Group, and Nigel Houlden, Head of Technology Policy for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
State-sponsored cybercrime has been widely discussed for a while, and this year discussion seems to be increasingly focused around the potential impact of nation-state attacks on ordinary business and what they can do to prepare.
One of the most widely covered speeches at this year’s event was that of Robert Hannigan, former director general of the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), who opened the conference’s last day by emphasising that simply following basic cybersecurity etiquette, such as keeping software up-to-date and staying on top of network configuration management, can help businesses avoid “80 to 90 per cent of cyber attacks,” including state-sponsored ones.
It is no secret that many organisations are currently dealing with a significant cybersecurity skills gap. A Capgemini survey from earlier this year showed that there is a 25 per cent gap in supply and demand for cyber skills in the workforce, with 72 per cent of respondents predicting that demand for cybersecurity will be high over the next two to three years.
In light of this, many solutions to help organisations make sure their security teams are appropriately resourced were presented at the event, ranging from the prospect of machine learning as an alleviator for security professionals to improved recruitment processes that embrace diversity. Christian Toon, CISO of Pinsent Masons summarised the latter mind-set: “there is not a skills gap, there is an attitude gap” during a keynote panel discussion on the issue.
My first visit to Infosec was great. I learnt a lot and – most importantly – I now understand what my colleagues who are regular visitors were going on about. If you missed it, check out some of the highlights on Twitter. Roll on next year!