RSA Conference 2016 – Collaboration and processing power are key to winning the security battle

Blog Post created by lawrence.latif Employee on Mar 3, 2016

This post has been authored by Diane Stapley, Director of Alliances at AMD.


entrance_picture.jpgWhen it comes to security conferences, the RSA Conference has long been the benchmark for the industry, with engineers, politicians and decision makers all converging in one place. For years AMD engineers and subject matter experts have been going to learn about the latest industry trends, meet with industry partners and forge new relationships that often result in exciting features in future AMD products.


AMD has an important role to play in computer security. Our silicon powers millions of devices around the globe and through the help of our engineers and industry partners, AMD platforms incorporate leading-edge security features that help our users keep their data safe.


Whereas conferences such as Black Hat and Defcon are stellar venues for low-level security disclosures, at the RSA Conference you can hear how contemporary security issues affect people, governments and large multinational organizations. This year’s conference had a wide variety keynote speakers such as US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, Director of the NSA Admiral Michael Rogers and tomorrow some Hollywood glamour will be injected into proceedings with two-time Oscar winning actor Sean Penn closing out the conference.


The last few years have seen security front-and-center in the news. Whether it was global brands in retail, national infrastructure, bringing your own smartphone or laptop into work, personal identity theft or security concerns over the Internet of Things, there’s no doubt that public awareness of this topic is high.


At the conference, speakers were quick to point to well-known security breaches in their keynote addresses and highlighted the need for encryption and security best practices. What was also very evident was many of the largest organizations are openly admitting that a single company does not hold all of the answers when it comes to security. Collaboration is the name of the game and when Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer highlights the work his company has done with Google, openly praising a competitor for its collaboration on matters of security and transparency, you get a sense of a willingness to work together. AMD has long used collaboration rather than prescription to provide security features, our work within the ARM TrustZone ecosystem is one such example.


When I talk to existing and potential partners there is one message I hear time and again; security is needed throughout the enterprise. Everyone is aware of anti-virus software that runs on their desktop or laptop, but enterprise security means securing the data throughout its lifetime right from the point of creation.


Securing our infrastructure --  the network equipment and servers -- is becoming absolutely critical to system security. Admiral Rogers pointed out the recent attack on a Ukraine power plant as an example of how critical infrastructure could be taken down by malicious actors. Such an example should put into sharp focus how important security is within the enterprise, where everything from intellectual property to the control over vital infrastructure are possible targets for hackers.


In recent years there has been a lot of talk about biometric authentication: the use of physical characteristics such as fingerprints or eyes to authenticate users. While biometric authentication was a popular topic at RSA Conference, a new trend looks to be developing to further increase security:behaviorial analytics.


This area of security looks deeper, beyond the password and biometric data to seek out usage patterns and determine the authenticity of the user. Processing power, especially in the datacenter, will be key to behaviorial analytics as it adds an extra layer of security, one that is transparent to users but improves their protection.


My time at the RSA Conference was both eye opening and reassuring. As is the case with such conferences, new types of threats and attack vectors were discussed but it is reassuring to know that the industry is working diligently to overcome these challenges. Perhaps most reassuring of all is that collaboration is the word that is most widely used as a means of tackling these challenges, and it is a model that AMD has adopted a long time ago, working with vendors such as Absolute, ARM, ExactTrak, Infineon, Microsoft, OptioLabs, Trustonic, ST Microelectronics and many others.


Security is a complex problem, but AMD, its industry partners and many others in the technology industry are working together to make it seamless and manageable for the user.


Diane Stapley is Director of Alliances at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.