NetEvents European Media Spotlight, London, June 5th 2017

by Mark Fox

NetEvents European Media Spotlight opened in London’s Chelsea Harbour – a rare visit to its homeland – to enable press, vendors and analysts from around the globe to discuss issues around Innovation, IoT, AI and Security.

Security was the key issue of the day, with an opening keynote, discussions, and two debates around the topic. What made it unusual was the in-depth keynote speech from ex-GCHQ Deputy Director of Intelligence and Cyber Operations, Brian Lord. He delivered his experience of security from a state perspective. Among his many points, he talked about how many attackers are now state-sponsored but said that they are all, basically, criminals.

Joined on-stage by Arthur Snell, ex-MI6, Guy Franco, ex-Israeli Military Intelligence, and quizzed by analyst Alan Zeichick of Camden Associates, he talked about how the power relationships between attackers and defenders is changing, and what the wider societal impacts this will have over time.

The theme continued with the next panel debate, led by Mike Spanbauer, VP of Security Test and Advisory at NSS Labs, which focused on how new tools can help both enterprise and governmental organisations respond to cyber-attacks.

A second debate moved the game on further. Opened by analyst Duncan Brown, Associate VP at IDC, this panel discussed the current threat landscape – such as ransomware, spearphishing and credential theft – why those threats are so difficult to defeat, and what cutting-edge technologies exist to combat them.

NetFoundry founder and president Galeal Zino then gave a short presentation on his company’s vision for application-driven networking, an overlay that provides security as part of a fourth industrial revolution.

Hybrid cloud has been the acknowledged goal for enterprises for some time, so the next panel looked at how the efficiencies of the hybrid datacentre can be leveraged for the enterprise of today and tomorrow.

Following an update from analyst Joel Stradling, research director at GlobalData, on the future of software-defined WANs, in which he discussed the pros and cons of SD-WANs in the enterprise, the penultimate panel returned to the topic of security. Alan Zeichick took to the stage once more to lead the panel discussion on tools, techniques and technologies to protect the network endpoint. Discussions emerged around the importance of the basic protections afforded by tools such as anti-virus compared to some of the more esoteric technologies such as AI.

The final plenary panel was all that stood between the audience and lunch. It was led by Ovum analyst Rik Turner and dissected the practical applications of artificial intelligence to cyber-security cloud and the Internet of Things.

The main event ended there, but was followed after lunch by intensive round-table discussions between the press and vendors, and between some of the vendors and potential channel partners. The event was rounded off with a boat trip up the Thames.

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