What are your thoughts on our future ability to defend ourselves? — Chapter 7

What are your thoughts on our future ability to defend ourselves? — Chapter 7


Ed Amoroso

Mike Armistead

Now I want to talk to you about your cybersecurity experience, we’ll set aside the CEO of the company, but I want to get your personal opinion on the future where some of this is headed.

When you’re having a beer with somebody and they say – “hey this Cyber Security thing…and throw their hands up” – what do you say? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? We are in a weird time where you hear about the potential consequences of attacks on critical infrastructure, power plants and so on – do you worry about that as a citizen? Have the risks grown from when we were doing this a few years ago?

Yes, I think so – I do worry about those things. I probably wouldn’t stay in the business if I wasn’t about some of that.

You don’t have brochures that say “buy our product and everything is fine”. It’s not the way anyone sells, it doesn’t work that way. As an experienced guy, do you worry about these catastrophes?

I do, as we just talked about a little earlier, there is a sophistication to the adversary. As we talk about adversaries, they’ve got a lot time and only have to be right once. We’re starting to see the sophistication being really well-educated teams from gov’t sponsored organizations with a lot of money to do things. I do worry about that.

Going back to Respond a bit, the shortage of skilled, capable people to be able to do that – we got to give other kinds of things for this fight, other weapons that can be in this.

Here is where my optimism will show about the future – two things that I will bring up:

When the chess master vs big blue (machine) was going on, you wonder could a machine actually out dual a chess master? Now we have Google with their Go. If you look at this today though, sometimes the person wins, sometimes the machine – but every time it’s a person and machine together, they always win if they’re just taking on another person or another machine. That’s something that we could start to outfit people with, we need to think in combinations of this — it’s not one or the other.

The other thing I’ll say is that 5 years ago I couldn’t image a self-driving car either. I think people have gotten it right – in that it’s about safety, it’s not really about this cool feature. It’s about trying to make the roads a little bit safer and for everyone else – there’s a lot of distracted drivers out there

Self-driving cars could save 30,000 lives a year.

Back to your question, I worry about it, but I am also bit of an optimist. We can start to get ahead of this by applying things in the right way. We need to be more integrated in how we approach this, not just have silos. No longer just look at the latest hack and get after that. It’s going to be people, processes and technologies – not just any kind of technology or any one person.

Great answer! Are you enjoying running the company?

I am, after having been through this a couple times already – I’m a little more calm! There are times when you certainly have the stress associated with it. But at least these days I know where those tar pits are and I have a lot of people I can come to for advice – ask them what they think about specific things. Again, having that network and knowing you’re going to get through this is helpful. Keeps you a little more calm.

Well keep doing the great work you’re doing! We need you too, it keeps us all safe! I hope you’ll come back and share with us again and give us an update. Well see you next time!