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AI & Humans: The Perfect Pairing To Secure Your Network

Takeaways from a virtual conference

Brandon Hoffman
Post by Brandon Hoffman Aug 07, 2020

If you’d asked me 5 months ago if I would’ve thought one of the world’s largest security conferences – Black Hat USA 2020 – would be fully virtual, I’d probably ask what’s wrong with you and quickly walk in a different direction. However, here we are in August 2020, with the first ever virtual Black Hat USA now wrapped up. While different, there have been several pros in remotely joining the conference including skipping out on navigating huge crowds to make my next session, and of course, not having to worry about what to wear under my desk.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to take part in a great video panel discussion with some fellow cybersecurity professionals: BrightTALK’s panel entitled Key Signs Your Network is at Risk of a Cyber Attack, hosted by Diana Kelley, Cybersecurity Field CTO, Microsoft, with panelists including myself; Jack Mannino, CEO at nVisium; and Mike Weber, Vice President Innovation, Coalfire.

With the proliferation of network-connected devices, applications, and ever-evolving complex network architectures, managing your organization’s networks is becoming increasingly more difficult. This discussion offered several useful insights on how to identify security gaps in your network; how to close these gaps: best practices and solutions; recommendations for managing and securing complex enterprise networks; and more.

In particular though, I wanted to take a moment to highlight one theme from the conversation which revolved around AI and humans, and how – when paired together – we stand the greatest chance having true resolution intelligence, ultimately removing blind spots.

It’s been said that people are the most critical asset of a company, they are also a company’s greatest risk (as an entry point themselves). As architectures shift so dynamically in today’s world, the only way to fully manage all your assets, maintaining visibility, is through automation. Having asset visibility and monitoring in an automated way is the only way to truly eliminate the blind spots within attack surfaces. Humans alone cannot accurately audit all the assets within a company so we need automated tools to help us find them all and where they all reside – whether that be in the cloud, the data center, or wherever else.

But let’s not be too quick to discredit what humans bring to the table. At the same time, we must acknowledge the importance of also having that high-touch human add as part of this AI-driven process. For example, having your SecOps teams check in with your DevOps teams can help steer conversations and give hints towards the initial areas that need to be vetted for the presence of a vulnerability.

When you are able to get the visibility of your full assets via AI-driven processes within your architecture, at the end of the day it still requires people to dissect and vet to help solve the problems in the end. While we like to think a tool can help solve everything, the human aspect (paired with AI) ultimately leads to resolution.

If you’d like to hear more, please visit the BrightTALK panel here.

Brandon Hoffman

About the Author

Brandon Hoffman

Technology enthusiast, avid traveller and culinary expert (in my own mind). Trying to contribute meaningfully to the cyber security community and solve problems while maintaining my time ninja status.

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