(ISC)² Secure Summit EMEA in Review

Isc09-d3-closing-wesley-video-still-08On April 16, at the World Forum in The Hague, The Netherlands, (ISC)2 COO Wesley Simpson provided closing remarks to summarize some of the key sessions from the two-day Secure Summit EMEA event as it was wrapping up. To give you a window into the kinds of topics addressed during the Summit, what follows is an excerpt from his address.

[Edited for length]

Now, to close out the 2019 (ISC)² Secure Summit EMEA, let’s take a few minutes to look back at what we can take away from this year’s event.

I’ve had a chance to speak with many of you while we’ve been here this week, discussing the future plans for (ISC)², your excitement about our certifications and the changing cybersecurity landscape.

I really appreciate both the warm welcome our members and delegates here in Europe have given us, and value the feedback and candor you’ve shared.

The last three days have taken us on a journey into the inner workings of cybersecurity – from the technical to the complex regulatory, legal and professional challenges that we tackle every day.

Our workshops started this journey, dropping us deep into the world of GDPR and the public cloud.

Understanding the wide-ranging implications of a data breach in order to prevent one, and to ensure legislative compliance, is a powerful skillset to have at your disposal. The exercise we ran here on Sunday was a fascinating opportunity to experience, make mistakes and learn in a safe simulation environment.

We’ve had a clear reminder, both in our keynotes and throughout our sessions, that cybersecurity is not just a technology consideration, it is a people issue as well.

Dr. Jessica Barker explained how pessimism about cybersecurity can needlessly hold us back as professionals. We may be under constant pressure to keep our environments safe from cyber threats, but we also need to remain optimistic about the future -- the potential for technology, knowledge and creativity to help us in combating challenges we face and keeping users, data and systems safe and secure.

And the importance of people in everything we do doesn’t stop there. There’s a lot we can learn from the experiences of polar explorer Felicity Aston, who was good enough to join us here on Monday. I’m sure her address on leading people into some of the most difficult and unfriendly terrain on the planet sounded very familiar to many of you.

The terrain may be digital, but it’s just as challenging. The importance of having the right mentality, outlook and intestinal fortitude is as important in security as it is in polar exploration.

Again, thank you to Felicity for a story not only about the importance of people, but also for showing us the value of diversity in a group of people, and how it can amplify the skills and creativity within a team.

The people theme continued in our conference tracks, where the role of professional development was at the forefront of day one. We learned more about the role of positive security, engaging with the small and medium-sized business community about information security, and dealing with security crisis management – which is all about us as people and how we react and respond to a difficult situation.

We also looked at the impact of social engineering on users, and what we can do to help protect them from the onslaught of phishing and other scams designed to trick unsuspecting individuals. We tackled incident forensics in a series of talks that looked at the steps needed to place your organization into a forensic mindset. Also, we discussed using a playbook to respond to incidents in a repeatable and transferrable manner.

Yesterday, we also had a glimpse of the future.

We took a deep dive into the world of blockchain and debated how much it will change things. Either way, the blockchain revolution is taking hold. As Joseph Carson covered, the blockchain hotbed of Estonia is embracing the technology as a means to improve information security and identity management for everything from voting to healthcare to banking. It’s clearly a technology we’ll be watching closely.

Our future gazing didn’t stop there, as Lorna Trayan took us through a range of future technologies that have major implications for cybersecurity professionals, including AI and quantum computing.

Last night’s networking reception was a chance to relax, reflect and network. It was great to spend time with so many of you at the museum and discuss what we’re doing to support you and add value to your (ISC)² membership. And of course, we also had a chance to explore some really great art exhibitions.

With The Hague being the home of Europol, the International Criminal Court and many other legal and policing bodies, I know I found today’s sessions on the role of law enforcement in cybersecurity particularly eye-opening . . . especially hearing what the City of London Police is doing through its Cyber Griffin team to educate and inform.

The work of police officers to teach people the basics when it comes to protecting themselves online is hugely valuable, and it’s work that we as cybersecurity professionals can support with information sharing, vigilance and evidence gathering.

On the flip side, enterprise victims taking matters into their own hands after an attack was also put into stark focus for us earlier today. The world of so-called “hack backs” works hard to remain in the shadows, but poses real threats to all of us.

We’ve looked at the public perception of our industry and how to improve public understanding of what we do to protect users and data. We were reminded how mainstream opinion is shaped by the portrayal of cybersecurity in the media. It’s just one of the outward educational challenges we face as cybersecurity professionals – communicating within our organizations and our communities about the real threats posed by cybercrime, inadequate policies and bad cyber safety habits.

I was also incredibly inspired by the story of the Human Genome Foundation that Susanne Baars shared with us. We use the term disruptive technology a lot in this industry, but I think we can all agree that data insights into the human genome and its potential for improving global health and well-being is disruptive technology we all welcome.

A very special thanks to all of our speakers – for taking time out from your busy schedules to join us and to share your insights and experiences.

Together, your sessions are the DNA of the Secure Summit, and the education and guidance you’ve shared with your peers over the last three days will have a lasting effect on everyone. Ultimately, it will foster best practice and keep us all on track to maintain a safe and secure cyber world.

So, again, thank you for being here and for being the base on which this event is built.

And finally….

Thank you to all of YOU for coming. Thank you for participating. Thank you for being the best and brightest our industry has to offer. Thank you for everything you do to help create and maintain a safe and secure cyber world.

It’s been our pleasure to host you this week and we look forward to seeing you in London next year.

But for now, please join us in the Onyx room for closing drinks.

Thank you.

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