This past week, the Advanced Cybersecurity Center (ACSC) held its annual conference in Boston, to bring cybersecurity leaders together to discuss the criticality of innovation in the cyber industry, but to riff on issues impacting companies relative to the growing threatscape.
The ACSC conference punctuated the fact that small, targeted conferences with compelling speakers and practitioners are worth attending to learn and share from peers.
What was also evident based on some of the vendor-specific sessions was that there is a growing level of innovation in cybersecurity in Boston, from startups to more established firms. Its no longer just Silicon Valley that is producing the hottest cyber technology, and Boston offers a very unique environment across business, talent and academia.
Interesting topics from leading cybersecurity practitioners that pushed that addressed forward-thinking concepts as well as practical elements included:
- Cyber insurance
- Collaborative intelligence-sharing without borders
- How to find and harness cybersecurity talent in the wake of a talent shortage
I had the privilege of presenting on a fantastic panel assembled and moderated by Greg Dracon, Partner, .406 Ventures, a leading venture capital organization with an impressive cybersecurity portfolio, based in Boston. The session was entitled "Next Wave Technologies: The latest technology developments and trends are addressing the next wave of cyber security challenges and opportunities". Vendors presented brief company overviews with a technical angle on differentiation, and even some practical examples of their emerging technologies.
“The combination of an abundance of reasonably-priced deep tech talent, universities with established Infosec programs, engrained enterprise DNA, dozens of successful cybersecurity companies and easy access to Europe/Israel as well as the world’s early-adopter cyber playground (financial institutions in NYC) makes Boston the place to build a cyber security company," said Dracon.
"You won’t find this combination of ingredients elsewhere in the world, let alone the U.S. Boston has truly become the preeminent cybersecurity hub of innovation – not just on the East Coast either, but for the global industry on the whole," he added.
The other five companies next to CounterTack included: Cybric, Hexadite, ThreatStack, Pwnie Express and GreatHorn. All six are representative of the technology expertise and progressive cybersecurity environment across the Boston market.
BOSTON'S ROLE IN CYBERSECURITY
From innovation in SaaS orchestration from Cybric to agentless security automation from Hexadite, its clear that cyber technology has evolved from a singular point-focus, and has moved to what I’d call “enablement phase.” In other words, making it easier on security operators and teams to eliminate time-intensive manual processes.
The panel also featured emerging companies like ThreatStack, who is performing continuous monitoring and alerting on cloud infrastructure, Pwnie Express who is detecting threats over wireless connections and GreatHorn, who are pushing application security to the next level.
I was speaking to one attendee who manages security for a large financial services organization headquartered in Boston. He told me he is often inundated with an overload of information on new cyber startups.
“I want clear information that builds on what legacy technology has accomplished," the attendee said. "We have to innovate as much as the vendors are to keep up with the how attack methodologies keep changing.”
It's clear that organizations worldwide have needed a more innovative and unique approach to cybersecurity – and the influence of Boston on the broader cyber world is growing rapidly based on the innovation on display last week at the ACSC conference. Listening to the presentations, its reassuring from an economic standpoint that the fertile ground of innovation, new methodologies and skill development is percolating right here in our backyard.
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