Lorna will be hosting the session Security Threats and Trends - Middle East Region at (ISC)² Secure Summit MENA in Dubai on the 21st and 22nd November 2017.
I’m one of those speakers that every year presents a topic that has the same title. I wonder if people at some point ask themselves ‘Is she presenting this topic again?!’. I started this in 2010 and have been repeating it every year since then. What’s this miraculous topic that never gets old you wonder? The topic is Security Trends and Threats in the Middle East.
Now, as you can imagine (if you work in security or even if you’re remotely aware of security), although the title is the same the content never is. We live in a world where the security realm changes so fast and so frequently that a slide deck I have prepared in March, would be obsolete by June. For me to keep the content updated, I have to read all the latest security research documents (or at least as many as is humanly possible to read and ingest) and summarize the interesting and relevant information into a 30-minute presentation deck.
This year it was different. Once I started researching about the latest security threats, I had to go into strategic and tactical threat intelligence topics which naturally took me into Security Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Security Analytics, Cognitive Security Operations - to name a few of the terms that just a few years ago sounded like science fiction, but right now they’ve arrived to our daily conversations. All of this gave me pause. I wondered if next year, instead of me standing up to present the latest security threats, there would be a computer doing it. Looking at the solutions available in the market today, Watson Security Advisor, Project Havyn, Einstein, and others, I wondered if next year, someone from the audience would ask ’Watson, what are the latest security threats in the Middle East?’ and Watson would be presenting in my stead. As AI and Cognitive solutions come into our daily security operations, I wonder whether humans are set to become obsolete or will they have more time to concentrate on more advanced decision taking activities? Will I still be presenting with a richer content because of AI input or will I myself become obsolete?
I don’t want to go into theories of Rise of the Machines and I seriously doubt that it would come to that. I think that the more realistic prediction of the future would be that humans would reach to a degree where they can differentiate and understand what AI would be best in and what humans would be best in and find that balance.
One thing is for sure, we (in security) need all the help we can get to stay ahead of these threats that seem to be coming at us with higher velocity and causing larger impacts. Who would refuse a smart and structured partner such as AI) to help forge the path forward towards a more secure world?