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Network World - Editor's note: Here's a transcript of RSA President Art Coviello's RSA Conference 2010 keynote address, which includes his thoughts on cloud security and more.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to RSA Conference 2010. This gathering becomes more important each year. More than just the occasional story of a database breach, cyber vulnerabilities and attacks are topics in the mainstream media as never before.
Underlining the criticality of the situation, this week you will hear from Secretary Napolitano, FBI Director Mueller, White House Cyber Security Coordinator, Howard Schmidt and a host of industry and Government Leaders.
It just never seems to get easier for us as vendors and practitioners... does it? Malware at pandemic levels, a global economy struggling to recover in a straitjacket of cost controls and a new wave of computing struggling to take hold --– cloud computing.
But it could get easier. How? By leveraging the technologies enabling the cloud to secure it. Sounds heavenly. But as my father used to say: "Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die to get there."
And because cloud computing represents a challenge as well as an opportunity, we have to be careful we don't end up in security hell.
Whenever I feel boxed in by a big challenge, I like to look to history as a reminder of the boundless creativity of the human mind and its ability to completely re-imagine aspects of life that to others seem unchangeable.
We don't need to look any further than the recent past and the man we honor this morning, Whit Diffie as well as our own "R", "S", and "A" for this kind of creativity in their re-imagining of cryptography.
These are people who see what others before them cannot -- no matter how hard they look. And from their insight, they build a new vision -- sometimes quite literally.
Consider another inspiring example. Imagine what it was like to live as a blind person during the three centuries following
Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. The printing press represented a sweeping transformation of the information infrastructure
of the time. It changed forever the way thoughts, knowledge and information were shared.
And yet if you were blind you would have been locked out of this new world of recorded knowledge.
Then in the early 1800s along comes Louis Braille -- blind since the age of three. As a 16-year-old, he envisioned and then devised a system that would enable the blind to write as well as read. His curiosity led him to a form of communication used by soldiers on the battlefield at night when they needed to send written messages to each other … but didn't dare light a match.
Braille adopted their grill of raised dots … but dramatically improved and simplified their system … and it persists today. As one historian put it, "Braille was the Gutenberg of the blind."
How does this relate to our industry and our situation today?
I believe, we in the security industry need a more elevated and expansive vision connected to the huge wave of IT transformation under way right now that is cloud computing. Think for a moment about why cloud computing is so powerful.It enables businesses to leave their aging, inflexible and costly IT infrastructures behind and move to a new "pay as you go" world characterized by choice and agility.