On May 15, 2018, IBM is holding a unique one-day security event at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in the heart of London. I caught up with IBM’s U.K. & Ireland Director of Security, Rob Sedman, to find out more.
Question: Thank you for your time today, Rob. Tell me about the Security Summit.
Sedman: I’m very excited to be leading our first ever Security Summit in London. We’re bringing together CISOs and security leaders along with their teams to meet and hear from experts in the security field, both from within and outside of IBM. Our speakers include Keren Elazari, Bruce Schneier and IBM’s own CISO, Shamla Naidoo, to name but a few.
We’re lucky to have some of the best security experts in the world at IBM and, by bringing them to London, we’re hoping that many of our clients will come and learn from them. That’s a primary reason we’re having a summit in London: With so many organizations based here, it’s the perfect location to bring people together.
Why is it important for CISOs to attend these kinds of events?
We all have busy jobs and lives, and sometimes it’s hard to make time, but I think it’s crucial that CISOs get together and share ideas. I have no doubt that the cybercriminals are working together, so we all need to be working together too if we are going to beat them.
It’s also vital to have the most up-to-date thinking in security. Threats are evolving constantly so it’s important to step back from time to time and take a fresh look at your security posture. Is what you’re doing still the best it can possibly be?
There are hundreds of security events every year. Why should a busy CISO make space in his or her diary for this one?
What I think really makes this event unique is that it’s all about practical, real-life learning. We’re not going to be sitting in a darkened room all day listening to PowerPoint presentations on topics that have been covered a thousand times. Instead we’ll be hearing short, sharp talks and stories from the field. There will be interactive workshops that you can go back to the office the next day and actually apply. For example, there are sessions around the role of the board in managing cyber risk and around how you can really reduce response times in a cyberattack.
It’s also a relatively small and intimate event. We want people to have the chance to actually speak to the experts and get their questions answered.
Who are you most excited to hear from at the Security Summit?
I think Dr. Saif Abed has a fascinating perspective. He’s a hugely insightful guy, he wrote a blog about the possible ramifications of a ransomware attack on hospitals just months before the WannaCry cyberattack hit the NHS. I think stories like his really bring home the importance of security to society: Not only can cyberattacks mean lost business or lost money, but they can also mean real people’s lives on the line, and that’s a scary thought.
I’m also excited to hear from Bruce Schneier. He’s a bit of a security rock star so I’m sure his talk will be very interesting. And, of course, Keren Elazari — her TED talk is brilliant. It’s been viewed by over 1.5 million people and was translated into 25 languages. I can’t wait to hear what she’s been up to since then. Keren’s storytelling style will be great at the end of a packed day — it’s a fantastic reason to stay to the end.
Sounds like there’s a lot to look forward to! Finally, I hear there’s a reception on the roof terrace at the end of the day, what’s the plan if it rains?
There’s some great views of London from the terrace, across to the London Eye and The Shard. You can even see the IBM office on the South Bank, so I’m hoping the great British summer won’t let us down. Fingers crossed!