Who do you trust? Cybersecurity conversations at Envision
April 23, 2021
Trust. It's simple in concept and devilishly complicated to achieve in today's digital world.
That's one of the thoughts I brought with me to Episode 3 of Envision, our digital series for business leaders, presented by Accenture, Avanade, and Microsoft. I was joined by the host of Envision, Mariana Atencio, along with Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President of Security, Compliance, and Identity at Microsoft, who urged companies to take a comprehensive approach to security, with zero trust as the foundation.
Interesting phrase, zero trust. It says so much about today's world. In a way it's a shame: We have to start out not trusting—'zero trusting'— and can only build trust with continuous verification that we are who we claim to be with the right business authority. But such is life in the digital age, and I'm thankful that zero trust principals give us a starting point for working honestly and quickly with each other.
Zero trust is a significant enhancement to traditional network security, which postulated that once somebody was inside the network, they were good to go. Recent history shows us that was a mistake. We shouldn't bestow trust until it is proven through continuous authentication, authorization and validation—which holds true for machines as well as people.
The second point I carried with me to the event was that while not all organizations have moved to zero trust, they should—and quickly.
One question I had for Vasu was around the sizeable step up in the scale and sophistication of cyber threat activity and her answer was spot on. It focused on the importance of a comprehensive security posture. She noted that Microsoft believes in looking at security from every angle: security, compliance, identity and management, and those protections must extend across a customer’s entire estate—all platforms and all clouds and all partners. Many companies need to transform the way they think about this.
That was a point well taken at Envision. But sound cybersecurity also requires greater resilience— not just at the corporate office but throughout the business ecosystem. When you're working with 4,000 SMBs, that's at least 4,000 potential weak links. This points to the need, highlighted more than once at Envision, that companies need to align with partners who can apply global scale and investment.
Another theme hit on more than once is security as a business enabler. Companies that embed security and privacy into the design of digital transformations—to cloud, for example—grow faster at a lower cost (especially on the vendor consideration side) with better trust.
When I think about I'm how lucky I was to be a part of Envision, I have to give a shout out to the keynote by Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, who shared his thoughts on the promises and pitfalls of technological change and how individuals, organizations, and governments need to take greater responsibility in addressing global challenges. He was joined by Trevor Noah, Host of The Daily Show, to discuss how to think about the future following the pandemic. That was really fun.
Athina Kanioura, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer of PepsiCo, offered practical advice for organizations looking to harness the power of AI in a responsible way, while Avanade CEO Pamela Maynard explained how companies can become more inclusive and why it should be central to business growth.
During a segment on skilling, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky and Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro were joined by Alexandra Badenoch, Group Executive for Transformation, Communications, and People at Telstra, to discuss changing workplace trends, why people and organizations alike should adopt a "skills-first" approach, and the role that technology can play.
The program concluded with a conversation between Brad Smith and Amal Clooney on how the Clooney Foundation for Justice is using technology to advocate for justice and human rights.
I think we all can learn from Envision to do our own part in making the world more secure, more private, with better equality that help us, as the Black Eyed Peas would say, “one tribe, it’s all one blood, don't care about your face, the color of your eye, or the tone of your skin”.
To watch a recording of the entire episode or individual segments, visit the Envision website and register. I hope you'll join us for Episode 4 on Tuesday, June 15, where topics will include using tech intensity to drive opportunity, embracing responsible AI and protecting customer data.
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