Snippet: The NSA and RSA relationship certainly overshadowed a lot of the conversations and sessions at the RSA Conference this year. But beyond that particular industry controversy, there were two recurring themes we saw running through many of our interactions at the event.

The NSA and RSA relationship certainly overshadowed a lot of the conversations and sessions at the RSA Conference this year. But beyond that particular industry controversy, there were two recurring themes we saw running through many of our interactions at the event.

The first was the question of how to break the apathy that hinders innovation in cybersecurity. The second was a recognition that, just as the threat landscape has changed, so industry solutions are evolving fast – and in every direction. The problem is that no one can agree on what online authentication security should look like.

Nawaf Bitar, senior VP and general manager of the security business unit at Juniper Networks, in his impassioned keynote speech on Tuesday, took issue with the industry’s apathy to the biggest security challenges facing us: mass data collection and fast-emerging cyber threats that he fears could destabilize countries and markets. “The time for apathy is over,” he said. “We can no longer remain passive. It’s time for a new type of active defense, which challenges the economics of hackers and disrupts data collection.” 

Bitar added that companies are too quick to dismiss anything outside of the tried and tested. “We’re stifling innovation by being over-critical when cyber-defence challenges convention.”

So what does innovative, truly effective cybersecurity look like? That’s the rub – everyone has a different answer. If you walked around the two expo halls, which featured around 400 companies, you would have heard 400 different answers. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, but common themes included biometrics, mobile technology, advanced analytics and out-of-band passwords.

My position, and Entersekt’s, is that mobile devices offer the best opportunity to protect consumers and users of online services; a superior combination of convenience, cost and out-of-band security supplying the necessary second factor of authentication. The phone is always with us, it can be identified uniquely as ours, and the user experience can be as simple as pushing a button.

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Christiaan Brand

FORMER CTO

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Entersekt is an innovator of customer-centric fintech solutions. Financial services providers and other enterprises rely on our patented mobile identity system to provide both security and the best in convenient new digital experiences to their customers, irrespective of the service channel. With us, they can concentrate on their innovation roadmap, while delivering intuitive, low-friction digital experiences to their customers.