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AiThority Interview With Matt Gyde, CEO of Security Division at NTT cue card

Know Me

Hi Matt, please tell us how you prepare yourself for the disruptive world of technology?

To be part of the conversation, it’s important to understand the technology world holistically. Among the big disruptions are not only technology itself, but also its use, which is driving the demand for new approaches to security.

To keep track of all the changes, I spend a lot of time talking with clients and reading what the reporting and analyst communities are saying. Then I try to explain how, within that context, we are addressing client issues and industry demands. We’re ready for change because we innovate in ways that address these evolving needs.

From your vantage point, what have been the most impressive and important changes to your industry and how has it changed the way you work?

A key change that has been in the tea leaves for many years is innovation itself. That’s been driven by many players. Take an event like RSA, where there are over 700 companies, all trying to solve the fundamental issue of securing technology-led advantages.

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The ongoing innovation hasn’t really changed the way we work, because as I noted above, adapting to change and innovating is what we do. But if I can make two predictions about how the current crisis will impact the industry, I’d say:

1) With cash flow being the major issue for many companies, there is likely to be consolidation in the market; and

2) With the practically overnight trend of work from home we are going to see one of the biggest shifts in the industry to date — our security is going to move from on-premise hardware-based control to security-as-a-service all based in the virtual realm.

Companies that have thought through the online security of data, applications, users and devices will be able to take advantage of that shift.

Coronavirus has resulted in a major slowdown of economies. How do you think technology can help to revitalize economies back to any semblance of normalcy?

What is normal now? That’s the big question.

The world may not go back to what it was. The remote secure worker trend is probably here to stay, especially given cost advantages and any recurring threat from the virus. That means moving from thick branch/thin remote to thick remote/thin branch. Investment in cloud-based ways of working may serve as a catalyst for economic growth. Enterprises will try to minimize single points of failure in supply chains, and those supply chains need to be secure, and operate all over the world.

New forms of Cyber threats are emerging. Healthcare and financial institutions are the primary targets? How do you analyze these threats at NTT Data?

At NTT, we approach these threats from two perspectives.

The first is by analyzing all of the data that we are collecting from our global SOCs, combined with the metadata from the large percentage of the global internet traffic we see. Applying our own threat intelligence capability to these data enables us to produce industry-specific intelligence that we use to support our managed security services.

The second is through our global cybersecurity advisory service.

We analyze the current and target-state maturity of our clients’ assets — specifically their people, processes and technology — across multiple security domains. Then we anonymize the data to create a benchmarking dataset by country and by industry. That allows us to compare a client’s maturity against their peers, which better enables our consultants to deliver business-relevant recommendations.

A good example of how we combine all this information is in our newly released Monthly Threat Report, provides clients an industry-specific analysis of the threats targeting their industry. Most recently, yes, healthcare institutions have been targeted, with hackers exploiting general panic and the vulnerabilities created by increased remote working. The April edition of our Monthly Threat Report discusses protecting the remote worker and threat actors that are continuing to leverage COVID-19.

Beyond that, and as a result of this spike in attacks, we’re also offering no cost cybersecurity Incident Response support to hospitals treating patients with COVID-19 through early June.

AI, Blockchain, low-code devops, and RPA techniques are making a huge impact on the current security tech markets. Where is the overall AI-ML market heading to in the next 4 years?

AI has evolved incredibly over the past few years, and there are no signs of its slowing down. AI is finding new use cases every day, and it’s fascinating to see its development and impact on the industry.

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That being said, it’s not as much the AI/ML technology that is making the biggest difference, but rather the data. Having access to vast amounts of data, knowing how to curate and process those data is what really makes a difference when it comes to developing the models that underpin AI and ML.

In the next four years, we’ll see many new use cases for AI in cybersecurity, but we’ll also see a concentration of AI in the global organizations with access to refreshed datasets that can keep it going and improving over time. There are many startups exploring different ways to apply AI and ML to fill gaps, but many of them are struggling to get access to the datasets required to get the level of accuracy required for the job.

Tell us more about the team you work with? What kind of skills and abilities does one need to be part of your security product development team?

In our market, there are active and evolving adversaries, and the “problem statement” keeps changing with every passing day as new threats develop.

As a result, we’re looking for security product developers with the unique ability to keep abreast with the latest and greatest from a technology perspective, while also working closely with threat researchers around the world to develop product capabilities that address the growing threats from adversaries.

Apart from selling AI-as-a-service to customers, what other ways do you think businesses should leverage AI and Intelligent automation to sustain growth in Security markets?

Businesses should use the combination of automation, artificial and human intelligence to solve one of the biggest challenges in the security market today – an acute shortage of security professionals. The exponential growth in the breadth and depth of security breaches compounds the challenge of securing any business today.

Automation and AI provide the scalability required to protect today’s ever-growing attack surface. A great example here is automating the interaction between detection and mitigation. Linking continuous AppSec monitoring with web application firewalls, for instance, can provide real-time risk mitigation.

Is it safe to say that AI and Machine Learning development have finally outgrown their IT predecessors? Is it now an industry and a service in itself?

Specific to cyber security, AI is critical to deal with the increasing shortage of talent, as noted above, and the need to detect and respond more quickly and appropriately. However, cyber security is also a domain where we’ll continue to build on the human/machine collaboration for an unforeseeable future.

And, there are still things that the IT predecessors excel at. Accurate AI is invaluable, but accuracy is heavily dependent upon the fidelity of the training data. Threats rapidly change.

That means tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) have to evolve quickly, which requires constant retraining, tuning and evaluating. Establishing a threat sometimes comes down to determining the intent of activity.

In order for AI to do that, we need something else, like artificial generalized intelligence (AGI), which is still while out!

I’d say AI/ML is definitely an expert area of its own, but how it’s applied and trained is still generally domain-specific. So, no, it’s not yet an industry of its own.

What is your opinion on the “Weaponization of AI technologies”? How do you promote your ethical AI ideas in the modern digital economy?

All technology tends to come with a positive and negative application. There are already examples of successful use of AI for malicious activity, and we’ll probably see this evolve at the same pace as AI in general. Just as we can apply AI to detect malicious activity, threat actors can use AI to establish weak points, avoid detection, and so on.

Ethics is an important topic in our domain in general.

Cybersecurity is a lot about building trust with our clients, so regardless of whether we’re looking at red-teaming or blue-teaming exercises, the skills and knowledge of our experts require a well-tuned ethical compass to provide value to our clients.

Similar to how our application and penetration testers are trained in ethics, our AI experts are attending conferences where ethical challenges with AI are being discussed and debated. It’s a very good idea, especially when you’re looking at AI from different aspects, to consider the ethical angles before bringing it to production. It’s also about leading by example and showing how important ethics is to us as an organization and to our clients.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

David Dewalt

Thank you for answering all our questions, Matt!

Matt Gyde is the President and Chief Executive Officer, Security Division at NTT Ltd.

NTT Ltd. is a leading global technology services company. Working with organizations around the world, we achieve business outcomes through intelligent technology solutions.

For us, intelligent means data driven, connected, digital and secure. As a global ICT provider, we employ more than 40,000 people in a diverse and dynamic workplace that spans 57 countries, trading in 73 countries and delivering services in over 200 countries and regions. Together we enable the connected future.

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