Three Decades On: RSA Labs Sets Course for Future

RSA Chief Technology Officer and head of RSA Labs Dr. Zulfikar Ramzan says his company, which pioneered commercial applications of public key cryptography, is setting its sites on the future as it looks to embrace the disruptive security solutions of the future. 

The joke is that “change is the only constant” in the information security business. Cyber criminals – as it turns out – are great innovators and among the earliest adopters of new technologies. That puts a premium on innovation cyber defense, as well.

[Also check out: RSA Labs: cloud, microservices, mobility shift terrain for security providers]

But ‘innovation’ is often something that’s easier said than done. And, as history has proven, innovation isn’t an unallied good. Not all innovations are equal and some may, in fact, be faddish and counter productive. Blockchain, for example. The distributed ledger technology that provides an accounting of Bitcoin and other crypto currency transactions, has been hailed as the next big thing in information security, despite the fact that few practical information security applications for the technology have been proven.

Zulfikar Ramzan RSA
Dr. Zulfikar Ramzan is the Chief Technology Officer at RSA.

So what does the near future of information security hold? To find out, Security Ledger sat down with Dr. Zufikar Ramzan at the recent Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas. The Chief Technology Officer at RSA Security, a division of Dell/EMC, Ramzan is also the head of RSA Labs, where he is responsible for overseeing research on the next generation of security products and services.

[Read also: A Tale of Two Industries: the RSA Conference in 2018]

The oldest pure-play information security firm, RSA pioneered the commercial use of public key encryption and has been a leader in areas such as fraud detection and identity management. But Ramzan said that the job of inventing new, disruptive technologies is wholly different. “Innovation is disruptive and risky,” he told me. “You need to take creative people and put them in one organization under one umbrella to work on critical but risky ventures and accelerate the pace of innovation.”

In this conversation, Zulfikar tells us about what he considers the biggest challenge in the information security field (hint: its not a technical challenge) and about whether talking about blockchain’s applications in information security is just premature, or a waste of time.

You can check out our conversation from Black Hat (above) or visit RSA’s YouTube page for more.

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