Episode 156: Looming over Black Hat: doing Security at Massive Scale

In this episode of the Security Ledger Podcast (#156), we’re joined by Michael Coates, the former Chief Information Security Officer at Twitter and the CEO and co-founder of Altitude Networks.* With “hacker summer camp” kicking off in Las Vegas, Michael and I talk about the pre-eminent challenge for the information security industry: how to do security at the massive scale and speed of cloud environments like AWS.


In this week’s episode of the Podcast, # 156: It’s time for Hacker Summer Camp again, as the The Black Hat Briefings kick off this week in Las Vegas along with B-Sides Las Vegas and, of course, the DEF CON Conference. 

As the world’s top security professionals gather on the Las Vegas Strip, one question hanging in the air is ‘how to secure the cloud?’ A vast and growing cloud-based infrastructure today runs dynamic start-ups and unicorns like Slack and Lyft but also industry stalwarts up and down the Fortune 500. 

Capital One a Warning on Cloud Insecurity

Michael Coates is the CEO and co-founder of Altitude Networks.
Michael Coates is the CEO and co-founder of Altitude Networks.

The recent breach at Capitol One is a fresh reminder of the risks that go along with cloud adoption. In that incident, information on more than 100 million credit card applicants was snatched from an Amazon S3 storage bucket by a rogue AWS employee. The incident has rattled the technology world and prompted at least one U.S. Senator in recent days to demand an explanation by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos of how such a breach could happen. (Server side request forgery, maybe?)

Our guest this week knows a thing or two about securing vast, cloud-based infrastructure. Michael Coates is the former Chief Information Security Officer at Twitter and the CEO and co-founder of Altitude Networks, a startup that does data security for cloud collaboration platforms. Altitude just emerged from stealth mode with a $9 million series A round from Felicis Ventures, Accomplice and a personal investment from former Facebook CISO Alex Stamos. The company will be demonstrating its technology at Black Hat’s Innovation City. 

Altitude Networks
Altitude Networks focuses on securing data in cloud-based collaboration platforms.

Secure Everything. Everywhere. At Massive Scale.

In this conversation, Michael and I talk about how cloud based collaboration platforms like G-Suite, Office 365 and DropBox present a unique challenge to the security industry. As Michael notes: they require organizations to secure “everything, everywhere and at massive scale.” It’s a challenge that Coates experienced first hand as the CISO at Twitter, where just monitoring how data was moving was a challenge- let alone whether that movement constituted a risk or security breach. 

Check out our full conversation in the podcast!


(*) Disclosure: This podcast was sponsored by Altitude Networks. For more information on how Security Ledger works with its sponsors and sponsored content on Security Ledger, check out our About Security Ledger page on sponsorships and sponsor relations.

As always,  you can check our full conversation in our latest Security Ledger podcast at Blubrry. You can also listen to it on iTunes and check us out on SoundCloudStitcherRadio Public and more. Also: if you enjoy this podcast, consider signing up to receive it in your email. Just point your web browser to securityledger.com/subscribe to get notified whenever a new podcast is posted. 

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