The RSA conference is an expanse of innovation, networking, and insight through countless conversations we’re able to have with customers seeking to solve cloud security challenges. The common theme when it comes to cloud contrasts from what you may think about cybersecurity. At McAfee, we spend a lot of time researching and developing products to defeat malware and threats that can destroy organizations if they’re allowed to succeed. When we talk to our customers about cloud security however, we hear a different tone. They want to be the enablers of business progress, the ones seen as the key to transforming their business into faster-moving, more highly collaborative organizations. Threats and adversaries still exist in the cloud, but the goals are dramatically more oriented towards what they want to happen to their business, as opposed to what they don’t want.

CASB has been a pivotal technology in this journey and we’ve heard it consistently. Our customers are seen as strategic enablers in their organizations by securing data in the cloud apps their users want to adopt, without friction to their experience.

These conversations often start with the notion of scope, as in, what exactly does a CASB block or allow? Our guidance is always to assess the risk of your cloud adoption first, and take your first action with “high risk” apps, then move to more advanced controls like DLP. Product Manager Suhaas explains here:

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The next step we typically take customers through is a determination of where the majority of their sensitive data lives in the cloud. 3-5 years ago, this was mostly Shadow IT, before many IT teams officially sanctioned cloud apps. Now services like Office 365, Box, and Slack are commonplace in most organizations, fully sanctioned by the IT department. By sanctioning these cloud apps, instead of allowing the sprawl of shadow alternatives, data has dramatically shifted. Most are surprised to learn that around 65% of their sensitive data lives in sanctioned apps like Office 365, with about 25% in IaaS like AWS or Azure, and just around 10% today in Shadow IT services.

This changes the dynamic for cloud security. It is now much easier for organizations to prioritize and focus their efforts by securing the top critical applications their organizations need to be most productive. Slack is a great example, and one we had many conversations about at RSA. Product Manager Thyaga explains more about our approach here:

Next, I’d like to share a more abstract perspective from the conference, which is more of a culmination of our conversations with customers at the event. Security for the IT transformation to cloud services has followed several stages for most enterprises. First, years ago for many, the goal was to simply get assets and applications into the cloud. Second, was to then determine what was going on, by monitoring and assessing activity logs. Now, what we see is an increasing shift towards a third stage, which is integrating cloud security and the insights gained from cloud activity into the broader security ecosystem. Security Architect Wayne Anderson gives more detail here:

Conferences like RSA are a chance for us all to check in on a massive scale with the technological progress of the cybersecurity industry and the perspective our customers have on how their organizations are transforming alongside it. Beyond that, it’s a ton of fun to have thousands of like-minded professionals in one place. Check out our highlight video for a last bit of nostalgia: