Thoughts on Infosec, 2014 – first day

I usually post a show report about Infosec somewhere, and for various painful reasons, this year it has to go here. And this year I’m at a bit of a loss.

Normally there’s a theme to the show; the latest buzzword and several companies doing the same thing. I wasn’t able to spend as long as normal there today, thanks to the RMT, but I think it’s probably “Cloud Security” this year. As with “cloud” anything, this is a pretty nebulous term.

Needless to say, the first day of the show lacked the buzz, with a smaller than usual number of visitors, haggared by disrupted journeys, mooched around the booths.

I was a bit surprised to see very little on the “heartbleed bug”, although there were a couple of instances. Either the marketing people didn’t understand it, or had uncharacteristically been put in their places.

One stand that’s always interesting is Bit9, a company after my own heart with alternatives to simple virus scanning. They went on a spending spree earlier in the year and have purchased and integrated Carbon Black. This is technology to allow their customers to monitor exactly what’s happening on all their (Windows) computers; which applications launch with others, what initiates a network connection and so on. It’s all very impressive; a GUI allows you to drill down and see exactly what’s happening in excruciating details. What worries me is the volume of data it’s likely to generate if its being used for IDS. There will be so much it’ll be hard to see the wood for the trees. When I questioned this I was told that software would analyse the “big data”, which is a good theory. It’s one to watch.

Plenty of stands were offering the usual firewalls. Or is that integrated solutions to unified threat management. Nothing has jumped out yet.

At the end of the day there was a very sensible keynote address by Google’s Dr Peter Dickman that was definitely worth a listen. All solid stuff, but from Google’s perspective as an operator of some serious data centre hardware. He pointed out that Google’s own company is run on its cloud services, so they’re going to take care of everyone’s data as they would their own. Apparently they also have an alligator on guard duty at one of their facilities.

I was a bit saddened to see a notice saying that next year’s show will now be in early June and Olympia. I’ve got fond memories of Earls Court going back more than thirty years to the Personal Computer World show. And Earls Court just has better media facilities!