In the world of cybersecurity, the name Den Jones commands respect, especially with his insightful and entertaining time on stage. A former Novell administrator in the ’90s, Den has remained committed to evolving and growing with the ever-changing landscape of information security. Recently, his insights were on full display during a Fireside Chat at CyberArk’s IMPACT 23 World Tour in San Jose, where he shared his experiences and wisdom as the CSO of Banyan Security, a journey that took him from the humble beginnings of an administrator to a prominent leader in the field. 

Fireside Chat with Den Jones and Santosh Prusty

Den Jones, the Banyan Security CSO, known for his previous roles at industry giants like Cisco and Adobe, took the stage alongside Santosh Prusty, a Senior Leader from Cisco’s Enterprise Team. This dynamic duo’s Fireside Chat delivered a plethora of information about identity security and deploying CyberArk, the solutions they’ve had to deploy, and valuable insights from other customers and partners.

Den Jones at CyberArk IMPACT 23 Fireside ChatThe chat kicked off by emphasizing that deploying identity solutions is not just a one-time implementation but rather a continuous journey. While at Cisco, Den gave the task of implementing identity security to Santosh and the new team he was hiring. Santosh’s focus extended beyond internal governance processes to encompass external partners. In today’s complex ecosystem, solutions must cater to on-premises and cloud applications, cloud services, and even non-human users. Santhosh began with a small use case, eventually expanding its operations to include 300+ administrators and overseeing 60,000 identities, including supply chain partners.

Holistic Approach to Security

Den Jones highlighted the importance of solutions being not only technologically robust but also user-friendly. He stressed that the ease of training and adoption is crucial. Cybersecurity teams should be able to sell the solution to executives by demonstrating how it can save money, reduce risk, and increase operational efficiency. This holistic approach to security also involves making the process as streamlined as possible, allowing businesses to concentrate on their core activities. Automation is key to achieving this efficiency.

During the chat, it was mentioned that Santosh and team had developed short videos to share during service calls, making the end-user experience more engaging and educational. These videos served as a proactive measure to address common issues, enhancing the overall security posture.

Essential Criteria for Modern Security Solutions

A question from the audience spurred an interesting conversation: “What is the most challenging aspect of implementing cybersecurity solutions today?” Den’s response was crystal clear. Every solution must meet three key criteria: it must be more secure, less expensive, and less complex. These are not just desirable features; they are essential for the modern cybersecurity landscape. Cybersecurity measures should add to an organization’s safety, not its complexity or cost.

Den’s chat highlighted that while implementing technology is one challenge, getting stakeholders to adopt it is an entirely different hurdle. The adoption process can take 2 to 3 years and is often fraught with obstacles. With today’s rapidly evolving environment, the adoption process has doubled in complexity due to factors such as mergers and acquisitions of cloud-born companies. Artificial Intelligence (AI) was identified as one of the most significant challenges faced by cybersecurity professionals today. The adaptability of AI, both for good and ill, poses unique difficulties in protecting critical systems.

Beyond the Fireside Chat

Interestingly, the discussion at the Fireside Chat extended beyond the formal setting. During lunch, I was also engaged in fascinating conversations about recent cybersecurity incidents. The Okta breach and the MGM breach were hot topics. These real-world examples emphasize that even organizations with robust security measures in place can be vulnerable to unexpected threats.

In conclusion, the Banyan Security CSO, Den Jones, illuminated the Fireside Chat with his wealth of knowledge and practical insights. His journey from a Novell administrator in the ’90s to a CSO leading the charge in cybersecurity showcases the ever-evolving nature of the field. His emphasis on secure, cost-effective, and streamlined solutions, as well as the importance of AI in today’s cybersecurity landscape, serves as a valuable guidepost for those navigating the complex and dynamic world of information security. The Fireside Chat left the audience with much to ponder, reinforcing the vital importance of staying informed and adaptive in the face of ever-evolving cyber threats.

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Ashur Kanoon