Traditional Boundaries Disappears as organizations Move to Cloud

Anil Katarki, Director, Cyber Security Services, Perspecta

Anil Katarki, Director, Cyber Security Services, Perspecta

In your experience, what are some of the challenges you have witnessed happening with respect to Forcepoint space in a while using one of the products in your projects?
Forcepoint offers a range of products that help secure an organization at human point. Forcepoint has specialized in cloud access security, group or email security products, and email security. Primarily, Forcepoint is well-known for its behavior-based protection for cloud applications and have some of the well-known products in the market space. Due to their user behavior analytics (UBA), Forcepoint has the edge over some of their competition. But they are also facing intense competition from next-generation firewall vendors like Palo Alto, FireEye, and Cisco technologies for their next-generation firewalls. Also, CASB, a security-broker product from McAfee that has launched their Mvision platform, is giving strong competition to Forcepoint in the race for pole position. The way businesses are conducted today, anyone can access data anywhere at any time on any device. So what is going to differentiate at the end of the day, is which company will continue to adapt not only to the changing the threat landscape but also how businesses are done.

What do you think are some significant technological trends emerging currently in the market?

From a trend standpoint, the threat landscape is changing—what we are seeing in the marketplace today is the digital transformation trend. Everything is moving to the cloud, whether we like it or not. Most of our systems are hosted in the data center that is run by a third party, but our business model is slightly different. Even though they are hosted in a data center, we still have a lot of responsibility that we as owners of data have to amend and undertake. The service provider is responsible for the infrastructure while the tenants are still responsible for ensuring that they have adequate security controls over their data. So tenants should understand that model and start looking at technologies and implement appropriate security controls to protect their data in the cloud.

"As a cybersecurity professional, you should not only have to have a liking or a passion toward work but also identify yourself with a mission"

Could you shed some light on some of the projects or initiatives that you are currently overseeing or working on?

We provide hosting services to highly mission-critical applications and systems for federal customers. The projects or initiatives that we are engaged with is developing their digital transformation roadmap. We are now actively involved in conducting assessments for our customers, helping them with the evaluation of the cloud and native security tools to migrate to the cloud. The other exciting project that I am working on involves our internal transition to a new security information event management tool Splunk. Previously, being an HP company, we were using ArcSight and now transitioned to Splunk and building a compliance dashboard for our customers to meet Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) compliance requirements.

What are some of the points of discussion that go on in your leadership panel? What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward?

Every organization should have a vision—either short term goals or long term goals. The things that I follow on my team is whenever I set goals—yearly or quarterly goals—we make sure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. If you set an unrealistic goal and unable to match up, you tend to lose focus and these goals become meaningless. One of the critical things that I look for in my organization—establish a culture where people feel valued and respected and can freely speak their mind without fear of retribution—empower them to make decisions and take calculated risks. 

How do you see the evolution of the Forcepoint arena in a few years from now to some of its potential disruptions and transformations that are happening? 

According to me, Forcepoint is disrupting the market with their UBA. In the industry, what we call a zero trust model is gaining interaction. In trust model, you trust nobody and verify everyone while granting access to data. Tracking user’s behavior by analyzing the data their working habits, you assign a type of risk score and establish how risky one is and then build security controls around it. I think that is the disruption that we can expect from Forcepoint. Other than that, the future of the enterprise security space over the next couple of years is the digital transformation. The traditional boundaries are disappearing, and things are moving to the cloud, and every application is now cloud-enabled or web-enabled. You no longer have a fixed network or have to use private VPNs to connect into your network for accessing information and can do that from anywhere, anytime. Therefore, the most crucial factor here is security. Enterprises are focusing on building networks that are resilient and can withstand threat and attacks like ransomware.

What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field, looking to embark on a similar venture or professional journey along the lines of your service and area of expertise?

If you want to be in cybersecurity, I feel that you should not only have to have a liking or a passion for this type of work but also identify yourself with a mission. Understand the broader impact that you are having as a cybersecurity professional. The more closely you align with your mission, the more significant the work becomes, otherwise it becomes a routine task. Always have the big picture and keep sight. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. In cybersecurity, we are all tasked with the enormous responsibility of protecting information. Information that when compromised, can have a devastating effect. For instance, if a hospital system gets compromised, people’s lives being endangered. And if you work in the federal government’s space, a lot of the systems and missions that we support are citizen-centric. So when you step back and look at the bigger picture, identify with the mission, then your tasks become more rewarding. As guardians of information, we have to be right all the time and making sure that when we are always keeping up with the adversary, we should be one step ahead of that adversary to protect the data.

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