Martin Roesch, Vice President and Chief Architect for Cisco Security Business Group, is responsible for shaping the technology strategy and design of the company’s security portfolio and also oversees threat research. We caught up with him to talk about his interest in information security how he hopes the industry progresses. You can catch his keynote Ascending the Path to Better Security in San Francisco.
RSAC: Can you provide some background on how you got into the information security industry and how you ended up where you are today?
Roesch: Back in 1996, the Internet was the future of computing. I recognized back then that securing the Internet would uncover many opportunities to do interesting work. There was a great deal of research happening at that time. The constantly evolving problem space around securing the Internet was a natural draw for me. Before I knew it, I’d spent 20 years working with really smart people, re-thinking complex problems, and asking new questions to help people protect their intellectual property and infrastructure.
RSAC: What excites you the most about working in the information security industry?
Roesch: What I find most exciting is the opportunity to solve the complex problems facing our industry. By looking at every facet of a problem, deconstructing it to find the base elements and then looking at problems in new ways, we can continuously evolve and improve the practice of security. That makes this an industry that never loses its luster.
RSAC: What would you like to see change/happen in the industry over the next 12 months?
Roesch: I’d like to see people get real about where we are today and where we can be in the future. Also, I’d like to see the industry recognize what technologies can do and what they cannot do. If we make progress in these two areas it will go a long way toward making security professionals more productive and enabling businesses to do what they do best.
RSAC: If you could pick one thing that has made the most impact on your career and where you are today, what would it be?
Roesch: Inventing Snort. It’s been very rewarding watching a technology I built in my spare bedroom expand over time to become the most widely deployed technology for intrusion detection.
RSAC: What were you doing 25 years ago?
Roesch: In 1991, I was in college pursuing computer engineering. Back then I also played rugby to get my aggressions out after computer lab.