RSA Conference APJ 2015 Ends With Call to Change the World

Posted on by Fahmida Y. Rashid

In life, there is always room for improvement, and that holds true for how people live, work, and interact. The last day of RSA Conference Asia Pacific & Japan 2015 reiterated that message through sessions, Expo floor, and keynotes. Organizations—and individual professionals—can improve how they operate internally and how they engage as part of a globalized society.RSAC APJ Closing Keynote

Security professionals can—and should—do better. They hold in their hands the power to change the world.

“My call today is that there are thousands of problems around us, but there is a problem solver in each of you,” Kailash Satyarthi, a global campaigner against violence towards children and the winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, told conference attendees during the closing keynote speech. “Thousands of challenges around you but there is leader inside you. There is a human in you.”

Satyarthi introduced the concept of business with compassionate intelligence, where business leaders make corporate decisions based on compassion, truth, and right, and not merely for profit. When hundreds of millions of people are deprived so something as fundamental as knowledge, an equitable, developed, and sustainable world is not possible, he said.

Two decades ago, governments dominated discussions about social issues such as education, healthcare, and poverty, and there was no room for the private sector to take part. Now, the role of the state has decreased. As the power of the corporate sector has increased, “then definitely its role and responsibility must also increase,” Satyarthi said. Business leaders can work with law enforcement, civil society, and governments to find solutions to social problems. 

Compassionate intelligence can help convert technology into human and social good, he said.

Satyarthi told a story of how several carpet companies in India banded together to stop using child labor. The number of children in the South Asian carpet industry currently is hardly 200,000, which is a significant drop from the over 1 million children just 20 years ago. The quality of the product improved, more carpets were being shipped, and 800,000 children benefitted from not having to work in horrific conditions.

“It worked,” he said.

Tenable Network Security’s Matt Alderman did not call for social justice or urge attendees to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, but his keynote speech also touched on making a difference. He began by reciting an ancient proverb in Chinese, which essentially translated to how we need to look at our history before we can prepare for the future.

“Information security in APJ is different from the rest of the world,” Alderman said, and that’s a good thing because it puts Asia in the position to “lead the evolution for the rest of the world.” Technology adoption in the United States and Europe happened within a regulatory environment, which resulted in security becoming a compliance activity. “We deployed security to comply with the letter of the law, and not the spirit of the law,” Alderman said.

While some of the countries—namely Australia, Singapore, and Japan—have a lot of regulations, most of Asia doesn’t have the same regulatory climate prevalent in the US and EU. APJ is in “a unique position to learn from our mistakes, and do things better than we did,” Alderman said.

In the opening keynote, Amit Yoran said the security industry has sailed off the map, and a new map was needed. In the closing, Satyarthi reminded attendees that each attendee had the potential to craft a better, more just, world to sail.

“Technology lets us do many things,” Satyarthi said. It’s not just about the global economy or markets, but the fact that people are now connected. “Consider the whole world as family,” he said.

Fahmida Y. Rashid

Information Security Journalist, Editor-in-Chief, RSA Conference

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