With only weeks to go before we ring in 2020, there’s lots of buzz percolating over the 29th annual RSA Conference in San Francisco, February 24–28. This year’s theme, Human Element, affirms the narrative that cybersecurity is about people, process and technology, and the new 2019 USA Today Department of Homeland Security special edition also highlights the ways in which technology is evolving to better protect our nation’s borders and citizens.

In the aftermath of several natural disasters and contentious immigration debates, resiliency resonated as an important theme in this year’s DHS special edition. The DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate has identified a number of platforms that different agencies can use to improve public safety, many of which leverage people, including crowd-sourced data, social media sites and instant messaging systems. These new and emerging technologies are bringing the entire village together.

Building a Cybersecurity Village

While many across the private sector, academia and law enforcement are starting to understand that defending against cyberthreats demands collaboration, cybercrimes remain under-reported. When a breach occurs, companies are circumspect and fear damage to their reputations. As a result, “law enforcement is no longer the first line of defense,” USA Today said. To combat misconceptions, DHS has been building partnerships to learn how to better respond to new and emerging cyberthreats.

Likewise, many RSAC attendees believe collaboration is key. Several sessions will confront fear and other human behaviors that serve as obstacles to collaboration and offer guidance that will enable better detection and response, including:

Protecting Data and Privacy in the Physical and Digital World

Technology has helped to address the challenges of physically securing the border, but the use of sophisticated cameras, drones and sensors has also given rise to a trove of data that needs to be properly stored and secured. Protecting data while also complying with privacy regulations will be some of the many engaging conversations happening throughout the week at RSAC, in sessions such as:

Putting a Finger on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and biometrics, whether it’s the use of a fingerprint or facial recognition, has allowed DHS to take a more modern approach to border protection. Currently, the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) oversees a database of 800 million facial images used primarily to detect bad actors, and it is looking to restructure the back-end technology, known as IDENT, which stores and shares biometric data. Surely, law enforcement agencies are not the only ones using biometrics, nor are they alone in exploring AI technologies and cloud-based solutions to provide more storage. Digital identity management, authentication and cloud security will also be topics of interest covered in sessions, including:

Additionally, the 2019 special edition highlights innovations being used by the US Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration. When it comes to cybersecurity inside our borders and within our organizations, the many departments that fall under DHS are facing some of the same challenges as private industry. These and other important topics will be widely talked about when leaders across all sectors come together at RSA Conference 2020.

Disclosure, USA Today is an official media partner of RSA Conference

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