Barmak Meftah interview: AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report 9th Edition

Video Transcript

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SHIRA RUBINOFF: Hi. This is Shira Rubinoff. I'm here with Barmak Mefta, the president of AT&T Cybersecurity. Barmak, always a pleasure.

BARMAK MEFTAH: Thanks, Shira. Likewise.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: So Barmak, I heard that the 9th edition of the AT&T Cybersecurity Insights report is coming out. What can you tell us about that report?

BARMAK MEFTAH: Yeah, we're very excited about this report, as we are every year. This time around, we focused on security at the speed of 5G. As you know, AT&T is making a big investment in 5G. And with 5G, there is going to be a set of opportunities and challenges, when it comes to cybersecurity, specifically given the expanded attack surface. And so this particular report is full of great actionable advice for CISOs and information security professionals that are thinking about the big migration to 5G and what that means specifically from a risk and security posture for them.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: Interesting. And to that point, what are some key takeaways that our audience could really delve into? What would you like to share with them?

BARMAK MEFTAH: I think the key thing is, at AT&T, we take security extremely seriously. We definitely want the audience to be excited about 5G. We want the adoption of 5G to accelerate. But we also want the audience to be wise and think about the cybersecurity opportunities and challenges that come along with the 5G adoption. And the good news is we've invested a ton of research to ensure that security is built into our 5G network. So as your 5G endpoints communicate with your enterprise, there's a ton that happens behind the scenes, when it comes to security. But on top of that, we have we still have to think about more security that goes along with it, specifically in the areas of threat detection, incident response, anomaly detection, et cetera.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: Certainly, and I'll highlight the point that, as you know, as a security person, having the security built in is critical, and not putting the Band-Aids on that. As it's built in, it's going to be smooth. There won't be the extra steps, and it'll just be an easy run, smooth system.

BARMAK MEFTAH: Precisely. The good news is, based on our interviews, about 72 and 1/2% of the respondents feel that cyber security and 5G, cybersecurity as it pertains to 5G, is extremely important. And about 79% score it as top 5. So the awareness is there with the audience. And again, we want them to be excited about 5G adoption, but we also want them to be aware of the cybersecurity opportunities and challenges that come along with it.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: And that's very important. And certainly, again, to highlight the proactive and reactive responses that AT&T Cybersecurity really highlights, always being on the proactive front, but also understanding the reactive pieces need to be addressed, as well--

BARMAK MEFTAH: Precisely.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: --to that point, is there something around 5G that you could really address there?

BARMAK MEFTAH: I think just being aware of the fact that the attack surface is going to explode. Right? So if you think about the evolution of the attack surface, you went from the client server computing days to web services-- that's IoT. And really, 5G is more of an instigating factor for IoT, right? So it's going to allow for almost everything to be IP enabled and connected. With that level of expanded connection, the attack surface is going to explode.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: With the speed that it's traveling on, it's going to be more highlighted that the cybersecurity aspect of it really needs to be addressed.

BARMAK MEFTAH: Exactly. Yeah, that's right.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: To that note, why is AT&T Cybersecurity well-positioned to help organizations with cybersecurity practices as the adoption of 5G accelerates?

BARMAK MEFTAH: If you're a CISO, you just don't know where to start. And every vendor is pitching you on how their component or their security control is the most important security control, and it's going to be absolute security. We believe that the way you have to tackle security-- and especially with 5G and IoT, this becomes very pertinent-- is there is no way to be absolutely secure in that the attack surface is ever evolving. The threat cycles change all the time. And the velocity by which they're changing now is increasing dramatically.

So if we don't have a software-defined approach to security, where at any point in time, in an agile way, we can change the security image and the security posture for a company of any size, to be able to counterbalance that threat cycle that happens, we will be in this reactive mode for a long period of time. So at AT&T, the way we go after the problem is create a software-defined security posture and create that open platform that allows a customer of any size-- it can be a small customer, a midsize company, or a big enterprise-- to be able to evolve in an agile way their security posture in response to the ever-evolving threat landscape that's happening out there.

And so that approach to cybersecurity is what keeps us excited, keeps us interested. And I think that's going to be the trend, going forward. We'll just take the cost and complexity out of cyber and make it a lot more open and create the software-defined security idea for the industry.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: Well, always happy to have discussions with you and hear the latest and greatest from AT&T Cybersecurity. And looking forward to sharing AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Reports for our audience.

BARMAK MEFTAH: Awesome. Thanks, Shira. Appreciate it.

SHIRA RUBINOFF: Thank you.

BARMAK MEFTAH: Thank you.

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