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Mike Rothman, Analyst & President

Mike’s bold perspectives and irreverent style are invaluable as companies determine effective strategies to grapple with the dynamic security threatscape. Mike specializes in the sexy aspects of security, like protecting networks and endpoints, security management, and compliance. Mike is one of the most sought after speakers and commentators in the security business and brings a deep background in information security. After 20 years in and around security, he’s one of the guys who “knows where the bodies are buried” in the space.

Starting his career as a programmer and a networking consultant, Mike joined META Group in 1993 and spearheaded META’s initial foray into information security research. Mike left META in 1998 to found SHYM Technology, a pioneer in the PKI software market, and then held VP Marketing roles at CipherTrust and TruSecure – providing experience in marketing, business development, and channel operations for both product and services companies.

After getting fed up with vendor life, he started Security Incite in 2006 to provide the voice of reason in an over-hyped yet underwhelming security industry. After taking a short detour as Senior VP, Strategy and CMO at eIQnetworks to chase shiny objects in security and compliance management, Mike joins Securosis with a rejuvenated cynicism about the state of security and what it takes to survive as a security professional.

Mike published “The Pragmatic CSO” in 2007 to introduce technically oriented security professionals to the nuances of what is required to be a senior security professional. He also possesses a very expensive engineering degree in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. His folks are overjoyed that he uses literally zero percent of his education on a daily basis. He can be reached at mrothman (at) securosis (dot) com.

Scaling Network Security: The Scaled Network Security Architecture

By Mike Rothman
After considering the challenges of existing network security architectures (RIP Moat) we laid out a number of requirements for the new network security. This includes the needs for scale, intelligence, and flexibility. That’s all well and good, but how do you get there? We’ll wrap up this series by discussing a couple key architectural constructs which will influence how you build your future network security architecture. But before we go into specifics, let’s wrap a few caveats around the architecture. Not everything works for every organization. There may be cultural impediments to some of the ideas we

Scaling Network Security: The New Network Security Requirements

By Mike Rothman
In our last post we bid adieu to The Moat, given the encapsulation of almost everything into standard web protocols and the movement of critical data to an expanding set of cloud services. Additionally, the insatiable demand for bandwidth further complicates how network security scales. So it’s time to reframe the requirements of the new network security. Basically, as we rethink network security, what do we need it to do? Scale Networks have grown exponentially over the past decade. With 100gbps networks commonplace and the need to inspect traffic at wire speed, let’s just say scale is towards

Scaling Network Security: RIP, the Moat

By Mike Rothman
The young people today laugh at folks with a couple decades of experience when they rue about the good old days, when your network was snaked along the floors of your office (shout out for Thicknet!), and trusted users were on the corporate network, and untrusted users were not. Suffice it to say the past 25 years have seen some rapid changes to technology infrastructure. First of all, in a lot of cases, there aren’t even any wires. That’s kind of a shocking concept to a former network admin who fixed a majority of problems by swapping out patch

SecMon State of the Union: The Buying Process

By Mike Rothman
Now that you’ve revisited your important use cases, and derived a set of security monitoring requirements, it’s time to find the right fit among the dozens of alternatives. To wrap up this series we will bring you through a reasonably structured process to narrow down your short list, and then testing the surviving products. Once you’ve chosen the technical winner, you need to make the business side of things work – and it turns out the technical winner is not always the solution you end up buying. The first rule of buying anything is that you are in

SecMon State of the Union: Refreshing Requirements

By Mike Rothman
Now that you understand the use cases for security monitoring, our next step is to translate them into requirements for your strategic security monitoring platform. In other words, now that you have an idea of the problem(s) you need to solve, what capabilities do you need to address them? Part of that discussion is inevitably about what you don’t get from your existing security monitoring approach – this research wouldn’t be very interesting if your existing tools were all peachy. Visibility We made the case that Visibility Is Job #1 in our Security Decision Support series. Maintaining sufficient visibility

SecMon State of the Union: Focus on Use Cases

By Mike Rothman
When we revisited the Security Monitoring Team of Rivals it became obvious that the overlap between SIEM and security analytics has passed a point of no return. So with a Civil War brewing our key goal is to determine what will be your strategic platform for security monitoring. This requires you to shut out the noise of fancy analytics and colorful visualizations, and focus on the problem you are trying to solve now, with an eye to how it will evolve in the future. That means getting back to use cases. The cases for security monitoring tend to fall into

SecMon State of the Union: Revisiting the Team of Rivals

By Mike Rothman
Things change. That’s the only certainty in technology today, and certainly in security. Back when we wrote Security Analytics Team of Rivals, SIEM and Security Analytics offerings were different and did not really overlap. It was more about how can they coexist, instead of choosing one over the other. But nowadays the overlap is significant, so you need existing SIEM players basically bundling in security analytics capabilities and security analytics players positioning their products as next-generation SIEM. As per usual, customers are caught in the middle, trying to figure out what is truth and what is marketing puffery. So

Evolving to Security Decision Support: Laying the Foundation

By Mike Rothman
As we resume our series on Evolving to Security Decision Support, let’s review where we’ve been so far. The first step in making better security decisions is ensuring you have full visibility of your enterprise assets, because if you don’t know assets exist, you cannot make intelligent decision about protecting them. Next we discussed how threat intelligence and security analytics can be brought to bear to get both internal and external views of your attack environment, again with the goal of turning data into information you can use to better prioritize efforts. Once you get to this

The TENTH Annual Disaster Recovery Breakfast: Are You F’ing Kidding Me?

By Mike Rothman
What was the famous Bill Gates quote? “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” Well, we at Securosis actually can gauge that accurately given this is the TENTH annual RSA Conference Disaster Recovery Breakfast. I think pretty much everything has changed over the past 10 years. Except that stupid users still click on things they shouldn’t. And auditors still give you a hard time about stuff that doesn’t matter. And breaches still happen. But we aren’t fighting for budget or attention

Evolving to Security Decision Support: Data to Intelligence

By Mike Rothman
As we kicked off our Evolving to Security Decision Support series, the point we needed to make was the importance of enterprise visibility to the success of your security program. Given all the moving pieces in your environment – including the usage of various clouds (SaaS and IaaS), mobile devices, containers, and eventually IoT devices – it’s increasingly hard to know where all your critical data is and how it’s being used. So enterprise visibility is necessary, but not sufficient. You still need to figure out whether and how you are being attacked, as well as whether and how data
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