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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.

Heading to Techstrong

By Mike Rothman
The phone rang. On the other end, I heard a booming voice many of you are familiar with. “Hey Mikey! What’s shaking? What’s your plan now that Rich is with Firemon?” It was Alan Shimel, my good friend and head of Techstrong Group. It was maybe 10 minutes after Rich’s announcement had hit Twitter. I told Alan I would stay the course, but he had other ideas. “We should do something together. Think about it.” So I did. We had a call a few days later and started sketching out what it would look like if I joined

SOC 2025: Operationalizing the SOC

By Mike Rothman
So far in this series, we’ve discussed the challenges of security operations, making sense of security data, and refining detection/analytics, which are all critical components of building a modern, scalable SOC. Yet, there is an inconvenient fact that warrants discussion. Unless someone does something with the information, the best data and analytics don’t result in a positive security outcome. Security success depends on consistent and effective operational motions. Sadly, this remains a commonly overlooked aspect of building the SOC. As we wrap up the series, we’re going to go from alert to action and do it

SOC 2025: Detection/Analytics

By Mike Rothman
We spent the last post figuring out how to aggregate security data. Alas, a lake of security data doesn’t find attackers, so now we have to use it. Security analytics has been all the rage for the past ten years. In fact, many security analytics companies have emerged promising to make sense of all of this security data. It turns out analytics aren’t a separate thing; they are part of every security thing. That’s right, analytics drive endpoint security offerings. Cloud security products? Yup. Network security detection? Those too. It’s hard to envision a security company

SOC 2025: Making Sense of Security Data

By Mike Rothman
Intelligence comes from data. And there is no lack of security data, that’s for sure. Everything generates data. Servers, endpoints, networks, applications, databases, SaaS services, clouds, containers, and anything else that does anything in your technology environment. Just as there is no award for finding every vulnerability, there is no award for collecting all the security data. You want to collect the right data to make sure you can detect an attack before it becomes a breach. As we consider what the SOC will look like in 2025, given the changing attack surface and available skills base, we’ve got

SOC 2025: The Coming SOC Evolution

By Mike Rothman
It’s brutal running a security operations center (SOC) today. The attack surface continues to expand, in a lot of cases exponentially, as data moves to SaaS, applications move to containers, and the infrastructure moves to the cloud. The tools used by the SOC analysts are improving, but not fast enough. It seems adversaries remain one (or more) steps ahead. There aren’t enough people to get the job done. Those that you can hire typically need a lot of training, and retaining them continues to be problematic. As soon as they are decent, they head off to their next

New Age Network Detection: Use Cases

By Mike Rothman
As we wrap up the New Age Network Detection (NAND) series, we’ve made the point that network analysis remains critical to finding malicious activity, even as you move to the cloud. But clearly, collection and analysis need to change as the underlying technology platforms evolve. But that does put the cart a bit ahead of the horse. We haven’t spent much time honing in on the specific use cases where NAND makes a difference. So that’s how we’ll bring the series to a close. To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of use cases,

Papers Posted

By Mike Rothman
It turns out that we are still writing papers and posting them in our research library, even though far less frequently than back in the day. Working with enterprises on their cloud security strategies consumes most of our cycles nowadays. When we’re not assessing clouds or training on clouds or getting into trouble, we’ve published 3 papers over the past year. I’ve finally posted them to the research library for you to check out. Data Security in the SaaS Age: In this paper, licensed by AppOmni, we dust off the Data Security Triangle and then proceed to provide

New Age Network Detection: Collection and Analysis

By Mike Rothman
As we return to our series on New Age Network Detection, let’s revisit our first post. We argued that we’re living through technology disruption on a scale, and at a velocity, we haven’t seen before. Unfortunately security has failed to keep pace with attackers. The industry’s response has been to move the goalposts, focusing on new shiny tech widgets every couple years. We summed it up in that first post: We have to raise the bar. What we’ve been doing isn’t good enough and hasn’t been for years. We don’t need to

New Age Network Detection: Introduction

By Mike Rothman
Like the rest of the technology stack, the enterprise network is undergoing a huge transition. With data stores increasingly in the cloud and connectivity to SaaS providers and applications running in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms, a likely permanently remote workforce has new networking requirements. Latency and performance continue to be important, but also being able to protect employee devices in all locations and providing access to only authorized resources. Bringing the secure network to the employee represents a better option to solve these requirements instead of forcing the employee onto the secure network. The network offers a secure

Securing APIs: Empowering Security

By Mike Rothman
As discussed in Application Architecture Disrupted, macro changes including the migration to cloud disrupting the tech stack, application design patterns bringing microservices to the forefront, and DevOps changing dev/release practices dramatically impact building and deploying applications. In this environment, the focus turns to APIs as the fabric that weaves together modern applications. Alas, the increasing importance of APIs also makes them a target. Historically, enterprises take baby steps to adopt new technologies, experimenting and finding practical boundaries to meet security, reliability, and resilience requirements before fully committing. Requiring a trade-off between security and speed, it may take years to
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