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Microsoft Secure


In early March, I had the fortunate opportunity to speak at the ABB Automation & Power World 2015 conference in Houston, TX. This event is like a “Disneyland” for critical infrastructure providers (CIPs)!

This was my first time attending the bi-annual event and I was blown away by the innovative power and automation technologies that ABB and others had on display on the show floor—everything from electric cars to the latest in robotics.

ABB Event
Markus Braendle and Tim Rains being introduced at the ABB Automation & Power World 2015 event.

I was also impressed with the level of interest that so many CIPs had around cybersecurity and the adoption of cloud services. The general session I spoke to had a couple thousand people in attendance. During this lunchtime presentation, I spoke about the impact of cybersecurity in the ever-evolving threat landscape, and how we think the Internet will transform over the next 10 years. I showed the audience how the Microsoft Digital Crime Unit uses big data analytics to take down botnets, helping make the Internet a safer place for everyone, including CIPs. Markus Braendle, Group Head of Cyber Security at ABB, moderated audience questions and provided his own great industry insights. Questions around the threat landscape, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and risk management proved to me that cybersecurity is top of mind for this critical industry.

Key themes I heard from the audience during the session included:

  • How adopting cloud services increases the security protections for most organizations and helps them maintain compliance,
  • The security considerations for IoT,
  • How a risk-based management approach helps minimize the emotions that often accompanies security conversations,
  • Best practices for working with security researchers, and
  • Today’s attackers, their evolved motivations, and the difficulty of attribution.