SolarWinds Empower MSP Conference – Atlanta

3 years ago

Earlier this month, we attended the SolarWinds ‘Empower MSP’ conference in Atlanta. This year’s conference had a particular focus on end-customer security. The featured keynote speakers were Erik Qualman and Eric O’Neil. Erik Qualman spoke about living in a ‘post-privacy world’ in which privacy is dead. Eric O’Neil was a key figure in helping capture Robert Hansenn who committed the U.S’ biggest data breach against the FBI, he discussed the growing prevalence of cybercrime. Additionally, the conference itself also heavily revolved around the privacy and security aspects. The ever-growing threat and sophistication of cybercrime was a key theme.

Erik Qualman on the “death of privacy”

Erik Qualman or “Equalman” spoke at this year’s conference primarily about living in a post-privacy world. He said that there is no longer a question of digital transformation, it’s about how well you do it. By this, he means your digital footprint (what you upload about yourself) coupled with your digital shadow (what people upload about you).

Eric O’Neill on “endpoint security”

The other featured keynote speaker at the conference was Eric O’Neill. O’Neill spoke about his time in the FBI working in counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism. He also spoke about his role in the capture of Robert Hansenn, moreover, evolution of cybersecurity and how endpoint security can play a pivotal role in stopping attacks as a result of human error. O’Neill showed a study by Verizon that 23% of people will unknowingly click on a dodgy link or attachment. This means that there’s a 1 in 4 chance that one of your employees might click on a dodgy link. A statistic from the presentation said that “61% of internal threats stem from user mistakes rather than malicious intent. O’Neill says that collaboration of knowledge and infrastructure is the only way to combat the rise of cybercrime.

Tim Brown on “good cyber hygiene”

Tim Brown is the security VP for SolarWinds. He spoke about the future of security and the importance of MSP’s to be operating at a “high level”. He said the first step to MSP’s becoming more equipped to tackle the changing face of cybercrime was to become “lifetime learners” – to keep up with the rapidly changing industry and sophistication of threats. Whilst speaking about cybersecurity, Brown put up some staggering statistics. Brown also used the metaphor of security systems growing from a “single-seed avocado” to a “multi-seed pomegranate” to highlight the shift from perimeter security to security of individual components such as apps and IoT devices. Finally, Brown spoke about practicing good cyber hygiene, he gave the example that the average time attackers stay dormant in a network before detection is over 140 days. This means that by not being proactive your network may already be under reconnaissance.

Other highlights:

  • One of the highlights of the conference was the visit to the World of Coca-Cola. We also got the chance to talk to other MSP’s from all over the world. Additionally, we saw the Coca-Cola vault and safe where the secret recipe is kept. Again, this ‘double security’ again reinforced the overall theme of security at the conference.
  • The major highlight of this conference was the general discussion and focus on the importance of security. At Milnsbridge IT, we like to be ahead of the curve. We were equipped with a lot of new knowledge and tools to pre-emptively tackle the growing threat of cybercrime by attending the Empower MSP conference.

We were very grateful to be invited to the Empower MSP Conference this year and to have the chance to chat with industry professionals. Most importantly, we enjoyed the focus on cybersecurity. We look forward to the next SolarWinds event. If you’re concerned about your business’ security, contact us here.

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