Featured image for the RSA Conference 2023 Closing Session.

The RSA Report: Boots on the Ground

RSA Conference 2023 ends on a high note with cybersecurity insights. Ransomware, incident response, and Zero Trust are key takeaways.


All good things must come to an end, and the RSA Conference is no exception. But this year’s RSAC ended on a definite high note, packing as many actionable insights as possible into the final few sessions.

Much of today’s cybersecurity guidance advises businesses to think in terms of when an attack occurs, not if. But very little of it explains what that eventuality might look like. “Ransomware: From the Boardroom to the Situation Room” pulled the curtain back on the government’s response to a series of ransomware attacks on our country’s critical infrastructure. The real-time simulation offered the audience a seat at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as key members of the National Security Council’s staff, staff of the National Cyber Director and representatives of various federal departments convened to discuss what had happened and how best to respond.

Obviously, given the high total cost of ransomware, it’s best to avoid an attack in the first place. SonicWall’s multi-layer solutions are designed to stop even the most advanced ransomware attacks. SonicWall has helped countless companies harden against ransomware, including McAuley House School, which switched to SonicWall after a series of successful ransomware attacks and called their new SonicWall solution the “best security investment decision we’ve ever made.”

Incident response was also a theme in the next session, “Investigation & Incident Response Challenges for the Hybrid Enterprise.” This session explored a survey of more than 250 individuals involved with cyber investigations in a wide swath of industries, in public, private and government organizations of all sizes. This survey yielded some alarming results: Less than a third of respondents were confident in their team’s ability to track an incident through both cloud and legacy environments, and nearly three-fourths weren’t confident that they collected all data needed to investigate a breach.

Part of the problem stemmed from the tools used: While 74% said they used a SIEM, there were limits on the collection and retention of data due to the work and cost intensiveness involved. And with under a third of respondents integrating non-security data into investigations, investigating some incidents — particularly those involving insiders — will prove much more difficult.

Unfortunately, incidents involving insiders are increasingly common: In “Ghosts in the Machine: Is There a Security Patch for People?,” FBI Special Agent Greg Concepcion and Nisos Intelligence Advisor Paul Malcomb revealed that today, 82% of security incidents are related to insiders — up 72% since 2020. The speakers explained the various groups who generally represented insider threats, from VIPs and Money Movers to Sensitive IP handlers and System Admins and Developers — along with what sort of threat they were most likely to fall for (phishing ranked high on the list for almost everyone) and the best way to limit their ability to cause accidental or intentional harm.

Sine most of the harm is non-malicious, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce your risk, such as implementing multifactor authentication and ensuring employees are following basic best practices concerning password hygiene, double-checking urgent requests for money or sensitive information, and phishing awareness.

Another step that can help is the implementation of Zero Trust, but as the panelists in “It’s All Geek to Me: Communicating the Business Value of Zero Trust” explained, it can be difficult to get leaders and stakeholders on board with making that investment. However, since the impact Zero Trust can have on your security posture can be enormous, it’s important to frame the ideas of identity, the integration of security controls, and risk in a way that’s accessible and not overly technical or complex.

If you’re ready to explore a zero-trust solution, SonicWall or one of our trusted partners can help you put together the case for taking this positive step for your network security.

While we’re always a bit sad to see RSA draw to a close, we know the lessons and key learnings we gained on this journey will continue to inform and enrich us well into the future. Thanks for following our RSA coverage, and we hope to see you next year at RSAC 2024!

Amber Wolff
Senior Digital Copywriter | SonicWall
Amber Wolff is the Senior Digital Copywriter for SonicWall. Prior to joining the SonicWall team, Amber was a cybersecurity blogger and content creator, covering a wide variety of products and topics surrounding enterprise security. She spent the earlier part of her career in advertising, where she wrote and edited for a number of national clients.