Notes from the Floor: iTech Conference 2019

Cyber Security Investing
Security Investing

At the iTech Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, speakers discussed the newest advances in AI, data and cybersecurity.

On Tuesday (November 19), the iTech Conference — a security, artificial intelligence (AI) and data event in Vancouver, British Columbia — hosted some of North America’s top names in tech.

With participating companies including Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), the iTech Conference attracted industry professionals to discuss the most recent advancements in technology.

Also featuring several tech startups, organizations and multinational corporations, the Vancouver Convention Center was packed throughout the day.

Launching the conference was a keynote talk titled “The AI Driven Enterprise” from Tarek Radwan, senior product marketing manager at Juniper Networks. In the talk, Radwan discussed how AI will change enterprise communication technology. Elaborating on how AI will be able to respond to things in natural language, he said, “If you trust the AI, you can take corrective action.”

Following the presentation, a series of highly attended talks took place throughout the day. Rav Grewal, cybersecurity executive at Darktrace, spoke about integrating cybersecurity and AI.

In her talk, “Cyber AI: Fighting Back with Autonomous Response,” Grewal discussed how building trust in AI is important. Describing how autonomous, self-learning technology can be utilized for security responses, she spoke about how Darktrace’s AI technology developed 1.3 million models for a given network to detect cyber attacks.

Elaborating on this technology, she discussed how Darktrace found a malicious attack on a municipality by identifying anomalous activity and prioritizing these anomalies.

Following Grewal’s talk, Rami R., senior application engineer at Intel, discussed how companies can improve their data center management (DCM) in a session called “How to Better Manage Your Cloud Infrastructure.” He elaborated on how companies can save up to US$25,000 through using DCM software, reducing power costs and identifying “ghost servers,” to name a few.

As the show continued, talks pivoted to the Internet of Things in agriculture.

“Agriculture is in the middle of a technical transformation,” Wilson Acton, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Whipcord, told the audience.

Discussing the future of intelligent, connected farms, Acton spoke about how farming equipment collects vast amounts of data on temperature, soil moisture, wind and animal movements to analyze productivity and future crop yields.

“A John Deere (NYSE:DE) tractor collects 7,000 data points per minute, creating a very detailed topographical map,” he said. Acton later postulated that farm equipment will be autonomous within the next five years.

Following Acton’s talk, backup continuity and cybersecurity firm Datto presented a talk by Channel Development Executive Jeff Dryall about the sheer scale of the cybersecurity market. Datto is a company with 24 data centers that was sold to a private equity firm for an estimated US$1 billion.

As Dryall discussed business continuity, he spoke about how Datto virtualizes snapshots of servers in its data centers to protect company data. Every 10 minutes Datto will take a snapshot that essentially saves company data to prepare for a cyber attack.

Along with this, Dryall stressed the importance of employee cybersecurity education. Some core security threats can be presented as fake emails with malicious attachments that employees mistakenly open. These attachments, in turn, insert code into the employee’s computer — and ultimately the company network — and use this information against the company.

Elaborating on this, Dryall stated that the cybercrime market is currently worth US$1.5 trillion. Within this market, data trading is a US$160 billion market, while crimeware-as-a-service is a US$1.6 billion market.

Meghan Halton, cloud infrastructure engineer at Cisco, spoke towards the end of the day about the cybersecurity environment. Specifically, she discussed how Cisco detects 60,000 malware incidents on a daily basis. In addition, Halton spoke about DoH, a service that provides a further layer of protection for users’ online privacy.

Cisco is working with Mozilla, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) for these new encryption services. Essentially, DoH protects users’ browser history from being shared with other individuals or corporations, a breakthrough in privacy technology.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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