NIAS’19 in review by Clearswift CTO, Guy Bunker

Last week, Clearswift was a gold sponsor at NATO’s NIAS’19 three-day cyber security summit in Mons, Belgium, and it was a great event with over 1,800 delegates from 46 nations. Organised by the NCIA agency, whose mission is to create a ‘fully digital NATO enterprise’, the overall theme for the event was ‘digital transformation: smarter machines for smarter decisions’.

For those who haven’t been to a NIAS event, the main stage is enormous and rather impressive. The line-up of key speakers was the same, with representatives from all over NATO. The overarching message was that the cyber-threat to nations is at a tipping point and it is only with cooperation and collaboration that progress will be made. The sheer number of security incidents that occur every day is mindboggling, hence the need for more than just traditional methods of processing. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) were major topics at the event, with a separate breakout track. Like the Billington Cyber Summit event I went to in Washington in September, there was a great deal more pragmatism from the speakers. AI/ML is not the be-all and end-all of dealing with cyber, it is another tool in the box to augment both existing methods. Most speakers talked about AI/ML being able to separate the wood from the trees, helping the human analyst focus on what really needs looking at. At Billington, the acronym used was AIM – Augmenting Intelligence using Machines – this is a great description for what is needed.

The Clearswift exhibition was busy with visitors every day. We have customers who are part of NATO and it was good to see some of them at this event. We also met lots of new people and had some excellent conversations around what we can do to help in the CDIS (Cross-Domain Information Sharing) space – which tied in well to the collaboration theme. We also demonstrated our OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and image redaction technology along with our anti-steganography and Adaptive-DLP functionality. Unwanted data acquisition (where you are the recipient of information you shouldn’t have) also caused quite a stir and is just as big an issue in the defense community as it is in the commercial one.

Clearswift technology enables secure continuous collaboration, whether it is across groups, departments or countries. It’s a message that resonated with the attendees (as well as with our customers) and one we will continue to drive with innovative new features to protect against advanced threats as well as data loss.

We look forward to the event again next year.

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