Cybersecurity Shorts: Cybersecurity Response and Trends, Supply Chain Attacks, Updates on Fed Policy, Zero Trust and More – Futurum Tech Webcast
by Shelly Kramer | November 3, 2021

In today’s episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast, Cybersecurity Shorts Series, I’m joined by Dell Technologies’ John Boyle and Rick Martinez. John is a cybersecurity and supply chain defense product manager and Rick is a senior distinguished engineer and a senior director at Dell. Our conversation today revolved around the current state of the cybersecurity industry, supply chain attacks, fed policy and orders, why zero trust is a thing these days, and more.

Some highlights of the discussion with Rick and John included:

Recent breaches and trends. Discussion around the major cybersecurity breaches that have recently happened, including:

  • Colonial pipeline
  • JBS Foods
  • New Cooperative hack

and response and trends around those attacks, as well as how/whether COVID and other things have contributed to the frequency of attacks.

Speaking of supply chain. Supply chain attacks are expected to quadruple in 2021 – and why a posture of ‘strong security protection’ is no longer enough.

President Biden’s executive order. This order, signed at the end of July to protect America’s critical infrastructure and what that involves.

Zero Trust. We’re hearing a lot about zero trust being the right security posture for the future. Rick elaborates a bit on that and provided some examples.

What industries are most at risk? Our conversation moved to thoughts on what industries are most at risk and how organizations who don’t have a security posture in place are struggling.

What can businesses do to protect themselves and some key technologies that can be adopted that will make a difference.

Overview of Dell security offerings both above and below the OS worth considering.

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Find and connect with Rick Martinez and John Boyle on LinkedIn here, and if we’re not yet connected on LinkedIn, feel free to shoot me a connection request as well:

Rick Martinez, Senior Distinguished Engineer, Sr. Director
John Boyle, Cyber Security and Supply Chain Defense Product Management
Shelly Kramer, Founding Partner + Lead Analyst

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Shelly Kramer: Hello. I’m Shelly Kramer and welcome to this episode of The Futurum Tech Webcast. This show is part of our Cybersecurity Shorts series and I am thrilled today to have two repeat guests on the show and two people who are as much cybersecurity nerds as I am. And I’m really, really looking forward to this conversation around talking about what’s going on in the industry, what we’re seeing from a cybersecurity standpoint, what businesses need to think about, and all of that sort of thing. So without further ado, I’ll introduce my guests, John Boyle and Rick Martinez from Dell Technologies. Welcome, gentlemen.

John Boyle: Thanks, Shelly.

Rick Martinez: Oh, thank you.

Shelly Kramer: Always great to have you, and with that, I have just touched on who you are. Why don’t you both tell us just a little bit about yourselves and your journey to where you ended up today at Dell Technologies and what you’re working on? So, Rick, why don’t you kick us off?

Rick Martinez: Sure. Rick Martinez, I’m a Senior Distinguished Engineer. I work in Dell’s Experience and Innovation Group, so we’re a CTO group in our Client PC Division and I’m personally responsible for our security strategy for our PCs. As a CTO group, we generally look three to five years out on our strategy, so always looking forward into the future of what our adversaries are going to be up to in three to five years. I’ve been at Dell close to 25 years, and half of those years, I’ve been focused on security. I like to tell people that I’ve worked my way up the stack though.

I actually joined Dell as an intern in college and I never looked back, but I started by designing motherboards, then I moved into the bios team, because it was a lot easier to iterate on writing code than it was to scrap motherboards. Eventually, as a bios engineer and bios lead, I found security and it was really amazing and an amazing journey since then. So over the past 10, 15 years, the security industry, on PCs specifically, has just made some huge strides and I’ve been lucky to be a part of that, and really interesting work. Hopefully, contribute to that over the next 10 years or so.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. I have 15 year old twin high school sophomores and one of the bits of gospel that I find myself regularly preaching is that the best career is one where you end up truly excited every day to get up and do the things that you want to get to do, and need to do with your organization, with your clients. And that’s how I feel a lot about just the technology space in general, but certainly with a focus on security, because it has never been a more fundamental piece of business strategy than it is today, and that is in no way going to change ever. So I think that’s part of what jazzes me so much about it. John? Let’s hear your backstory.

John Boyle: Well, I’ve been at Dell for a combined, I would probably say, eight or nine years, but I’m what they call a boomeranger. I was here for about five years and then went to work for a small startup and then got pulled right back in to work in the security team. I’m a product manager in cybersecurity. I closely partner with Rick and the CTO team, because our focus is to bring that four to five year roadmap and North Star vision into the one three-year and develop solutions with our hardware, and firmware, and the bios teams, and the software to execute on that. And also, to be able to be agile enough to respond to market dynamics, and boy, this year has been dynamic.

I started off at Oracle out of school. I was the first Sun Solaris support rep when the company was only $700 million annually and I’ve been through a lot of phases and technology, and really enjoy it. Security’s always been an attribute of everything that I’ve done, but I really thrill to focus on security 100% of the time because it is very important. The way that we get to interact with so many of our customers, that it impacts so many people around the globe, and then their security missions to support is very exciting and something that we’re very passionate about doing.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. Well, securities around the globe is a very big deal and I feel like, and I know we’ve had this conversation before, these days, when you’re talking about cybersecurity, it’s like playing a game of whack-a-mole. What’s next? The Colonial Pipeline, we have GBS Foods. Just in the last week, we’ve had the New Cooperative hack, which is the cyber-crime cell Black Matter, a Russian group, executed a ransomware attack on the New Cooperative and this is a grain co-op. So when you think about supply chain and you think about all of these different things that target supply chain, this particular hack, the New Cooperative hack, the hackers are demanding $5.9 million to unlock the computer networks that New Cooperative uses to keep the food supply chains and the feeding schedules on track for millions of chickens, and cows, and hogs.

And it’s like the Colonial Pipeline. Again, sometimes when we think of infrastructure, we think of utilities and that sort of thing, but there’s a whole lot of infrastructure that can be impacted and that certainly is being targeted by threat actors the world over. So it really is a really big challenge.

John Boyle: Right.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. So we’ve had these major attacks. Let’s talk about what have the trends that we’ve seen. The New Cooperative hack is a brand new one, but let’s talk about, think about Colonial Pipeline, GBS Foods. What have we seen since these attacks have happened in the industry?

John Boyle: As far as supply chain, I’ll just kick it off on the higher level. Supply chain, to us, is for the moment that are part sourced to the point where a device retires, and so supply chain can be physical, it can be digital, it can be the people working on things. And when we talk about the supply chain of these different industries, and we call them critical infrastructure, healthcare, financial services, our food supply, because if something’s impacted, yes, the data is ransomed. Yes, it has an impact financially to the company, but as we’ll talk about later in one of the specific examples we want to discuss today, it has impact to real lives.

And so, what we’ve seen is a response from governments around the world, specifically with that executive order from the US federal, from President Biden’s desk, speaking to the importance of the federal governments leaning into protecting critical infrastructure. That’s been a very, very big shift and it’s had a few ripple effects. The first one I would say is that it has drawn attention to security, from being just a nice to have checkbox, I got a product that has some security, to a primary, strategic imperative when looking at your ecosystem and how your organizations work.

The second thing is that it’s drawing attention to the large tax, and so I believe what we’re seeing now is that the drift is that the attacks are focusing on smaller, softer targets. And so the message I would say, and I think that Rick might agree, is that everybody’s a target and everybody needs to do that proactive assessment of their security posture.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. Absolutely. What about you, Rick? What do you think?

Rick Martinez: Yeah, I agree, and I think anyone will agree that a lot of these are critical infrastructure. But luckily, it hasn’t been widespread and of national impact yet.

Shelly Kramer: Right. Yet, keyword. Right?

Rick Martinez: Exactly, and that’s where I was going. So I think that it is actually, I’m not going to say it’s a good thing, but it certainly a catalyst for change and a catalyst for investing in the right software, and the right hygiene, and the right security for everybody. So these attackers, if there’s any silver lining, they’ve provided some awareness to this problem. They’ve provided some incentive for lawmakers to go and try to address this in policy. And certainly, they’ve provided some additional justification for companies that develop security and develop security software in infrastructure to go to their budget meetings and really make a difference. So I’m trying to be a little bit opportunistic about it and I hope we can do that.

I think the other interesting thing about it, and it’s a little bit of an aside, but because of these targets and because of the high visibility of them, there’s also this business versus risk conversation or decision that happens. You’ve got a lot of companies out there today doing cybersecurity and ransomware insurance, so we’re getting to this point where some of these victims are actually paying the ransom because it’s a lot cheaper, based on their insurance policy, than actually going back to their backups or figuring out how to remediate in some other way.

So this gives an obvious advantage to the attackers, which is not something that we want. So I think as system developers and ecosystem security players, I think we can all do a better job on either backups, or improving cyber resilience of our platforms, and our networks, and things like that so that we can bring that back in the other direction and away from paying these criminals into actually protecting against this.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and it is completely understandable why somebody would want to just suck it up and pony up the dough going down the road, but the reality of it is the more that we do that, the more incentivized threat actors are to keep doing that. And this is an incredibly profitable business. An incredibly profitable business. One of the things, John, you talked about supply chain. I was reading a little bit before this show some data from the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. Their research shows that they expect supply chain attacks to quadruple in 2021. We’re in 2021, right? And this was an article that was just published this summer, so pretty recent. But the other thing that they found that I thought was interesting, about 66% of supply chain attacks focus on the suppliers code.

So get in there, get access, and we just have so much. We’ve got ransomware as service offerings. We’ve got phishing as service offerings. Threat actors are nothing if not entrepreneurial and well aware of how to quickly stand up new business models to just make it easy for anybody who wants to do dirty deeds that much easier.

John Boyle: I think what we get often told or requested of is that customers, more and more, tell Rick and I at all levels, CIOs, commercial, government agencies, that they don’t know what they don’t know. I would say that is a very powerful statement from people that know a lot.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. That’s my favorite dad-ism line to say. I use that all the time. We don’t know what we don’t know until we know.

John Boyle: Or you can really make it elegant and say, “Well, it’s a Socrates thing, where it’s true knowledge that you usually know nothing at all,” and I think that is the first thing with security, is that reassess the posture. Because to date, it could’ve been like, “Oh, we bought product.” My parents are like, “Oh, I have the Norton antivirus from 1996 that came in the magazine thing.” The reality is that when we talk about supply chain security, protecting our digital, our physical, we talk about the firmware protections, we talk about the above operating system, operating system, physical, digital like we were talking about, it gets down to disruption of a kill chain.

The first thing to know is that people don’t just wake up in the morning, stretch and have their coffee, and say, “Oh, I’m going to attack a high value target today.” It has to be a successive chain of successful events that are progressed either by holes in the infrastructure, the policy, humans themselves that conclude in an attack. Our job is to be as disruptive to that as possible and it’s not a single solution. So there’s a lot of things that, let’s say, we imbue into the Dell devices that one, we don’t really talk about a lot because our customers were the ones that need to know. And so there’s things below the operating system that talk to the threat engines and that sort of thing.

So we try to be as highly disruptive as possible. And it could be a small measure, it could be something significant like a XDR solution, but the big message is one solution is not your silver bullet. You need to have a partner who is your technology partner, your security partner, and it needs to be a partnership of trust so that partner’s not just selling you solutions. They’re looking out for your specific security mission.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, and I think that we talk a lot. I just got back from an event, my first business travel event, as a matter of fact. I was moderating some panel discussions in Boston with DeSo Technologies and one of the things that we were talking about, as it relates to manufacturing and some of the technologies that they do, is that smart partnerships are everything. I think that leaders understanding, whether it’s CISOs, or CIOs, or senior leaders, or all of them, that the days where you can do everything as a self-contained unit are really over.

There are so many issues at play here, the challenge of the skills gap within organizations. There’s the challenge of a dearth of skilled tech talent and there’s the challenge that technology is evolving so quickly, and it’s going to continue to do so, and keeping up is incredibly difficult. So when you’re working with strategic partners, what you’re getting is somebody who can slide into your organization, work with your team, help you bring their knowledge base and their expertise to the table. But also, you slide in knowing we did this, this, and this for the Department of Defense, or this company, or whatever.

And so you’re able to bring the solutions and even the challenges that you experienced with other organizations to the table when it comes to helping map out the right strategies, the right equipment, the right hardware, the right software. I think that understanding that from a business leadership standpoint, that it’s not a failure for you to say, “We can’t do this all ourselves.” It’s really the most strategic path I think you can go on.

Rick Martinez: Right.

Shelly Kramer: Nobody’s going to argue with me there. I like that. I like that. So I want to talk a little bit now about, I’ll just touch very quickly, this isn’t a question so much, is we’ve got a bunch of things going on at the administrative level with the federal government and beyond. We’ve got Biden signed an executive order at the end of July designed to protect America’s critical infrastructure, and this executive order, John, you touched on it briefly, but I just wanted to map it out a little bit. It requires all government agencies to adopt multifactor authentication and encryption on data at rest or in transit, which by the way is only part of the problem.

There is also a directive to develop a nation cloud security strategy that will apply to all agencies. There are standardized contractual requirements for third party vendors working with each government agency, and oh, by the way, why is this important? Solar Winds, right? Technology company, managed services provider with lots of government entities as clients, that was a huge hack that we’re still discovering the ramifications of. So those contractual requirements for third party vendors are important and then each requirement comes with a deadline of between 60 and 180 days of showing the urgency of the situation.

I was reading something the other day about a rating system. Do we have a rating system here in the United States, where a breach happens and we rate it as an 8.5? Do we have one of those, Rick? Or is that a European thing?

Rick Martinez: I’ve not run across that.

Shelly Kramer: Okay. Okay, I didn’t think that we did. I was reading something else, this is what happens when all you do is consume information, I was reading something else recently about another hack, just in the last couple days I was reading this. They were talking about that the vendor in this situation rated this hack with a severity of 8.9 out of 10. I think I remember reading that why don’t we have this kind of a reporting system so that vendors can quickly and easily say, “We think this is an urgency situation on this.” But I didn’t think we had one of those.

We also have the Department of Homeland Security. They issued a directive in late July requiring owners and operators of TSA designated critical pipelines that transport hazardous liquids and natural gas and required them to implement some urgently needed protections against cyber intrusion. So we do have, at the federal level, some serious attention. I think they do understand the severity of the problem here and I know Biden has had conversations with Putin. I’m sure everybody expects those to be fruitful and for Russia to just do whatever we ask them to do, because isn’t that how that works?

So anyway, there are a lot of things going on at the federal level and that’s a good thing, but I think that one of the things that has come out of, we did some research together in the last number of months, John and Rick, and I know we talked about this before, but some of our data during the course of that research showed us that when you ask customers whether or not they’ve encountered a security breach over the course of the last six, nine, 12 months, whatever, many of them say, “Yes, absolutely. We’ve encountered numerous breaches.” The way that they detected those breaches is that have a very robust security posture. They’re using dashboards that show real-time information about what’s happening, and they’re able to quickly and easily identify anomalies.

The people in that study that we did who told us that they were relatively certain they had not experienced any kind of breach were, John? You want to end that sentence for me? Because I know you know.

John Boyle: I’m trying to think. I just remember a lot of people were saying they’re not sure if they’ve been breached, actually.

Shelly Kramer: They’re not using a dashboard. That’s it.

John Boyle: Yeah. There’s a way to actually have the network be monitored through extended detection and response. It’s not just the endpoint. It’s the servers, it’s the networking, and even those big companies that have those outside HVAC providers that remote control cool their companies from the outside. Those systems have computers too. Everything is a device these days. So it’s having the proactive assessment of what’s in your environment, and that’s something like VDR, is a good example of that to detect you have these things in your environment, and a lot of them are probably like, “Oh, I never knew I had that in my environment.”

How do you use something like Pentest to see where you might have some vulnerabilities proactively? And then how do you set up a posture so that you’ve got things like NextGen Antivirus on the computers, and you have the endpoint detection response, and then the extended detection response and do things proactively? And so I think that’s a big step for some people and it’s like, “How do I get started? If I’m a small company, what are my choices? If I’m a large company, does that mean that I lose control of my IT stuff?”

So I think the thing is it gets that partnership discussion around what’s the best fit for your mission and for your organization, but the cool thing is that we also see that a lot of these security offerings out there, XDR is a great example that was mentioned in the executive order and we’ll call that out a little bit later, but if you’re a small hospital like my dad’s organization he’s running in a rural area, they need to have the enterprise security technology at scale for the price they can afford and they don’t want to stand it up in their own network.

But when he was managing one of the big ones in the Bay area when I was growing up, the big hospitals there, they could stand it up in their environment. So really, it’s making sure that the technology’s available to all companies and all organizations, because everybody’s a target and that’s 50 endpoints, for instance, it’s nonprofits, anything. Because everybody’s connected and they’re an island hop or two away from another target.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. Well, and I think that’s also an important takeaway here, is don’t make the mistake of thinking, if you’re a small to midsize organization, that solutions are priced out of your budget, because it’s not the case and it is incredibly important to protect your business, to protect your data, to protect your customers, to protect your employees. All of those things. I think that a lot of times, people think, “Oh, that’s too rich for my blood,” but the reality of it is that is incorrect and there is a solution out there that will fit organizations of just about every size, and every focus area, and everything like that. So I think that’s important.

John Boyle: Yeah, and healthcare’s a good example. I was talking to my dad, and traditionally, it’s funny. You grow up in a healthcare family, both my parents are healthcare executives, lots of great dinnertime conversations, I can’t ride a motorcycle growing up, all that kind of stuff.

Shelly Kramer: Good. Good.

John Boyle: But I was talking to my dad this last year and one thing I’m really proud about my dad, and I’ll say that so he can watch this later, is that he is responsible in the Northwest for a lot of the rural satellite clinics. So that whole access to healthcare out in eastern Washington and that sort of thing, all the way down to Oregon, that’s my dad. He did that when I was growing up. When you have a diabetes program that’s rural in nature and it’s deployed out there, it’s very important that keeps functioning.

So one of things is that when we talk about the impacts of these attacks, we talk about money, we talk about data. But the real human cost in a situation like that, I looked at my dad and I said, “The interest and ownership of the security choice and posture has moved from IT to the sea level, because if those choices that IT makes do not protect the clinic, then your diabetes program is impacted and so are the lives of your patients.” And we’ve seen that this last year. Cancer patients in the east coast who have had their entire chemotherapy records erased.

My mom was in the hospital this last spring after a triple bypass surgery and I had a lot of time on my hands to sit there and look around. Fortunately, they’re using all the Dell technology which is great to see, but they actually had to open her up in her room in five minutes and respond to a blue code. If that was 20 minutes because somebody’s messing around with their network, my mom wouldn’t be here today. So I want to impress everybody out there that cold winters, lack of heat, hot summers, lack of AC, lack of food supply chain, lack of healthcare, those are our global community members’ lives at stake. So there’s a very human element to what we are protecting and we don’t want to get that lost in the data and the financials.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. It’s more than just about somebody having your personally identifiable information and stealing your identity. That’s terrible too. That’s terrible too.

John Boyle: But I think we’re seeing impacts to people’s daily lives, yeah. It’s real.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. And in many instances, healthcare is probably, I think, the number one target and it’s easy. And a lot of times, their systems are outdated, their IT practices are outdated. A global pandemic has presented a perfect opportunity because hospitals are already overloaded and inundated. You know what I’m saying?

John Boyle: Yeah.

Shelly Kramer: That’s another thing to think about.

John Boyle: And they’re all connected too, by the way.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

John Boyle: So your small clinic in the rural area is connected to the network, and doctors have a privilege at a bigger clinic or university where they teach. They have all the disparate databases and everything. So it’s a great example and that’s something that we all experienced a healthcare event, and we all know somebody this last two years that has. But interestingly enough, security’s like healthcare. So do you get more benefit out of having a preventative visit every year to detect something early or do you wait for the major medical event because you didn’t take proactive measures? That’s what security is and that’s what we’re trying to do, is put that annual visit, the proactive measures in place so that companies don’t have a major medical event in their infrastructure.

Shelly Kramer: And I’ll qualify that by saying that, and I’m reasonably certain our audience would not think this, but I just want to make sure, we do not mean that an annual security checkup is good enough, because it’s not. It’s not. I just wrote about phishing ware as a service that was just discovered, actually by some Microsoft researchers recently, and their whole job is around looking for vulnerabilities, and problems, and they happened to discover this phishing as a service operation that was happening. The way that they discovered it was not fixing a problem, it was just saying, “This is our job here. This is what we’re going to look for.” So I know that you do that as well. Across the board, it is a regular, continuous, ongoing focus on never, never, ever really letting your finger off the control panel. It really is and it’s such a critical part of operations.

One thing I’d like to talk a little bit about in general, because we really haven’t touched on it and I did laugh about it when we were talking about data protection and things like that, we’re hearing a lot about Zero Trust being the right security posture for the future. Talk with us a little bit about Zero Trust. Give us some examples. Give us your thoughts on what that is and why it’s important.

Rick Martinez: Sure. So I really like that you referenced there trust as a security posture and not a product. We see that misused so much in this industry. I’m sure if there was an RSA conference in-person this year, every booth would’ve said Zero Trust on it, right?

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Rick Martinez: So it’s getting a lot of attention as a buzzword. Marketing teams are going for it, and that’s great, and that’s what they do. But for us in security, it’s been part of our fundamentals for many years. Instead of saying Zero Trust, you say it’s because it’s overused and it’s lost its meaning as a buzzword. I like to dig down one level deeper and just say never trust and always verify. That’s much more specific. It’s much more actionable. It gets away from the negative connotations of Zero Trust as a buzzword, but that’s how I talk about it, and we’ve been doing that for years, especially on the client side or PC client side where we work.

And again, being on the CTO team on my side, we’ve been preparing for this Zero Trust future for many, many years, and I’m glad that we’re finally here. So you want to verify things. We have safe bios verification. We can verify the bios on your system using office measurements. That verification can then be used in a policy, in a Zero Trust architecture to determine whether or not the user is allowed to authenticate, or whether the network is safe. So these things were already built into our systems and it’s really just about connecting these end user solutions that implement that Zero Trust architecture or philosophy even.

So like I said, everything that we’ve done over the last decade has also been around hardening our devices, just general hardening and resilience of the device itself. So in a Zero Trust architecture, you’re really dependent on that device, that either mobile device, or PC, or server. They have to be trusted, otherwise you don’t have anything to go and verify all of these Zero Trust policies and authentication authorization capabilities. So that establishes the PCs, and the hardware, and even below the operating system is critical components in some of these architectures.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely.

John Boyle: I think that Zero Trust comes into play with the people who are accessing the network as well as the devices accessing the network, new things that are put into the environment. So it could be networking or servers like we talked about, it could be that HVAC system. Everything you need to verify to make sure that that piece of equipment or technology is as intended, versus toting along something else that shouldn’t be there. So when Rick talks about our devices with the bios verification, or our advanced secured component verification, you know that these components, that the bios, and even with Dell’s new technology that will verify the boot subregions of the Intel ME, which is the first in industry.

We are really, again, in viewing in the device, the ability to enforce Zero Trust, but also linking the devices to the Splunk SIMS so that the SOCS can see the telemetry from below the OS, as well as things like endpoint solutions and XDR web integration, so that those threat engines are absorbing the telemetry. A Dell device is not only secure in its own right, but adds to the value and the visibility of your full security posture, where traditionally, you’ll have blind spots because other devices don’t do that.

Shelly Kramer: Right. Absolutely. So I want to wrap up our conversation here. We spent a lot of time discussing what’s happened in the last few months, the last year or two. I want to shift the conversation a little bit to the future and I want to talk about what businesses can do now to protect themselves and what are some of the key technologies that can be adopted that will make a difference. I know that Dell has some products that are really interesting, so I wondered if we could talk about, as I said, what can businesses do now to protect themselves and then maybe tie that to some of the device offerings or product offerings that you all have?

John Boyle: Rick, do you want to talk about the below and I’ll cover above?

Rick Martinez: Sure.

Shelly Kramer: Great.

Rick Martinez: So from below the OS perspective, we’re continuously integrating new capabilities below the operating system. We’ve had hardware rate of trust, and bio signing, and signature verification on the bios for almost a decade now. Now we’re building on top of that foundation and creating sensors and censor frameworks to be able to understand when some of that has possibly gone wrong. If you had a physical attacker on your network or on your device, possibly tampered with your bios, we can detect that now in several different ways, either through trust and intrusion or through verification of the bios itself. So that creates the foundation of the security for the rest of the stuff to build upon.

Another thing that we do is, as far as user authentication goes, going back to the Zero Trust architectures, and knowing that your user is there and is authentic and authorized, we have something called SafeID, which is a hardware enforced and backed security chip on the motherboard on our network systems. So that allows users to use fingerprint, smart cards, and other advanced authentication techniques in their infrastructure.

Shelly Kramer: Is that face ID as well?

Rick Martinez: Face ID goes through our camera, and typically, through Windows Hello.

Shelly Kramer: Okay.

Rick Martinez: It’s not built into that chip, but fingerprint and other bio factors are.

Shelly Kramer: Well, I mentioned my teenage daughters earlier and their Dell computer, their Dell laptops have face ID, so I like that. Fingerprint’s good too. Okay. I didn’t mean to derail you. Are you finished covering these?

Rick Martinez: As John mentioned, I think the other thing that we can do below the operating system is from a supply chain verification perspective, making sure that we have technologies in the factory to create a digital certificate of the system as it’s manufactured. That digital certificate can then be used on the loading dock or in our customer’s infrastructure to verify that all the components are there and they haven’t been modified, or removed, or replaced in any way. So again, those types of below the operating system capabilities, they create a foundation for the above the OS solutions to build on top of.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely.

John Boyle: Right. And extending that to above the OS, we talked about that. We talked about solutions that Dell offers, such as Carbon Black, endpoint protection response, NGAV. One of the big topics, especially after that executive order, is XDR, the extended detection response. So that’s a real interesting one, because through our partnership with Secureworks, we are able to help customers use XDR in their environment with not just Dell devices, but anything else they have because it’s actually relevant to the devices that are in the environment. There’s a couple choices there, because we can help big corporations or big organizations deploy and stand up the environments so they can do the monitoring and the threat monitoring themselves. So that’s more one of our services that we can provide, that consultation.

But we’re finding that really popular is Dell managed detection and response, because that is a solution that brings the power of XDR to companies of all sizes around the globe that might have 50 endpoints or 50,000, and have that same level of technology. Because we’re no longer in the world that there’s XDR liked for a small business. The technology is the same and it scales the same, and you have the expertise of the Dell SOC and the team watching and monitoring the environment 24X7. So you have that technology partnership.

I just think that the MDR, in the example of my dad’s clinic, again, that rural clinic that he’s managing now, it’s a great fit for Dell MDR because they can immediately get started and have that rural organization protected, whereas when he was at the big California networked hospital, they could use MDR or they could have Dell services standup XDR in their environment. So the neat thing there is that you get a full view of what’s in your environment, and you may not know some things that are there, and then you’re immediately monitoring and protecting them, and the system is learning from the events that happened.

Like you said, there’s things that happen at 8:00 AM every day when the IT people show up, and there’s things that are anomalies, and the way we have the Dell devices integrated, it’s learning from the Dell devices as a unique add value from Dell. Anybody’s that’s using Service Now or SPLUNK, those investments are protected, so fantastic opportunity to really get an inquiry about Dell partnering on technology and security with Dell managed detection and response. And Rick and I are heavily involved with that, so always happy to answer questions.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. So in our show notes, I’ll be sure and include a link to each of your LinkedIn profiles, not that anybody wouldn’t be able to find you anyway, but sometimes I like trying to make it easy, as easy as possible. Well, gentlemen, as always, it has been a fantastic conversation and one that I’m sure we could go on for hours, because that’s who we are. Right?

John Boyle: Thanks, Shelly.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely, absolutely. So anyway, this wraps up our Cybersecurity Shorts webcast series interview with my wonderful guests, Rick Martinez and John Boyle from Dell Technologies. Again, if you have any questions after listening to the show, I’ll include contact information in there. And gentlemen, thank you as always for spending your time and sharing your gray matter with me and our audience. It’s always appreciated and it’s always interesting.

Rick Martinez: Thanks for having us.

About the Author

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”