A speaker stands on stage in a modern conference room, addressing an engaged audience seated at round tables. Large screens display "Sapphire" and "NISC 2023" logos beside the speaker. Attendees are reflecting on the session, some taking notes or looking attentively at the speaker.

This year NISC presented all of us with an agenda comprehensively filled with case studies, insights from industry experts, practical considerations and valuable take-aways. Yet, as we reflect on the numerous conversations enjoyed during the conference one of the resounding messages was how invaluable connecting with peers, experts and a diverse network of like-minded individuals had been. It is human nature to not appreciate all you have until it is gone and in a post-pandemic world, we are still not taking for granted the value of social interaction and maximising the value of networking opportunities that such events offer.

Opening roundtables such as ‘Justifying Your Cybersecurity Spend’ in the current economic climate and with consideration of data residency in the cloud, generated animated engagement and healthy debates and most importantly encouraged an honest conversation relating to the shared responsibility model.  

Highlights such as Geoff White’s Keynote on ‘Ransomware and Money Laundering’ in which we considered the impact of Financial Crime, enabled us to step back and consider the indifference of cyber-criminals to the sector, attack vector or collateral damage they cause. The fundamental fact that cybercrime is one of the World’s fastest growing economies and consideration of the motivations and processes adopted by the criminals, provides us with further perspective on our combined efforts to create a more secure society.

Listening to Professor Lisa Short speak to us so engagingly about ‘Digital Disruption’ and the ‘Impact of AI’ within the workplace, especially the impact it has on security, provoked some incredibly interesting questions and reflections. The expert panel discussion explored this area further, with Professor Short, as it empowered us to consider the value of AI in areas such as Medical Assessment, enabling an increase in sample numbers and accuracy and a reduction in resource constraint as well as time to diagnosis. Embracing such developments presents so many advantages to society and humanity, however as with all digital and technical transformation, it is critical to be able to consider secure by design methodologies and achieve the assurance of a safe and secure profile for this to progress.

Leading on from this theme of advances in technology and the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, the roundtable on ‘Securing Tomorrow’ and ‘The Future of Intelligence’ walked us through ways in which organisations are navigating the complexities of current threats whilst utilising emerging technologies. Exploring the transformative role of technology in threat detection, analysis, and mitigating new ways in which we can all enhance our security posture, leveraging the value of technology in our fight against cybercrime, was a truly encouraging prospect.

While looking to the future, horizon scanning is vital in ensuring that we maintain pace with a constantly evolving landscape of cyber-attack and defence were also top of mind. The impact of ransomware and principles of incident response continue to be a critical subject of high importance to us all. Sapphire’s analysis of a Ransomware case study and breakdown of the ‘How’ Managed Services detected, investigated and responded to real-world Ransomware attacks was a hugely popular session.

The realities of IT and OT (Operational Technology) convergence and the prevalence of IoT (Internet of Things) interrelated devices connecting to our networks and clouds was the focus of Sapphire’s stage session on ‘The Future of OT Security’. Many of our subsequent conversations alluded to the maturity of OT and IoT asset identification and monitoring services today, and Sapphire are so pleased to be able to support our valued clients at the start of this journey.

In addition to a balanced agenda all attendees benefited from the opportunity to meet with many vendors, specialist independent organisations such as ISACA and also arrange one to one sessions with Sapphire’s Subject Matter Experts, Technologists and Advisory teams with subjects as diverse as Incident Response Retainers, How to write a Business Case for additional Security Budget and mXDR being among the requested conversations.

The success of NISC has always come down to the people who join us there. From our partners, specialist security vendors and wonderful clients to our industry experts and friends who add immeasurable value every single year. In Cyber Security more than any other sector diversity is critical and the importance of every one of us coming together to learn, develop and support one another on our combined cyber security journey is vital.

We very much look forward to seeing you all again at NISC 2024!

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