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Security and Business Redefined – Watson Amsterdam Summit Security recap

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On June 14 more than 350 delegates joined the Watson Amsterdam Summit to learn how cognitive technology is transforming sectors, companies and professions. So, what about security? A CISO should help facilitate innovation; watching and waiting are not an option. Cyber threats, however, are increasing, and let’s not forget about regulations – anyone ready yet for the GDPR? A separate Security track examined the impact of disruptive technologies, such as cognitive, on CISOs and security managers.
On a different note, to help our customers prepare for these challenges, we recently opened our cyber range, a simulation center for cyber-attacks where customers learn to prepare, react and respond to cyber-attacks through gamification. The Computable editorial staff thought this was worthy of a nomination for Security Supplier of the Year 2017. But I’m digressing…...

´As organizations are adopting innovations at an ever increasing rate, IT and Security need to get on board and not derail this progress´

I had the pleasure of kicking off the Security track. Besides introducing the agenda, I zoomed in on what digital transformation means for security against the backdrop of the challenges mentioned above. How to manage increased risk caused by more users creating more data? And how to operationalize unstructured data for security purposes?


‘Security is about managing risk, not avoiding it.’

After that Rick Strijbos, Managing Director of the Security Academy, focused on security and innovation, more specifically: how to prevent the security skills gap from slowing down enterprise innovation. An interesting notion arose, which was later discussed in the ‘Lagerhuis’-style debate: does the skills gap actually exist?

‘Cognitive security is unstoppable, but needs humans’.

One of the track highlights took place in the afternoon, when Johan Dieltjens, Watson Ambassador Benelux for IBM Security, explained the workings of Watson for Cybersecurity and provided a demo.  Watson for Cybersecurity is IBM’s cognitive computing solution for Security and is currently available as QRadar Advisor With Watson. This session inspired a lot of interaction with the audience which led to additional insights. Most participants had heard about Watson for Cybersecurity before and were interested to see it in action. Artificial Intelligence is still new to many, but participants agreed that it is here to stay and soon we cannot work without it. They also generally understood that these technologies will help humans, but can’t replace them.

‘If it is connected to the internet, it will be found.’

All data generated today makes a great target for cyber-attacks. Even more so in the case of Internet of Things (IoT) which has been spreading in a rampant and unchecked manner. Andre Smulders, Strategic Advisor Cyber Security TNO, shared his considerations for an IoT security strategy. The key points should be: know where the components of your IoT-ecosystem are, how is this system going to develop and make sure your supplier on whom you depend also knows about IoT security and has a strategy in place. Remedy vulnerabilities and remove and isolate the vulnerable parts.

‘Security professionals educate themselves.’

During the day, participants submitted statements and questions which were discussed during the final security session: a ‘Lagerhuis’ –style debate. Rick Strijbos of the security academy led the debate, with the room being split in two and participants taking sides and debating their position.  `You don’t have to educate good security professionals, they educate themselves´, was a statement which a lot of participants agreed with, however, it should not be taken out of context as ‘this only counts for someone who is passionate about his job, overall you will still need to invest into security training’, according to one debater.

Looking back at the Summit, as one of the participants said, ‘Artificial intelligence is unstoppable and soon we cannot work without it’. A good quote you should consider for yourself: ´You finish or you do not finish, or in this case you start or you do not start´. And what will Watson do for you in this process?

To learn more about cognitive security, please click here

For more information on IBM Security solutions and services, please visit this site.

To learn more about Watson for Cybersecurity, have a look at the results of our first client


Global Executive Security Advisor, IBM Security X-Force Command

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