Reflections of Dreamforce
Earlier this month, Salesforce.com invited Forcepoint to present a session and participate in a panel at their annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. The theme of the event was “Be a Trailblazer,” which resonated for me as a technologist. Throughout the conference there was a resounding theme and focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the increasing capability of ‘bots’ in delivering a better customer experience.
Heath Thompson and I presented Forcepoint’s security vision and the way we protect our own Salesforce instance, followed by a panel Q&A with Bill Pessin, AVP of Sales at SFDC for their Aerospace/Intelligence/Defense business. Many thanks to Bill for collaborating with us on the panel and bringing his insight to the conversation. We were able to share with attendees our human point system and introduce the concept of risk-adaptive protection. Many in attendance nodded their heads in agreement as we described the security challenges facing today’s enterprises. As IT organizations give up more control to Cloud-delivered applications, it was clear that security is fast becoming top-of-mind. We could sense the possible synergy between SFDC and Forcepoint, and how we complement each other to protect and provide services to our customers.
In addition to this session, I was able to spend the week engaging with other CIOs, sharing best-practices and learning about what keeps them up at night. Keep in mind that these other CIOs are already SFDC customers and have already made the decision to become more agile by leveraging cloud. While most customers are very happy with their results from the current capabilities, there is a growing desire to expand the usage of the platform, be it for marketing, customer portal, analytics, or collaboration. Each of these innovations and advances has an element of elevated risk. For virtually every peer I spoke to, data security is a top concern. It was the unspoken elephant in the room, especially with new compliance and regulations on the horizon like GDPR and DFAR. We discussed in detail the difference between “Security of the Cloud” and “Security in the Cloud.” “Security of the Cloud” is primarily provided by the SaaS/Cloud provider, and in this case SFDC does an excellent job with it. With “Security in the Cloud,” the onus is on the consumer. In other words, the consumer owns the data privacy, protection and integrity.
That line of thinking got validated by the partner community. The Forcepoint team attending the event had discussions with multiple systems integrators and channel partners on the Dreamforce expo floor. They all expressed some form of concern around protecting their data. When we started explaining how the combination of Forcepoint CASB and DLP addressed the lion’s share of those concerns, you could see the relief come across their faces. When we went on to explain that the protection would also extend to elements of their SaaS environment like O365, they wanted to learn more. It was clear that many customers want to do more with SaaS, but don’t know how to move forward with the blessing of their security team. In today’s boundary-less, zero-perimeter world, security needs to be continuous and risk-adaptive, and move from a mere threat-centric perspective to behavior-centric.
This wasn’t my first Dreamforce event, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. But I can tell you that the consideration for security was at the forefront more than any time previously. There is an immense opportunity to allow customers to move boldly into the Cloud era, knowing that their data will be protected. I’m excited to say that Forcepoint can show the way forward.