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RSA Conference 2023 Q&A: Find Out What Tenable Has Planned; Will Showcase a Range of Cybersecurity Solutions and Participating in a Host of Speaking Sessions


Are you getting ready for the upcoming RSA Conference, the world's leading information security conference and exposition?  The event is quickly approaching, taking place April 24-27, 2023 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  This year's theme: Stronger Together.  In the cybersecurity industry, no one goes it alone. Instead, we build on each other’s diverse knowledge to create the next breakthrough—exchanging ideas, sharing our success stories, and bravely examining our failures.

Ahead of the show, VMblog received an exclusive interview with Piyush Sharrma, VP of engineering at Tenable, the Exposure Management company.


VMblog:  To kick things off, give VMblog readers a quick overview of the company.

Piyush Sharrma:  Tenable® is the Exposure Management company. Approximately 43,000 organizations around the globe rely on Tenable to understand and reduce cyber risk. As the creator of Nessus®, Tenable extended its expertise in vulnerabilities to deliver the world's first platform to see and secure any digital asset on any computing platform. Tenable customers include approximately 60 percent of the Fortune 500, approximately 40 percent of the Global 2000, and large government agencies.

VMblog:  Where/how can attendees find you at the show?  How many folks are you sending? 

Sharrma:  This year at RSA, Tenable is once again a Gold Level Sponsor. You can visit us at Booth #5245, located in the front row of the North Hall. The booth will feature numerous demo kiosks showcasing Tenable's latest cybersecurity solutions, as well as a presentation theater which will host 10-minute Lightning Talks with Q&A on breaking topics every thirty minutes for the entirety of the event. 

More than 25 Tenable cybersecurity experts will be onsite to answer your security questions on a range of topics, including exposure management, external attack surface management, cloud security posture management, web application security, IT vulnerability management, identity security and OT security.

Tenable will also be hosting Public Sector Day and DevSecOps Day at RSA. More details, including speaker sessions and demonstrations are provided later in the blog.

Public Sector Day

Date: Monday, April 24th

Time: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Location: Hilton San Francisco Union Square


DevSecOps Day

Date: Monday, April 24th

Time: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Location: South Moscone, Room 308


VMblog:  How many times have you sponsored the RSA Conference?

Sharrma:  Tenable has a long history with the RSA Conference sponsoring the event for 15 consecutive years, with Gold Level sponsorship the last 4 years. 

VMblog:  What made you sponsor RSA this year?  Is this a must sponsor event for your company?  

Sharrma:  RSA brings together security experts and technology visionaries from around the world providing an unprecedented venue to advance security knowledge. It offers a great opportunity to engage in deep conversations with IT and security leaders from enterprise, government and service providers and share how Tenable is helping advance client security objectives with expertise from Tenable Research, including the latest vulnerabilities, frameworks, threat actors, regulations and security best practices - and our market leading Exposure Management platform, Tenable One. There could not be a more critical time to have those conversations than now.

VMblog: What key challenges are leaders facing today? What examples can you cite?

Sharrma:  We are seeing a perfect storm of threat actor, technological and operational/economic factors that are reaching a head, making it extremely challenging for security leaders to scale and optimize their security operations and investments:

1) Unparalleled growth in cyberattacks from increasingly sophisticated, well-funded and often government sponsored threat actors - putting security teams at a great disadvantage. Today's threat actors are building robust ecosystems, from initial access brokers and affiliates focused on bypassing the perimeter and deploying ransomware to professionally run ransomware groups that orchestrate the ransom process. Threat actors also continue to find great success exploiting known vulnerabilities. In fact, according to the latest Tenable Threat Landscape Report, known vulnerabilities dating as far back as 2017 were so prominent that they occupy the top spot in the 2022 list of the top 5 vulnerabilities.

2) An expanding hybrid attack surface that is more complex than ever as organizations deploy more cloud services, SaaS and hybrid applications and connect multiple clouds with on prem infrastructures. This complexity is further compounded by increasing adoption of technologies like containers and Infrastructure as Code (IaC), which can introduce vulnerabilities and misconfigurations that get replicated at scale and often go unseen.

3) Siloed tools have resulted in fragmented visibility and underutilized data and insights. This makes it challenging to measure true cyber exposure across organizational boundaries, and prioritize investments where they will have the greatest impact - all at a time when security budgets continue to shrink for many organizations.

VMblog: Can you cite an example of these converging factors in the real world?

Sharrma:  According to our own Tenable Research team, which studies trends in threat actor activity and commonly exploited vulnerabilities, despite being nearly two years since detection, many organizations remain vulnerable to various elements of the SolarWinds attack. The breach, or technically breaches, was a coordinated effort by a nation state that successfully bypassed the perimeter of up to 18,000 organizations. More importantly, once access was gained, attackers moved laterally across seemingly separate, and segmented network environments. These environments were most often managed by different teams with their own security tools. What is of peak interest is the attacks followed a hybrid attack path - landing on prem, escalating privileges and then moving to cloud, making it difficult for teams to detect with siloed tools.

VMblog:  What is your message to RSA attendees coming out to the show this year?

Sharrma:  We continue to see organizations facing budget and staffing constraints, making it increasingly challenging for them to respond to growing threat and incident volumes in real-time. Sophisticated attacks, such as supply chain back doors and ransomware are making it even harder to pinpoint initial breaches, much less remediate them before threat actors are entrenched. 

It is Tenable's experience working with the leading Fortune 500 and Global organizations, that the most effective way to scale resources and limit exposure in this new reality is to prioritize prevention in the form of cyber hygiene and consistent enforcement of security best practices across hybrid environments. A focus on prevention addresses these challenges in two fundamental ways:

  • Closing common doorways to initial access through policy - for example limiting ingress from the internet, and disabling remote desktop protocol (RDP), which are leading entry points for ransomware attacks.
  • Blocking common paths to privilege escalation and lateral movement, such as enforcing MFA, strong passwords and least privilege for all accounts, and prioritizing remediation of the 3% of commonly exploited vulnerabilities and misconfigurations used in the wild.

Exposure Management as a discipline aims to operationalize prevention. It begins with complete visibility into every asset and exposure across the hybrid attack surface - both externally facing to secure the perimeter and within private networks to prevent escalation and lateral movement. Exposure Management looks at critical varieties of exposure - misconfigurations, vulnerabilities and privileges across the end-to-end attack surface - hardening security posture in running hybrid environments, as well as through pre-deployment guardrails that proactively stop risky deployments, thereby breaking attack chains before they begin.

VMblog:  What market needs or problems are you addressing in the security space?

Sharrma:  Tenable delivered the first Exposure Management platform, Tenable One, designed for the scale and complexity of a hybrid, multi-cloud world. Tenable One discovers the full attack surface, external and internal, bringing together asset and cyber risk data from multiple silos, including on prem IT, private cloud, public cloud, hybrid web applications, edge and operational technology. It identifies the three leading causes of exposure - misconfigurations, vulnerabilities and excess privilege, providing a comprehensive view of total asset exposure. By integrating data across silos and applying relevant context - such as asset criticality and needed remediation steps, organizations gain a prioritized and actionable view of exposure. Built in expertise on regulations, control frameworks and benchmarks streamline compliance enforcement and reporting greatly improving staff productivity. 

VMblog:  What are some of the key takeaways of your solution that RSA conference goers should be aware of?  And what sets you apart from the competition?

Sharrma:  What makes the Tenable One solution unique is that it illuminates cyber exposure in three fundamental ways:

  1. Comprehensive Asset Visibility: Tenable One delivers an end-to-end view of all assets that comprise the full hybrid attack surface in a single solution, because you can't secure what you can't see.

  2. Prioritized Remediation: Tenable One provides a comprehensive view of asset exposure - misconfigurations, vulnerabilities and privileges - and critical context including relationships between assets, privileges, attack paths and business impact needed for prioritized remediation.

  3. Cost-effective Scaling: Tenable One allows for consistent integration of data and consolidation of costly point solutions and redundant tools, while helping streamline workflow across teams.

VMblog:  What will you be showing off at the show this year?

Sharrma:  At RSA 2023, visitors of the Tenable booth will see a range of security solutions, including:

  • Tenable One Exposure Management Platform
  • Tenable Cloud Security
  • Tenable Vulnerability Management
  • Tenable Identity Exposure
  • Tenable Web App Scanning
  • Tenable Attack Surface Management
  • Tenable OT Security

VMblog:  What are some of the security best practices you would deem critical?

Sharrma:  When we look at the top breaches every year, what many have in common is that they have gained initial access via a simple unpatched vulnerability, misconfiguration or excess of privilege.  Further, the ability to move laterally, and escalate privileges is most often predicated on these same factors. If we go so far as to ‘assume breach', then the best line of defense from lateral movement and privilege escalation is good hygiene -- hardening infrastructure through patching of CVEs and remediation of misconfigurations, along with enforcement of least privilege and MFA.

Further, organizations looking to implement security best practices should assess how well vendors support established control frameworks and benchmarks. While many offer features that align with leading frameworks and benchmarks, not all have gone through the rigorous process of certification. Certification is critical to validate that correct and complete policies are in place according to defined standards. Further, not all provide reporting that crosses traditional silos. This level of visibility and assurance is vital for reporting purposes, when looking to demonstrate compliance with regulatory mandates and external audits and do so across the enterprise. While many control frameworks and benchmarks exist, CIS benchmarks are particularly useful when exact specifications are needed for how to implement safe and secure configurations within specific vendor environments, be it AWS, Azure and GCP, or on prem environments.

VMblog:  What are some top priorities for security leaders at RSA to consider this year?

Sharrma:  To mitigate exposure from an expanding attack surface and increased cyber threats, while simultaneously maximizing value from limited budgets, security leaders should explore tool and vendor consolidation efforts. An effective way to achieve this is through adoption of a consistent exposure management platform that crosses silos and reduces tools redundancy. Further, data and workflow integrations allow for greater efficiency and economies of scale.

VMblog:  Does your company have any speaking slots at RSA?  If so, can you tell us more about those sessions so people can get them on their schedules?

Sharrma:  Yes, Tenable is hosting several sessions at RSA, including:

  • Exposure Management: The Rise of Proactive Cybersecurity Platforms
  • 26 Lightning Talks at the Tenable booth #5245.
  • Zero Trust for Federal Government, as part of Public Sector Day
  • Demonstrations as part of DevSecOps Day

Details for each are provided below:

Session 3858

Title: Exposure Management: The Rise of Proactive Cybersecurity Platforms

Speaker: Nico Popp, Tenable Chief Product Officer

Session Date/Time: Wednesday, April 26th ; 1:15 PM - 2:05 PM


Weaknesses in the attack surface are everywhere. Yet today's approach to threat management is reactive with too much emphasis placed on detecting and containing threats instead of preventing them in the first place. This session will discuss how exposure management delivers unified visibility, context-driven prioritization and risk-based metrics as the foundation for tomorrow's preventive security.

Lighting Talk Topics:

  • Five tips to communicate cybersecurity more effectively to your business
  • Anticipate and respond faster to threats with Attack Path Analysis
  • Scaling cloud security for Containers and Kubernetes
  • Establishing Effective Security Controls and Prioritization across Multicloud
  • Establishing Preventative Identity Security
  • How to Quantify Your Identity Exposure and Risk
  • Getting the Full Picture: Securing the Modern Attack Surface includes OT
  • OT Security is Your Responsibility, Too: Getting Started with OT Vulnerability Management
  • Reduce your cyber insurance premiums with preventative security
  • Top vulnerabilities and security incidents of 2022
  • Reduce the sprawl: seven reasons to consolidate your security tools

Public Sector Day

Date: Monday, April 24th

Time: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Location: Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Tenable will be sponsoring Carahsoft's Public Sector Day. As part of this sponsorship, Tenable will be moderating the following panel session:

Panel Name: Zero Trust for Federal Government

Time: 2:10 PM - 2:45 PM


Zero Trust continues to be a significant concern and consequently a hot topic among government leaders and cyber security professionals. This session will look at approaches and best practices government organizations can put in place to support a robust Zero Trust program.

Confirmed Speakers:

Tenable Representative, Moderator

Randy Resnick - DOD Director, OCIO

Kevin Stine - Director, NIST

Alper Kerman - Security Engineer and Project Manager, National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at NIST  

Additional information on Public Sector Day can be found here.


DevSecOps Day

Date: Monday, April 24th

Time: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Location: South Moscone, Room 308

Tenable will be participating in Techstrong Group's DevSecOps Day. Join us to explore how to effectively integrate security into DevOps, the emergence of security engineers in DevOps and the role of developer security champions. We'll discuss the latest DevSecOps trends, practices and technologies, while focusing on two main topics:

  • Shift Left Vs. Shift Right - Shifting security left and right speeds up software development, ensures performance, resilience and reliability. Join us for a deep dive into shift left and shift right testing.
  • Open Source Security - Security experts will discuss open source security risks, how to address them, how to operationalize SBOMs and more!

This event is open to all pass types.

Additional information on DevSecOps Day can be found here.


VMblog:  Is your company giving away anything interesting at your booth?

Sharrma:  Yes, we will have a variety of giveaways for visitors to the Tenable Booth #5245.  In addition to free stickers and other giveaways for stopping in, those that receive a demo will get a choice of a knit ski hat and other offers.

Attendees of our Lightning Talks, which are scheduled to run every 30 minutes, will be entered into a raffle to win a range of prizes, including REI gift cards, Apple AirPods, Apple Watches, Tenable swag and other prizes.

Tenable will host beverage stations in the booth, including a spiked coffee bar on Monday evening, cold brew coffee Tuesday morning, and a hot chocolate bar on Wednesday morning.


Published Thursday, April 20, 2023 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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