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Cloud computing, cybersecurity, and the Internet of Things

10/29/15 - BOSTON, MA. - President Joseph E. Aoun had a conversation with tech sector giants Joseph Tucci, Northeastern trustee and chairman/CEO of EMC Corporation and Amit Yoran, president of RAS during a Behind the scenes with the Leaders of Tech event held in the Raytheon Amphitheater at Northeastern University on October 29, 2015. Staff Photo: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

President Joseph E. Aoun on Thursday hosted EMC Corporation Chairman and CEO Joseph Tucci and Amit Yoran, president of RSA, EMC’s security division, for an engaging discussion about trends in high tech and the challenges for creating an open, secure, and technologically enabled society.

The hourlong conversation touched on many topics, as Aoun and students, faculty, and staff in attendance in the Egan Research Center posed questions on everything from cloud computing and cybersecurity to the Internet of Things.

Massachusetts-based EMC is a global leader in information technology, and was founded by two Northeastern alumni: Richard Egan, E’61, H’95, and Roger Marino, E’61, H’96. The company is also a longstanding supporter of Northeastern’s signature co-op program.

Tucci led EMC through a period of dramatic revitalization, transforming the company’s business model from a focus on high-end storage platforms to a federation of businesses. Yoran, for his part, is responsible for developing and executing RSA’s strategic vision.

On cloud computing, Tucci said he envisions a “hybrid world” with both private and public clouds. Many companies, he said, weren’t born with the cloud and are working with older legacy systems and thus will need to be taken on a journey to this cloud environment.

“I see cloud computing being a combination of privatized and public clouds, and that’s where our strategy fits in, to help customers through that journey,” Tucci said.

On cybersecurity, Yoran asserted that the industry has failed to shift from the mindset of defense to one that instead focuses on helping companies and organizations operate, manage, and prioritize within an environment that will inevitably be breached. To keep up with the constantly evolving tech industry, he said, RSA is focused on several key areas it sees as the critical needs in the near future: authentication, identity management, access management, and governance.

Toward the end of the discussion, Aoun asked both guests to address the Internet of Things, referring to the network of physical objects—including smartphones, appliances, and wearable devices—that are embedded with software and sensors and are connected to the Web and each other.

Tucci said the massive amount of new data generated by this phenomenon will provide significant opportunities and challenges in security. Yoran agreed.

“It’s going to transform the world,” he said. “When it comes to security, lest you entrepreneurs in the audience feel like there isn’t any opportunity in the security world, we’ve just started to scratch surface of the challenges we’re going to see in the next five years.”