The future of cybersecurity and AI: An exclusive interview with John Chambers

The future of cybersecurity and AI: An exclusive interview with John Chambers

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The future of cybersecurity, the role of artificial intelligence and insights on the investment landscape were key talking points during a conversation between industry analysts John Furrier and Dave Vellante and John Chambers (pictured), chief executive officer of JC2 Ventures and former Cisco Systems Inc. CEO, at today’s RSA Conference in San Francisco.

The security of the past, which was siloed and complex, will no longer work, according to Chambers. He envisions the future of security as an architectural play that encompasses a 360-degree approach, from risk assessment and prevention to recovery.

“I think you’re going to see security of the future, an architectural play, which thinks about it from where are you versus your peers,” he said. “If you invest money, where should you invest? How does it lower your cyber insurance or work through it? How do you prevent the attacks once they start to occur and shut them down quickly? How do you recover from them?”

A new generation of security leaders will emerge as the sector becomes more exciting and innovative, he added. (* Disclosure below.)

AI, voice recognition and security integration

AI is going to be bigger than the cloud and the internet combined, according to Chambers, and it will play a crucial role in the future of security. AI will be a key enabler for simplifying security and integrating it into various systems, from supply chains and electrical grids to networking. With AI’s increasing prominence, voice recognition may become the primary single sign-on for identity verification in the future, Chambers added.

But who will lead AI-driven innovation in the sector?

“I think it’s most likely to be players that weren’t on people’s radar screens two years ago,” he stated. “If somebody could get AI and cybersecurity together uniquely, that gets exciting.”

The importance of data in the AI-driven security landscape shouldn’t be overlooked, as companies will be hesitant to share their data with others, Chambers pointed out. As such, the ability to effectively use and analyze data through AI algorithms will become increasingly important.

There’s a huge potential for a “gold rush” in the AI space, with some companies becoming overvalued.

“Everyone company is going to be an AI company. Every company is going to be digital,” Chambers added.

Betting on innovative startups and the future of security

In terms of investment, Chambers is involved with nine security startups, all growing between 40% and 300%. The industry’s growth of 10-12% indicates that these startups represent the next generation of security players, characterized by simplicity, ease of use and the ability to communicate across various security components, Chambers explained.

Chambers’ investment philosophy leans toward early-stage, B-level investments. He firmly believes in betting on innovative startups that are just starting with new ideas rather than playing catch-up with established players. He also sees the potential for AI and cybersecurity to converge, creating unique and exciting opportunities for the industry.

“Security has to be built in from the very beginning. It can’t be an afterthought,” Chambers said. “You overlay security on electrical grid, all you’re doing is putting Band-Aids on it.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the RSA Conference:

(* Disclosure: This is an unsponsored editorial segment. However, theCUBE is a paid media partner for the RSA Conference. Sponsors of theCUBE’s event coverage do not have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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