Art Coviello

Recruiters need to turn toward to the military for security analysts, a background not generally spotlighted by the industry, according to EMC executive vice president Art Coviello.

“We won’t stop every individual attack,” said Coviello at the RSA conference in San Francisco Tuesday, “We need to tap more military experience and military intelligence … they need to be offensive in their mindset, constantly evaluating external intelligence.”

While technical knowledge is very important, the natural instincts U.S. veterans can bring to security may help drive the industry further in both tactics and mindset. Members of the military are trained to be discerning, but unafraid of acting when necessary.

The next wave of security protection needs to be agile and offensive, said Coviello, as well as take advantage of “Big Data.” This is a balancing act. In order to stop an attack in the act, security measures must work at network speeds.

There’s a “window of vulnerability” that cyber criminals are able to exploit. Often holes are plugged as a responsive measure — after the attack has already taken place. But no one wants to wait around to be on the defensive once attackers to come in.  In order to best prepare against an attack, security analysts must use “Big Data” to detect patterns and potentially prevent attacks from happening in the first place.

Coviello sees the current industry relying more heavily on defensive mechanisms, since it is scared to admit hackers are coming. The industry needs people who are wired to do both.

“Never have we witnessed so many high-profile attacks in one year,” said Coviello. “We need even more from security because, quiet frankly, we’re at serious risk for failure.”