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VMware CEO Gelsinger On Disrupting The Security Industry, Pushing Subscriptions And Cracking The Code On The AWS Partnership

"Your customers are looking for more, and just giving them another warm blanket, expecting that's going to stop bullets doesn't do it," said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at the 2018 Best of Breed conference. "We've got to get more sophisticated capabilities."

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Talk about where you see the biggest disruption in terms of security and what you guys are doing with NSX and NSX Everywhere?

What we’ve said is there’s two words that we use in terms of the concepts that we’ve built our security strategy around. One is intrinsic and the other is ensuring good as opposed to chasing bad. So those two ideas are very simple: “Hey always add on products or hey, we had another breach of this area… oh, we’ve got to add a new product for that.” I was with a CIO for one of the top five banks and I asked the CIO, I said “How many server products do you use?” He said two. “How many support products do you use?” He said two. Of course, we had to say Dell’s our favorite. And then “how many networking vendors do you use?” He said, “I think it’s four.” “How many security vendors do you use?” 250. How do you make all that work? Right? You know… patches of the patches. It’s just nuts. It’s got to get much simpler. So we said we're going build more of the basic security functions directly into our platform. NSX is a networking platform that is a networking and security platform, where you microsegment, you reduce the attack surface with AppDenfense. Use the virtual machine to ensure good. So we're self learning the behavior of the application and if it deviates from known good behavior, take action, cayuse the VM provides that container environment where we may not know why it deviated, but it deviated – and we can immediately detect and respond to it. vSAN, we're building encryption directly into it. Data at rest should never be in the clear and if you could ask that question, you would not be Equifax. We're making it easy and cost effective. You should always have all data encrypted. Identifiy, multi-factor authentication – you should always have those in place. There's still lots of breaches, but this dramatically reduces the attack surface.

You can also start getting rid of products. About two years ago, VMware had 30 security products … today we are less than 20 and our objective is to get that to like 15 security products that we're using to run VMware. We're a big company 25,000 employees almost, with global operations – so simplify it. That doesn't mean that we're expecting that we're just going to be the security company, but as more and more of that becomes sedimented into the security of the infrastructure platform, now you have fewer products that you're adding on, fewer vendors and platforms that you're building on. That's the vision we would have.

How does this audience take advantage of that?

Through VMware of course.

Well, talk more about that. Why VMware in this case from a security standpoint? How far are we out when we have 10 to 15 security products?

I think this will take a number of years. Your customers are looking for more and just giving them another warm blanket, expecting that’s going to stop bullets doesn’t do it. We’ve got to get more sophisticated capabilities. Your customers want less products, they want more value -- and particularly in the security area that's true. … We think VMware is a critical component of that as you're building those capabilities. Simply the environments. Give a higher value proposition to your customers in this area in these transformative technologies are really starting to emerge in a effective way. Also your customers are looking at this in the context of a multi-cloud environment. Where is your data? All of a sudden it could be spread across not just five or six data centers, 30 branches – but it could be 20 different clouds. Now you start saying, 'Well how do you govern your data?' They're looking for a very different view, base-level security – phishing attacks – those have got to be off the table because now I need much more sophisticated partnership from you to help me put policy and governance around my increasingly multi-cloud services and data.

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