Brand Stories Podcasts

Revolutionizing Network Security: How to Strategize the relationship between IT and OT | A Brand Story Conversation From RSA Conference 2024 | A Dispersive Story with Rajiv Pimplaskar | On Location Coverage with Sean Martin and Marco Ciappelli

Episode Summary

In a world where businesses are constantly adapting to new technologies and facing ever-evolving cybersecurity threats, the importance of innovative solutions for network security cannot be overstated.

Episode Notes

One company at the forefront of redefining IT security is Dispersive, led by the visionary CEO, Rajiv Pimplaskar. In a recent discussion with Sean Martin of ITSP Magazine at the RSA Conference, Rajiv shared insights into Dispersive's cutting-edge approach to network security and how they are revolutionizing the industry.

Unveiling Dispersive's Stealth Networking

At the heart of Dispersive's network security strategy lies the concept of Dispersive Stealth Networking. Rajiv Pimplaskar, with over 25 years of experience in the industry, revealed that Dispersive is a DARPA-incubated network security company with 53 patents granted. Their approach leverages spread spectrum technology from the radio frequency domain to secure cloud and internet communications effectively. By enabling customers to hide in plain sight while ensuring the integrity of their critical systems, Dispersive offers a unique solution in the cybersecurity landscape.

The Evolution of Network Security

Rajiv emphasized the shift from legacy SD WAN solutions to a more cloud-native approach, highlighting the challenges faced by businesses in ensuring security and privacy in today's distributed workforce model. The conversation with Sean shed light on the need for a more resilient and efficient networking infrastructure that can adapt to the evolving demands of modern businesses.

Use Cases and Success Stories

Through real-world examples with customers like Ovzon and Endeavour Energy, Rajiv illustrated how Dispersive's solutions are driving transformation in sectors such as satellite communications and sustainable infrastructure. By providing secure and efficient network connectivity across geographically dispersed assets, Dispersive is empowering organizations to meet the demands of the digital age without compromising on security.

Looking Towards the Future

As the conversation delved deeper into the intricacies of network security, Rajiv expressed optimism for the future of cybersecurity. Embracing principles like zero trust and automated moving target defense, Dispersive aims to stay ahead of the curve in protecting critical assets and resources from evolving cyber threats.

In a rapidly changing digital landscape where cybersecurity is non-negotiable, companies like Dispersive and leaders like Rajiv Pimplaskar are paving the way for a more secure and resilient network infrastructure. By combining innovative technology with a collaborative approach, Dispersive is redefining the art of network security in the digital age.

With Dispersive's disruptive approach to stealth networking, businesses can navigate the digital landscape with confidence, knowing that their critical systems are protected and secure.

Learn more about Dispersive:

Note: This story contains promotional content. Learn more.

Guest: Rajiv Pimplaskar, President & CEO, Dispersive

On LinkedIn |


Learn more and catch more stories from Dispersive:

View all of our RSA Conference Coverage:

Are you interested in telling your story?

Episode Transcription

Revolutionizing Network Security: How to Strategize the relationship between IT and OT | A Brand Story Conversation From RSA Conference 2024 | A Dispersive Story with Rajiv Pimplaskar | On Location Coverage with Sean Martin and Marco Ciappelli

Please note that this transcript was created using AI technology and may contain inaccuracies or deviations from the original audio file. The transcript is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for the original recording, as errors may exist. At this time, we provide it “as it is,” and we hope it can be helpful for our audience.


[00:00:00] Sean Martin: Hello everybody, you're very welcome to a new On Location from RSA conference. This is Sean Martin, host of the Redefining ITSB Magazine. I get to, uh, be here in San Francisco, not just for the sunrise, but for all the cool things that are possible. The theme this year is the Art of Possible. And, uh, another theme that I'm hearing as I talk to folks is that businesses are really trying to figure out how to achieve greater Great results from the investments they're making in technology and obviously in their security solutions to protect the technologies they're deploying. 

And I'm thrilled to have Rajiv from Dispersive on with me. Rajiv, good to have you on.  

[00:00:40] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Thanks, Sean. Pleasure to be here.  

[00:00:42] Sean Martin: Good week, hopefully, for you. Good conversations, I would imagine.  

[00:00:45] Rajiv Pimplaskar: It's been fantastic. Classic RSA, you know, always on. Yes, always on.  

[00:00:51] Sean Martin: Always on. Well, here we are. We're going to be on today. 

And, uh, before we get into What some of the things you're seeing with respect to, uh, infrastructure. A lot of it critical infrastructure it seems, uh, which we'll get into. Um, a few words about what you're up to and, uh, quick overview of Dispersive as it sets the stage.  

[00:01:09] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Sure. So, uh, Dispersive is a DARPA incubated, uh, network security company. 

We have 53 patents granted. We are, uh, essentially bringing to the table a new high bar for network security. Uh, leveraging, uh, Concepts of spread spectrum from the radio frequency world towards cloud and internet communications. We call ourselves Dispersive Stealth Networking. And as the name would imply, we allow our customers on the IT side as well as the OT side to essentially hide in plain sight, connect their critical systems using the internet or cloud and at the same time be assured that they can operate with integrity and an adversary cannot determine. 

Uh, the source destination relationships, the, uh, uh, the, the traffic pathways or for that matter, decrypt the data.  

[00:02:03] Sean Martin: Perfect. And you didn't say who you were. You're, you're all I know. I love the company, but it's important to know who's behind this.  

[00:02:10] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Absolutely. So look, so, uh, thanks for that. So Rajiv Pimplaskar, I'm, uh, privileged to be the CEO of Dispersive. 

My background's 25 years in the space. This is my fourth startup. Uh, and, uh, uh, you know, spent a fair amount of time in the telecom sector, uh, software defined everything, and, uh, you know, uh, stint in the zero trust industry, primarily on the identity side, and now here I am on the other side of the coin, uh, basically solving the implicit trust problem of networks. 

[00:02:39] Sean Martin: I love it. I love it. And I, it, it's interesting because there's a lot of, of course, a lot of buzzword stuff going on. I mean, a lot of business buzzwords as well, not just in the technology space. And I My personal opinion is the network kind of gets left behind, it seems, in many cases, well, in a lot of the conversations, when in fact it's at the core of everything we do, essentially. 

So, um, what are some of the things you're hearing as you're talking to executives, um, with respect to how they're building new business models, how they're generating revenue through different means, and how the network kind of supports that. And then ultimately want to get to. Some of the challenges are maybe some of the road bumps or the blockers that they're hitting. 

[00:03:24] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Certainly. So, uh, I think there's two dimensions to this. One is the, uh, security dimension, right? And, uh, it's no secret that nation states have pivoted full force into commercial hacking. We just heard this loud and clear from, uh, Secretary Blinken on Monday as part of his RSA conference keynote address about the unprecedented risks to critical infrastructure sectors including disruption, supply chain interdiction, Eavesdropping, digital surveillance, and all of this now actually shaping U. 

S. foreign policy, which I think is a pretty significant milestone, not just for us as a country, but certainly us as a cyber security industry. Uh, Gen AI with hyper automation are top of mind, and they are force magnifiers, both for the good guys as well as the bad ones, and uh, not to mention the ongoing war for one term supremacy that's currently being waged between the nation states. 

To your point from earlier, networks are the most vulnerable asset. They're at the center and they ultimately carry all of our sensitive information.  

[00:04:30] Sean Martin: Absolutely.  

[00:04:31] Rajiv Pimplaskar: On the networking side, we are seeing A fairly significant shift from the SD WAN world. Now, SD WANs have been quite popular, getting us off of legacy leased lines and MPLS connections. 

But in today's cloud first or cloud native world, SD WANs have many challenges, as you know. For starters, connectivity is based on network identifiers, much like our U. S. Postal Service. So if I know where you live, it's a lot easier for me to steal something from you.  

[00:05:07] Sean Martin: Right?  

[00:05:10] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Uh, so there's no concept of security nor privacy as far as SD WANs are concerned. 

The second and the more, uh, important business critical one is that they were all born in the physical world. And so they, they, they work well towards a more highly centralized hub and spoke type model. In the post COVID world where we're contending with a distributed workforce and a cloud first approach, there's increasingly a need in the CISO and CIO conversations I have around what they call coffee shop networking. 

So this need to be cloud native, the need to be lightweight, the need to be distributed, no artificial separation between IT, OT, IoT devices for that matter, as well as users, be it remote or on classic endpoints. So this programmable aspect of the network, leveraging alternate transport where available. If my apps are already in the cloud, why not use a cloud native service like a AWS cloud WAN or a Azure Virtual WAN? 

If I'm going side to side, why not leverage something like an Equinix or a Megaport? And then secure by design.  

[00:06:19] Sean Martin: So, a lot of stuff there. A lot to dig into. I want to bring it to where See, you mentioned I've heard this quite a bit as well. CIO and CISO collaborating much more closely to enable business. Um, what are some of the challenges they're facing? 

So maybe a use case of we're shifting from this type of environment to another. We talked briefly before we started recording about a lot of the OT space as well and the convergence there too. So maybe a couple of use cases. Transformation or even just upgrades to existing infrastructure. Challenges are facing to meet the needs of those new working environments. 

[00:07:08] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Certainly, and that's a great question. So in the industry, we affectionately call it the two buyer problem, right? Which is an enterprise has a security buyer and a network infrastructure buyer. And often times they're separate sources of funding, separate MBOs for the organization. To your point, we are seeing that they are increasingly coming together, particularly around certain strategic transformation efforts. 

Two that I can think of, one on the IT side, is really that, that cloud transformation, that digital transformation. Call it SD WAN transformation, where, uh, they are looking to modernize connectivity to their branches, to their remote sites, to their users. And, uh, as part of that, they want to leverage modern concepts of zero trust. 

Uh, in the equation and so, uh, uh, uh, what we have seen is, uh, certainly there's a lot of efficiency and value in a single, single vendor, uh, type SASE solution. However, uh, what, uh, the more savvy and the innovative customers are looking for is a strong partner who can stitch together the best of breed solutions, still giving them a single throat to choke, so to speak, or a, Single, you know, back to pat, depending on your analogy, right? 

Uh, and, uh, be able to consume it. And as part of that, as I mentioned, uh, a core principle is keep side to side traffic on, uh, something like a, uh, XPAS as Gartner calls it, Alternative Transport. Keep cloud traffic on cloud. And then use, uh, a, uh, edge to cloud or edge to, uh, uh, you know, fabric type, uh, solution. 

To provide resiliency of the first mile, last mile. Uh, and then uh, a SSE sort of capability for the rest of your security stack. On the, yep. Where do, where  

[00:08:59] Sean Martin: do things on, on this case? Where do things fall short with traditional network communications? I'm thinking performance might be an issue. Um, access control, uh, identity and being able to sniff traffic and look at the two end points to find a way to hop onto this. 

Maybe those and others, can you describe some of that?  

[00:09:23] Rajiv Pimplaskar: It's, it's all of the above. I think the, you know, performance is, uh, unfortunately sort of the, uh, the, the untold story here, right? Uh, most security solutions do add a performance overhead and the user has to bear the brunt and that's part of where the resistance or the, the noise as we call it, comes from. 

Um, so a solution that enhances performance or keeps it same all the time. Uh, it's always going to be, uh, advantageous, uh, for all stakeholders. The other bit is resiliency. Uh, I think the expectation is that the solution is reliable out of the box, but in reality it's very hard to assure resiliency for the first mile, for the last mile, and again, uh, the need for that extra level of reliability for a service provider to be able to offer a legitimate SLA for that matter, or for the customer to have comfort that, uh, uh, their solution is always going to be, uh, reliable. 

You know, alive and kicking, regardless of, uh, environmental conditions. Those are some of the key friction points that we see.  

[00:10:24] Sean Martin: So now you're going to give a second, second case.  

[00:10:27] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Yes. So, on the OT side, uh, we are seeing a lot of, uh, private 5G projects. Uh, particularly within manufacturing, within energy. 

Sustainable infrastructure is a big push. So instead of Highly concentrated and centralized systems, kind of creating more distributed smaller versions that allow you to be sustainable and scale globally at a much lower total cost of ownership. That's a key business model.  

[00:10:54] Sean Martin: Private cell towers effectively to control manufacturing systems and monitors, sensors in the field and stuff like that? 

[00:11:02] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Precisely. So it could be a combination of private and public. In the U. S. we are fortunate because we have access to CBRS. We have access to a lot of, uh, modern solutions from some of the top vendors around private 5G. And, uh, the use cases could be anything from digital twin to autonomous vehicles to, uh, worker safety to enhanced business analytics around, uh, capturing data to your point from sensors. 

Uh, and again, uh, one of the core elements there is to keep that traffic secure, to keep it private, to keep it efficient. Uh, a lot of these, uh, edges. Still need to talk to the cloud and that, uh, edge to cloud or even from the radio area network to the edge and radio area network to the cloud communication cannot have, uh, latency, uh, and it needs a high level of security. 

So those are some key use cases where we've been involved.  

[00:11:55] Sean Martin: And you cover the end to end.  

[00:11:57] Rajiv Pimplaskar: We do. We, we, we.  

[00:11:58] Sean Martin: Which is fairly unique, I'd say.  

[00:12:01] Rajiv Pimplaskar: That's correct. Thank you. And, uh, that's one of the things that we pride ourselves on is we're really, uh, edge agnostic. It can be a human, it could be a machine, it could be a cloud instance, it could be an actual site, or it could be a service provider edge. 

It doesn't really matter to us.  

[00:12:20] Sean Martin: That's fantastic. Um, can you describe a good couple of use cases broadly there? You kind of touched on some of the sectors. Do you have any stories to share from customers where the outcome Can be realized by others. So maybe a story that says we're able to move from this traditional IT infrastructure to one that uses Expressive and we got Exxon. 

[00:12:51] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Yeah, it's a good question. So I can cite two of our great customers. One is Afzon. They're a Swedish satellite as a service company. Uh, they do a lot of work for, uh, U. S. DoD, NATO, European Union, uh, a lot of work for the good guys in, in Europe, and, uh, they have a best in class, uh, uh, new satellite offering. 

They launched their own satellite early this year, uh, so we're helping them with, uh, providing obfuscation and security across all their, uh, teleport locations, their ground stations, and also providing out of band management, uh, across, uh, you know, shared mediums. to their authorized personnel worldwide. 

Uh, and, uh, the nature of the, uh, the, the, the relationship is very collaborative. We're looking to do more with them on their end customers, uh, in, in months and years to come.  

[00:13:45] Sean Martin: So describe as best you can without sharing too much, kind of the, the different legs, because there's the, there's the ground station, there's the satellite communications between those, and there's the networking within the ground station. 

I presume there's Some remote access, right? Because that's the world we live in. Can you describe some of those links?  

[00:14:04] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Sure. At the core of it, there's really, uh, you know, three sets of use cases here. One is the site to site use case, which we call gateway to gateway, and Dispersive can provision a hardware based or a software based gateway, either in the cloud or on prem, and so that gateway to gateway is one form of communication. 

The other is the user to gateway, uh, communication. And that's, to your point, a more classic remote access type, uh, enhancement. Uh, and that's for their management personnel to be able to get into the various locations, the various OT, IT assets that they need to connect to. And then the third scenario is really that secure internet access, uh, kind of a use case where we have the ability to connect our gateway into, uh, what we call an all services gateway mode. 

Which, uh, is essentially, uh, a web access gateway.  

[00:15:00] Sean Martin: Okay. What, is there anything sitting on the satellite? Ha, ha, ha. I, I, uh, uh,  

[00:15:06] Rajiv Pimplaskar: I cannot confirm or deny that.  

[00:15:07] Sean Martin: Ha, ha, ha. Alright. Uh, you got another case. What's that one about?  

[00:15:11] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Yes, the other one I would love to talk about is, uh, one of our top customers, Endeavor Energy. 

So they're a new, uh, sustainable infrastructure company. They're in multiple businesses. It's a very, uh, very agile, uh, innovative company. They're doing, uh, great work with edge data centers, with water stations, with, um, uh, you know, uh, uh, power grid type, uh, applications. And, uh, we have had a strategic collaboration with them for quite some time, uh, and so they have decided to standardize on us as the core underlay platform for all of their professor. 

Professor. Uh, in house and customer facing networking. And so, as part of this, we are able to, uh, essentially provide a secure by design network infrastructure to connect their data centers across EMEA, as well as North America, uh, as well as provide access to various, uh, Edge and, uh, personnel services.  

[00:16:11] Sean Martin: So, Rajiv, describe to me some of the conversations you have. 

Because this, this could be My guess is the reason people don't talk about it too much is because the infrastructure stays as consistent as possible because it's hard to change it. Because it disrupts everything else. So how do you work with your customers to help them through that transition of what are the requirements, how do we architect it, how do we design it, how do we plan it? 

You mentioned resilience. How do we do that without too much disruption and disruption? 

[00:16:51] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Yeah, so, uh, that's, that's always the, the, the, uh, the most important aspect, right? That's where the proverbial rubber meets the road, uh, the beauty of our solution is it's a SaaS offering. So you, uh, as a customer, you don't need to worry too much about the magic that's going on as part of that, uh, architecture that we have. 

You can connect into us simply with gateways and with, uh, clients. Uh, and we do the rest. We do the service provisioning. We handle, uh, white glove, uh, service for our customers. We also love to work with partners. So our go to market is heavily partner driven. We work with some of the top, uh, systems integrators and service providers who have the customer intimacy across the sectors that we are interested in. 

Typically, we tend to go after, uh, a, uh, the center of three intersecting circles. A security conscious. Uh, industry or segment, ideally regulated as well. The other being where there's a distributed set of assets that they're looking to secure, be it IT, OT, and again recognizing that when you go from IT to OT, the problem scale has shifted from human to human to machine to machine, it's a whole different ballgame. 

And then the third is the need for some sort of a transformation. So either on the OT side or on the IT side.  

[00:18:17] Sean Martin: That's where you mentioned the digital twins. A lot of, a lot of that happening.  

[00:18:20] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Absolutely.  

[00:18:21] Sean Martin: Well, gee, this has been, uh, fantastic. I, um, Yeah, I can see some, we can probably sit here for hours talking about use cases and different scenarios. 

Anything you want to close with as a final thought for folks? Speak to, speak to the CISO, speak to the, the OTA. Administrative team. What do you want them to know?  

[00:18:47] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Yeah, so, uh, what I'll say is that there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Um, you know, as you know, zero trust is a principle. It is natural. 

Uh, and in fact healthy for, uh, evolution to occur in the pursuit of a high bar. And so in this vein, the industry has moved from a perimeter based model, which is akin to a high wall, to now much more of a smaller attack surface, i. e. today's paradigm of zero trust, to now further moving towards what Gartner's calling automated moving target defense, which is that this attack surface is ephemeral or constantly moving. 

And the whole concept is based on military technology. Uh, how do you defend against a And this is where we can come in, uh, and, and help, uh, with bolstering your vulnerable or critical assets and resources, uh, and, and helping you, uh, with, uh, getting past that traditional detect and response paradigm to essentially prevention being better than cure using dispersive stealth networks. 

[00:20:00] Sean Martin: We're protecting the on board and off board of the data and the pipe that's running through.  

[00:20:06] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Absolutely.  

[00:20:07] Sean Martin: Love it. Gee, it was fantastic chatting with you and I hope folks got some insight into what's possible with Dispersive. And, uh, yeah, lots of transformations. You may as well secure it while you're architecting it. 

[00:20:21] Rajiv Pimplaskar: Thanks, Sean. It's a pleasure to be here.  

[00:20:22] Sean Martin: Thank you and thanks everybody for joining me for this story on ITSB Magazine. And, uh, thanks for, uh, staying tuned to ITSB as we continue to cover RSA Conference. Thanks, everybody. Thanks, Rajiv.