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.”