March 11, 2013

Top Five RSA Conference Observations

Forcepoint

RSA ConferenceSecurity budgets have been lean, but if the recent RSA Conference is any indication of enterprise priorities, I’d say it’s a good year to be a security practitioner. With the increased attendance, one can only surmise that corporate executives and boards are tired of daily headlines about data breaches.

More than 360 vendors exhibited at the RSA Conference and more than 24,000 attendees listened to 394 sessions. Moscone center was filled with optimism and energy. The expo hall was packed with attendees looking for practical solutions to complex problems. They needed guidance they could take back to their day jobs.

Here are my top five 2013 RSA Conference observations:

  • Security buzz was global: People were talking about many critical issues. Some were speaking about President Obama’s recent executive order for cyber security as well as CISPA. To no surprise, others were discussing big data and global risk—specifically China.
  • Back to basics: The sessions seemed to go back to basics with people (human element), process and technology tracks. I thought this was a positive approach. It focused on our vulnerabilities, our strength, our exposures, our investment and our defenses.
  • Cloud crept in: Initially I heard there wasn’t going to be much talk about the cloud at the show. However, there were numerous cloud discussions at the water cooler and rightly so. Cloud adoption is soaring. Laptop/mobile users exceed 50 percent at some companies. Many remote employees are accessing the internet and exposing vulnerable data. We have to initiate more conversations that focus on securing the data on the device, wherever it may go.
  • More women in security: I enjoyed meeting other women during the meet and greet event held by the Executive Women’s Forum, founded by Joyce Brocaglia. I learned that women make up 12 percent of information security professionals. While this number may seem low, it is growing and will continue to grow in the future, which in itself is exciting.
  • A bit too Comic-Con at times: Given the serious nature of the state of cyber security, I was amazed to see the array of vendor gimmicks used to entice attendees to stop at their booth. At one booth, folks dressed up like the Star Wars characters and were taking pictures with attendees. A few vendors were giving away swords that glowed, had someone dressed up like a robot, and there were 80’s arcade games. It was a little too Comic-Con for me given the state of security within the enterprise

How do you feel this year’s conference stacked up?

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