RSA gets bigger every year. More vendors, sessions, and people flooded the halls of Moscone Center. The conference came from humble beginnings to the now largest security conference in the world. What was RSA 2016 like you are wondering? It was special. We celebrated the twenty fifth anniversary of the conference and you could feel that emphasis in all aspects of the show. For those of you who haven’t attended an RSA conference before, it can be divided up into three areas. The first area is sessions, the second is the keynotes, and the third is the expo. I could include a fourth area around the RSA nightlife and parties, but I am struggling to remember San Francisco at 2am.
The sessions are where most of the current security issues are discussed. After talking to a number of customers about the common theme of the sessions, we are left with several great topics to think about. I heard Apple vs. FBI repeatedly and everyone seemed to have a different opinion on how Apple should handle the request from the FBI. I remember in years past where RSA was keenly focused on cryptography. In recent years cryptography hasn’t been as much of a target area and the tone shifted to cyber. It was interesting to see crypto roaring back to life.
The keynotes and keynote speakers were great this year. The messaging ranged from our security command centers drowning in a massive deluge of data to the need for cybersecurity firms to co-operate more and compete with each other less. The request for strength in numbers reverberated throughout RSA. We also heard something that made me smile come out of the Pentagon during the conference. The Department of Defense issued a statement in regards to its readiness for cyber-attacks. You can basically distill the message into something my father would tell me as a kid “Bring it on son, but you better pack a lunch”. The DoD is encouraging hackers to attempt to breach its new cyber defenses. I would echo my father’s words and urge hackers to pack that lunch because they will be there a long, long time.
As a vendor with an exhibitor pass you are typically spending all of your time in the expo halls and this is where many aspects of RSA collide. The tone of the expo halls couldn’t have been more different. It was almost like I was at a different conference when I went from the expo hall in Moscone South and wandered into Moscone North. The lighting was different, the booths were booming, and people shuffled around in giant swarms. After sojourning through both halls, I left with several themes that vendors were showcasing. User Behavior Analytics, Advanced Threat Protection, Internet of Things, and Cloud Security were splashed across both expo halls. You couldn’t walk thirty feet without hitting a booth talking about one or more of the four themes. I am full of pride that STEALTHbits feels the pulse of the security community and we can nod our heads that we play in three of the areas today and one is on our roadmap for tomorrow.
Did anyone else see Sean Penn? RSA really does bring in professionals from all walks of life. I hope next time we can get him to stop by the booth. I am sure he hadn’t heard that we had free mints this year and he could have won and Amazon Echo by taking our survey.
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Brad Bussie is an award winning fifteen year veteran of the information security industry. He holds an undergraduate degree in information systems security and an MBA in technology management. Brad possesses premier certifications from multiple vendors, including the CISSP from ISC2. He has a deep background architecting solutions for identity management, governance, recovery, migration, audit, and compliance. Brad has spoken at industry events around the globe and has helped commercial, federal, intelligence, and DoD customers solve complex security issues.