Sights, Sounds and Trending Topics from RSA Conference

RSA Conference is the security industry’s largest annual conference, and it did not disappoint this year. Celebrity sightings included Ronnie Lott and keynote speaker Alec Baldwin. Many of our clients were at the show exhibiting, speaking, attending sessions and meeting with customers. Trainer also hosted our 5th annual Security Never Sleeps event. This week the security practice had a post-mortem and discussed the event’s sights, sounds and trending topics. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Threat intelligence. From feed providers to platforms, discussions of mutually beneficial collaboration and sharing within industries, cross-industry and with the government were among the show’s hottest topics.
  2. Behavioral analytics. While many emerging technologies aimed at defeating cybercriminals were on display, one technology that drew people into booths was behavioral analytics. From Big Data analysis to machine-learning technologies that offer more proactive threat detection and quicker incident response, vendors and attendees alike agreed more needs to be done.
  3. Federal cybersecurity initiatives. From the President to the White House, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the government has been talking about cybersecurity initiatives. At the show, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson gave a keynote speech about such initiatives (more on this below).
  4. Insider threats. Could you count how many times Snowden was mentioned during the show? Recent surveys show insider threats are on the rise, and so are the number of companies that don’t know how to tackle this challenge.
  5. IoT security. The buzz is building about the need for IoT security and data privacy. While there have been experimental hacks by white hats, there hasn’t been any real damaging incident, but many agree it’s only a matter of time. As many of these smart electronics are connected to from home using smart phones and laptops then brought into the office, will corporate data be compromised?
  6. CISO/board relationship. Since the Target breach, CISOs have been under the microscope to keep companies safe and justify security spending. The good news is that CISOs finally have a seat in the board room. It will be interesting to see how CISOs’ communications skills improve and budgets change over time.
  7. DHS Secretary Johnson says we are on course for deeper encryption. He notes, however, that this presents challenges for law enforcement as it conducts investigations for public safety. Johnson said he does understand that American businesses are concerned about privacy, and he needs to help find a balance between privacy and security.
  8. Large crowd. This year we saw 400+ exhibitors filling up Moscone North and South, and sessions being held in Moscone West. By some estimates, more than 33,000 people were in attendance this year.
  9. Reemergence of book signings. Long lines were seen throughout the show floor wherever authors were signing books on many aspects of cybersecurity.
  10. Security concerns are not slowing down. With continued spikes in data breaches, identity theft, including financial and healthcare data, it’s more important than ever to balance profits, brand reputation and customer loyalty.