RSA 2013 – an Insider's Take

By | February 26, 2013

Posted in: Network Security Trends

Bleary eyed and staggering off of an eight-hour flight, it is impossible to miss the signs. They’re all around. A large banner hangs over the escalator that heads down towards baggage claim. It is anti-virus maker Trend Micro issuing the first of many “warm welcomes.” A little self-promotion combined with a healthy dose of big dog swagger. In case you didn’t notice the first one, Trend strategically placed billboards up along 101 North, the taxi thoroughfare that funnels me into downtown San Francisco.

So does Palo Alto Networks, featuring a photo of a kid doing his best rock star fist pump. We’re number one (or something like that).

They’re all looking to get noticed.

Even the cab driver senses something. “You part of that big meeting?”

“Of course, “ I said.

“There must be 15,000 of you flying in tonight. It’s gotta be huge, “ he said. “Sunday is usually quiet.”

Not this week.

Cybersecurity professionals of all stripes have once again invaded San Francisco for their annual show-and-tell exposition. The 2013 RSA Conference, which runs through the end of the week, is the security industry’s chance to come out from behind the curtain and let the world know they are protected.

If my quick calculations are correct, turnout for this event will be big. I took an informal poll on the Airbus I flew in on and spoke to nearly a dozen in-flight guests who were on their way out to the show. RSA officials also say that all affiliated hotels for this event are sold-out.

Along with the influx of attendees, the RSA conference appears to be shifting gears. In years past, the show focused on more rudimentary security issues. But as the security industry has broadened and evolved, so has the show.

This year, with spending on cybersecurity reportedly on the rise and a renewed focus on digital protection from the Obama administration, the show has branched out to include sessions on everything from utilizing Big Data as a security tool to mobile application security to network and endpoint protection to securing the cloud.

Before the expo kicks off in earnest, the event focuses on the newest of the new. We’re off to the Innovation Sandbox to hear from ten barely birthed security companies who believe they are sitting on the next big thing.

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