As the last sessions come to a close at the 25th annual RSA Conference, there’s mixed reviews from attendees. Once your blood sugar levels return to normal, the swelling in your feet goes down and you’ve submitted 20 Uber receipts to your accounting department, see if you felt the same as we did after this year’s conference.
- Hungry: While there was plenty to munch and sip, attendees may have been left wanting in terms of security substance. In talking with session-goers, about half of the track sessions were viewed as too high level to get any actionable advice out of them. Despite highly qualified speakers, good content was at a premium. And based on Q&A sessions, security practitioners are feeling the heat of maxed-out teams, lack of budget and an unforgiving cyberattack climate and are on a quest for practical solutions.
- Not-So-Fashionably Late: There were a handful of sessions that promised some meat, but they were capped at around 50 attendees. While these intimate settings probably make for better learning, they left a lot of people out in the cold. It wasn’t unusual to see folks camped out 30 minutes before these session only to bottleneck at the door. Hopefully we’ll see the number of these types of sessions increase next year.
- Overwhelmed: RSA has been a mega conference for a while. But as the demand for cybersecurity increases, the crowded marketplace shows no sign of shrinking, and the players are only getting bigger. This makes it increasingly difficult for conference-goers to understand key differentiators among vendors and what solutions would work best for your organization.
- Skeptic: The RSA crowd is undoubtedly a smart bunch, but it seems this year visitors might be getting more marketing-savvy as well. We were impressed by the number of booth attendees to ask questions that put our signage to the test. In an industry where analytics, visibility and intelligence seem to pop up everywhere, security practitioners want to know what that means in terms of your solutions. (Gartner made a good push to demystify analytics and find the solutions right for you.)
Despite any grumbles surrounding the conference, RSA is still an unparalleled opportunity to see and be seen in the security industry. The conversations overheard in hallways and crowded lunch spots show there’s an army committed to finding solutions to some of the most complex challenges in our history. The collaboration and idea sharing taking place in the San Franciscan early spring will surely shape the future of our industry and spur innovation for years to come. See you in 2017.
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