A Security and Compliance Guide to HIMSS20: A candid approach from RSP Director Adam Kehler

By Adam Kehler on February, 25 2020

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A HIMSS Conference can be overwhelming.

If you haven’t been before, picture a small city’s population encased in a massive building, all trying to either get the most out of the event, or be heard above the noise of every other vendor, speaker, or influencer.

Approaching a HIMSS conference requires a strategy. I have been to enough of these conferences to learn a thing or two, so I have some tips for someone who is in the security and compliance industry and wants to make the most out of their time in and around the Orlando Convention Center.

I hope these 3 basic survival tips will likely improve your overall experience and help you maximize your time at this important event.


Tip #1 – Preparation

If you show up at the conference without a plan, you will leave wondering what hurricane just hit you and where it went. To make the most of the conference, set up a calendar either through the conference app or otherwise.

Start by asking yourself what you want to get out of the conference. Is it education? Checking out the latest and greatest? Connecting with others in the industry? There is something for everyone, but you must be focused.

Educational Sessions

  • Monday! Sign up for the pre-conference cybersecurity symposium. It’s worth it.
  • OCR always provides excellent updates on HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement.
  • Experts such as Adam Greene (no relation) always provide excellent insights into current topics of conversation.
  • Look for CISOs from major hospital systems.

Interesting Vendors

  • Working on the vendor floor requires advanced planning. The floor is MASSIVE and everyone is trying to sell you something. Fortunately, many of the Security and Compliance vendors are in one area: the Cybersecurity Command Center. Take a walk through here to understand what the latest and greatest solutions are. There are always some good sessions here, as well.


  • It’s so easy to be anonymous in such a large space. Reach out to colleagues and acquaintances ahead of time to arrange to get together, share a meal, or have coffee.
  • Post to LinkedIn and other social networks to let people know you’re going. You never know who else will be there. Last year, I reconnected with multiple colleagues from previous jobs and managed to drum up some business as a result. Simply because I posted to LinkedIn.

Tip #2 – Meals

Ok, this is where the rubber hits the road. Every one of those 45,000 people at the conference has to eat and many of them want to eat at the same time. Finding lunch at the conference can make you feel like the last ant to the picnic. Arrange your lunches, dinners, and maybe even breakfasts ahead of time. Many vendors are hosting meals (Online included!). So, if you haven’t already received invitations, reach out to your preferred vendor and see what they are hosting. Or, just let me know and we’ll find you space at the table!

Tip #3 – Hang out with Onliners

The key to having a good time is the people you are with. Onliners are awesome. We like to get together over food and drinks and discuss exciting topics like “What’s a HIPAA-Compliance password anyway?” So you’ll have a good time and hopefully, learn something about information security.

Wrapping it all up

So those are my words of wisdom. Oh, and bring comfy shoes. You’re going to walk a LOT!

See you there!!!


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