With RSA Conference 2018 behind us, we asked Onliner Derek Nwamadi to share some of his observations from the conference floor. 

This year’s RSA Conference did not disappoint. Once again attendees were treated to a rsa-conf-sqgreat line up of presentations, events, and an always impressive expo floor. Looking back at my week at RSA, one word kept coming to 

mind – 

Trust; we seem to be living in an age where we are technology and data rich but trust poor. 

As always, there are some technologies and buzzwords that become industry hot buttons and generally drive it for the rest of the year (more on that later). 

However, the emerging theme for me this year was the need to show that we are making progress in how we leverage these technologies. We need to be increasingly focused on collaborating with industry peers/competitors and governments to mature InfoSec and close the trust gap that only seemed to worsen with the events of the past year.

For those of you who have been down to RSA before, you can appreciate how hard it can be to cut through the busyness of the week to make room for meaningful conversations. Our Online team began using the term “Shadow RSA” to describe how we took the best of all that RSA offers and maximized our time to truly connect with customers, partners, and associates. As we carved out time to meet one on one, or in larger groups, one thing became very clear -  our customers are looking well beyond buzzwords and have matured in their approach to solving security issues. They are looking for help to close the trust gap and are wanting partners to help alleviate the burden of understanding how to leverage technology, create awareness, and help mature organizational behavior related to security.

As for industry hot button tech and buzzwords, here are some highlights:

  • GDPR (Privacy) – GDPR is the first major change in EU privacy regulation in more than two decades and has far-reaching implications for worldwide organizations that deal with the data of any EU citizen. With a May 25, 2018 go-live date, many organizations are struggling to be ready and wondering what the consequences will really be if they are found to be non-compliant.
  • Automation/Security Orchestration – Security teams need to develop an orchestrated approach, integrating both human expertise and big-data/AI/ML capabilities to achieve intelligent and resilient security programs.
  • Cryptocurrency – Cryptocurrencies have increased in value and notoriously enabled ransomware. Now threat actors are going straight to the source with cryptocurrency miners (particularly Monero Miners)

I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear that even with all the breaches and dire headlines in the news, certain user behavior still hasn't changed from last year (at least with the attendees at this conference). RSA’s own Conference Security Operations Center (SOC) stated that a third of attendees on RSA's wireless network used unsecure (unencrypted) email – the same trend as last year. Awareness alone will not change behavior and people are still the weak link in the chain.

So what’s a good summary for RSA Conference 2018? Well the announcement of 34 technology companies signing the Cybersecurity Tech Accord and pledging to “defend all customers everywhere from malicious attacks by cybercriminal enterprises and nation-states” validated just how much work there still is for organizations to be trusted to secure your data through intelligent deployment of technology, open and honest collaboration with our peers, and transparency related to privacy.

And that's a challenge Online is taking head on day in and day out. I love this business!

Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought of RSA2018.  We'd love to hear what stood out for you.

Be sure and check out many of the week’s presentations and audio recordings on the RSA website.  We are looking forward to RSA Conference 2019 taking place March 4-8th in San Francisco!


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