RSA Conference 2020 in a Nutshell

Cyber Security, Events, High Technology Posted Mar 23, 2020 by Kayla Krause

It seems like 100 years ago given what has transpired in our world since then, but it was just last month that RSA Conference took over San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center to serve as the epicenter for all things security – drawing practitioners, experts, press and marketing folks alike to dive into the year’s most critical cybersecurity technologies and trends. Of course, there were bashes big and small, formal and informal alike.

This year was no different – other than the coronavirus starting to make headlines, but more on that later.

As per usual, CHEN PR Partner Kevin Kosh was there, hanging out with clients, reporters, analysts and industry players. I took a few minutes to chat with him after he returned to get his thoughts about the business and tech themes driving the most discussion, anything new this year from the 20+ year-old security conference, and how much of a factor the coronavirus played at the event.


KA: What were the big topics this year? Any new or surprising trends?

KK: So, similar to the podcast we did with Dennis Fisher, the trends followed our conversation around human element, election security/disinformation, etc. The main theme of the conference – human element – was interesting because while it was the main narrative throughout presentations this year, on the vendor side of things, a lot of the technology being sold and promoted at RSA is there to replace the humans actually. Election security and cyberwar were also hot topics, with an emphasis on national threats.

KA: With coronavirus at the forefront– did you notice a change in attendance? Was there more conversation around this type of risk?

KK: The coronavirus topic definitely came up a bunch, and there was a notable drop-off in attendance (big companies like IBM, AT&T and Verizon backing out.) The North Hall had a lot more open space. Where the big-name exhibitors were supposed to be set-up, event organizers instead used the space for meetings. The hand sanitizer stations got a workout, too.

KA: Anything else worth noting or key takeaways?

KK: This was the first year we co-hosted the Security Comms Happy Hour. It’s a fun, laidback cocktail party for communication and marketing folks, along with fellow industry experts and friends, which was a nice way to kick-off the week that was RSA. We talk to these folks all the time, but it was great to catch-up in person, and get some facetime with current and potential clients. We’re looking forward to doing the same in a few months at Black Hat.


Some Client Highlights

Our clients were also busy at RSA Conference, presenting on hot topics like encryption, risk management, data security and threat intelligence. Some hosted their own get-togethers, while others met with press and analysts to discuss company news, product announcements and emerging industry trends.

Virtru’s Dr. Andrea Little Limbago, along with Lesley Seebeck, Chief Executive Officer ANU Cyber Institute, Australian National University, shared insights into the Implications of the Global Push to Ban End-to-End Encryption. Diving further into the topic, Dr. Limbago sat down with SC Media’s Bradley Barth in this podcast. Discussing ways to reduce the need for encryption bans and her excitement for this year’s human element theme Andrea said, “we’re finally moving beyond looking at humans as the weakest link.

Virtru CTO and Co-founder Will Ackerly also attended RSA and met with IoT World’s Brian Buntz to discuss data privacy. With regard specifically to how healthcare focuses on informing its consumers, Will believes the optimal approach “is to create a system that makes data self-protecting.”

RiskLens and the FAIR Institute also had a large presence at RSA Conference this year. After being highlighted in this year’s RSAC Trend Report, alongside frameworks from NIST and MITRE, the Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR) framework was a much-discussed topic among attendees and presentations. FAIR authors and RiskLens experts Jack Jones and Jack Freund presented, alongside FAIR CISOs from the DOE, ADP and PNC Bank, including during two four-hour training sessions dedicated to Risk Management and FAIR.

Additionally, The FAIR Institute hosted its annual Breakfast Meeting, which demonstrated how to build a true and effective cyber risk management program crucial for an organization as the industry moves to cyber risk quantification as the way to cost-effectively manage risk, justify security budgets and meet growing regulatory demands.

Digital Guardian started off the week with a bang, as its Data Protection Platform was honored with an SC Award for the top choice in the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Solution category – Congrats! Adding to those props, CRN covered Digital Guardian’s Managed Detection & Response (MDR) service in its much-perused slideshow on 13 Hot Endpoint and Network Security Tools at RSAC 2020.

Capping off a busy week, Digital Guardian held a cocktail reception to network and meet with other security professionals, co-hosted with T.E.N and ISE.

Now let’s just hope coronavirus is gone by the time Black Hat comes around! Stay healthy, everyone!