RSA Recap: React, Reinvigorate, Reinforce, Repeat?

Innovation, Uncategorized Posted Mar 9, 2012 by Kevin Kosh






And so ends another annual RSA Conference.  As usual the floor was filled with everything from Sumo wrestlers to Cyborgs.









However, for an industry that has seen chaos in the past few years from all manner of groups – from Hacktivists to nation-states – the most interesting attraction wasn’t the flash/bang of the expo, and not even the star-studded speaking lineup of luminaries. The most interesting part of RSA was the ebb and flow of the ‘off mic’ discussion, and the undercurrent that reveals the mood of the industry.

Last year, with high profile, high impact hacks like the drama around HBGary, the mood was subdued – even fearful and evident of an industry on its heels. Those who spoke the loudest of looming cyberwar looking to justify technology investment beyond standard AV and firewalls were eerily silent, and those deeper in the know saw vindication in vindictiveness.  

 2011 only accelerated from there with a cacophony of hacks and foundations being rocked…

So one might think that the 2012 RSA might be at best one of quiet resolve. But as RSA 2011 was an industry on its heels, RSA 2012 saw an industry in a three point stance, aggressively positioning to meet the challenges head on, with full rhetoric to match. RSA CEO Art Coviello even used Twisted Sister’s “We’re not gonna take it,” as a bit of a rallying cry.

The floor was packed, the conversation was active, aggressive, and dare I say optimistic. Will the results match the rhetoric? Who knows? There actually seemed to be a little less real innovation front and center and more repurposing or refocusing of well-known brands. But innovation was there if you looked for it.  Companies like CrowdStrike and CHEN PR client Invincea.

You also can’t count out the big brands, as the Conference’s namesake was at the center of both the lessons learned discussion and the aggressive advancement of a solution. RSA acquired CHEN PR client NetWitness around RSA 2011, a move that was prescient, as many vendors this year modeled their next generation solutions around the real-time, “Big Data” network security model that NetWitness pioneered.

With the “arresting” news this week around the Hacktivist faction Lulzsec who was at the heart of some of 2011’s biggest stories, the conversation – and the combat – is likely to accelerate throughout 2012. And whether a deeper defense is found in consolidation or a new creation, the industry seems more resolved than ever to be bigger, stronger, faster in the face of last year’s chaos. We can rebuild it. We have the technology.