If you didn’t make it to the RSA Conference this year, you missed the largest, maddest security event I’ve ever seen. With reports of 33,000 attendees and nearly 40,000 people including exhibitors and others, the Moscone center was bursting at the seams with security professionals. I kept up my streak of not making it to a single session. Meeting with customers, technology partners, consulting and MSP partners, as well as a string of press and analysts took up every moment of the day and night. I did do my yearly walk of the show floor, though, and there were definitely some themes that emerged from the messages being put out there for attendees to soak up.
If I had to pick one theme as the most common, it was analytics. Analytics are being applied to threat detection, entitlement management, configuration drift, user behavior, and more. This feels like a good sign for security. In the past, the theme was largely exposing information in a vacuum. We didn’t know what was going on. Now, we have a flood of information hitting security professionals through SIEM, detection tools, administrative controls, and traditional logs. The trick is to take all this flowing information and channel it into useful, actionable data. This is the hope for analytics. It’s also the hope for a huge number of vendors in booths from the very large and fancy to the very small and quaint.
For our part, STEALTHbits tried to take advantage of the huge number of attendees to generate a little data of our own. We had a set of surveys for all the folks who came for our booth. Not everyone who stopped by filled it out, but we got a nice sampling. A trend we noticed in doing this was that the folks filling out the surveys tended to be the folks with manager, director, and even VP level titles. These folks seemed both eager to share what they know as well as eager to learn what their peers are thinking. It’s also worth noting that there seemed to be a high concentration of those folks at the show this year. RSAC always draws a large number of practitioners, but this year it seems the executive and board level focus on data security has driven higher level folks in security orgs to the show to get their heads around the explosive growth of technologies trying to address their problems.
If you’re curious about the survey results, you can find them on our site. I won’t steal any thunder from the survey, but I will say that lots of what’s in those results map well to the theme of the show, analytics, as well as the themes STEALTHbits was talking to at the show, governing and controlling data security and enhancing insider threat intelligence. Since one of our main goals for the show was to get this survey data, we considered it a big success. It’s hard to find a venue where so many security pros concentrate in one place and can spare a few moments to give you a piece of their mind. That’s what makes RSAC a must-do for so many vendors, thinkers, practitioners, and leaders in the security world.
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