We have completed another marathon week in San Francisco at the annual RSA Data Security Conference. For many in our industry, Corsec included, this conference continues to be an important place to gain new insights, visit with customers and partners, and attend meaningful talks.
For me, the week is always a whirlwind of activity and long days. In an effort to keep my body from changing time zones, my day usually begins around 4 a.m. I try to meet with as many of Corsec’s customers as possible, and really enjoy the opportunity to catch up with the people we have worked with for years and to meet new customers with whom we are just getting off the ground. Of course, I do try to attend some of the sessions at the conference, but it can be challenging to find enough time in the day to do everything!
One activity I always make time for, however, is to walk the expo floor. I feel like the way to find out what is REALLY going on in the security industry is to visit the vendor booths and see what products are being promoted. I am amazed every single year at the breadth and scope of new products and technologies being created by our industry. There are two distinct sections to the exhibit hall. Large product vendors including companies like EMC, RSA, McAfee, Blue Coat, and others take over the center of the hall. The smaller booths line the sides and back of the hall. If you only spend time in one or the other, you are missing out on a lot.
Walking through the large product vendors’ booths, I make sure I spend time finding the demo stations present in almost every booth. Most of the square footage of a large booth is taken up with a presentation area and marketing giveaways. Although you can find some great conference loot here (lighted swords were popular this year!), you can often learn a lot more if you seek out those demo stations. Typically, they are staffed by knowledgeable product engineers, often the very people who have designed and built the technologies on display. Spend some time talking to them and you will learn a lot about what they are building and what problems they are trying to solve.
Walking through the smaller product vendors’ booths is different. These booths don’t have large presentation areas (or over-the-top giveaways), however, this is where you are going to find some truly innovative products. Typically the booths are staffed by company leaders and the inventors of the technology. This year, I saw a lot of solutions aimed at mobile products, specifically focused on how to secure mobile application development and help organizations deal with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenarios.
If this conference is any indicator, the cyber security marketplace is healthy, vibrant, and expanding. The number of exhibitors and the variety of products they are showing are both up over previous years. I left the show excited and challenged. Those of us in the security certifications industry will have a busy year trying to keep up.