Last month, we attended the RSA Conference in San Francisco — like we’ve done the past few years. Although this year was a little different…
The trade show was expected to draw 45,000 people to the Moscone Center, which would have been an increase of 3,000 over 2019. However, there were notably fewer exhibitors and attendees than last year.
Naturally, there were fears the coronavirus outbreak would overshadow the event — but, fortunately, it didn’t steal the show.
Our aim for the week
Despite numbers being down, we were still able to achieve all our goals for the event and then some.
Our aim for the week was to see and be seen. The concentration of security management professionals and cyber security leaders that converge on the city for the week is always extraordinary. Even with fewer attendees than usual, this was still the case for 2020. Plus, the number of companies on the floor was still staggering. This meant we were able to meet with multiple companies, partners and associates over just a few days.
The event also opened doors for exciting new project opportunities with prospects, and the various networking events and dinners provided us with the chance to grow relationships and strengthen our position in the industry.
An ironic theme
The conference was full of new insights into innovation and the latest technology, which allow us to help customers improve their security posture.
Ironically given the coronavirus outbreak, the theme for the 2020 instalment of the annual event was the “Human Element”. This concept has always stood out for us at Burning Tree, and we continuously reiterate the importance of the human element of cyber security to our clients — including the value of awareness training and building a positive security culture.
The tag line and concept of “zero trust” was everywhere on the expo floor. In many ways, it appeared to be the latest marketing phrase for anything to do with information security. Zero trust has been somewhat theoretical for several years. However, the event showed us hope of maturing technologies within the market, which were defined by four pillars: identity, network, monitoring and endpoint security. The conference cemented zero trust as the next “big thing” for cyber security, instilling us with great confidence that we can truly help our customers to realise the value of this approach.
Since the conference, we have seen several companies struggle to cope with “working from home” policies, as offices close or reduce the number of staff commuting. Traditional company networks have a finite number of remote access connections, which are being stretched beyond their limit. Zero trust may be the answer — not only for better security hybrid environments, but also for enabling resilience and remote working. This is because everything is considered untrustworthy with a zero trust approach, and security is built around any device coming in from anywhere.
New technology and exciting acquisitions
In terms of technology, there was lots to see. ClearSky is an innovative Identity & Access Management company which has built its solution on top of ServiceNow, giving it an advantage in aligning ITSM processes and interfaces to the administration of user access.
Nominet acquired Cyglass just before the start of the conference — an exciting development for both companies. Where Nominet is traditionally good at managing North-South traffic (data that ingresses and egresses an organisation), Cyglass is very good at monitoring East-West traffic (NetFlow within the organisation). The merging of the two means we are likely to see exciting disruption in the market going forward.
RSA also announced it had been divested from parent company Dell, which will give the conference more freedom to focus on its strengths. As such, we are likely to see some encouraging developments over the coming months.
All-round successful trip
Although we were primarily in California for business, we did manage to squeeze in a bit of leisure time, too! Down in San Diego, we had an excellent opportunity to get our heads together and strategise over the year ahead. Naturally, we were able to take in a few of the sights and sample some fantastic craft beers along the way!