This year’s RSA Conference continues the long string of high powered speakers from both the private and the public sector. While there are great keynotes and more than 500 track sessions, we discovered we needed more! Five years ago, many senior government officials were looking for a platform from which they could communicate what they were working on; identify issues they saw; and even ask for input from the cybersecurity professionals physically present or following them virtually. Eager to accommodate the request the conference committee created a new event – The Forum – and tucked it between keynotes and track sessions.
The first Forum speaker, in 2012, was then Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. He has since been followed by senior speakers from the Department of Homeland Security, the White House, the Federal Communications Commission, international government cybersecurity professionals, former senior government officials and other departments and agencies. In 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch provided her perspective on encryption and then took questions from a reporter. It was a great example of open communications – clearly discussing the pros and cons of a critical issue. Rigorous debate on this issue continued throughout the conference and beyond.
This year, we have the opportunity to increase the Forum sessions. First, on Tuesday, we’re honored to have Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia. This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity for a state leader to speak. Governor McAuliffe has been executing a statewide strategy to address cybersecurity issues in Virginia. He’s also the Chairman of the National Governor’s Association (NGA). The NGA is aggressively looking at cybersecurity to determine how to holistically address the issues they see at the state and local level.
On Thursday, we have added a Forum session that will include Michael Daniel, former White House Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President. He’ll be discussing the hyper-connected world we’re living in along with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Andy Hickey of the Department of Justice and Jeanette Manfra, the Deputy Undersecretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security. It should make for an interesting discussion.
Mark your calendar and join us for a rare opportunity at a glimpse into the public sector.
As we look forward to 2018, let us know via the conference survey if you have suggestions on people you’d like to hear from!