What do RSA Conference 2017 and my DVR have in common?

Another year, another RSA Conference. At this point, I have lost count of my appearances at this annual gathering of all things security – I believe it was number 15 or 16 for me. I say “appearances” because the days blur into such a steady stream of meetings, discussions and general sensory overload that at the end of the week, I know I ‘appeared’ many places, but still wish I had time to participate in more. There is so much that happens at this event it can be both inspiring and intimidating. A walk through the Exhibitor floor quickly gives one the sense of magnitude of our industry. So when I reflect back on the conference, it feels as if someone sat on the fast forward button on the remote control for my DVR and flashed through the episodes of The Big Bang Theory, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Scandal waiting for me when I return from the conference.

First up, RSA Conference is a collection of geniuses contemplating a massive digital universe. Just like the Big Bang Theory, brain power plays a big role in fueling our industry. The innovation and pure technical skill of the security profession is on full display at RSA Conference. But the cast of the Big Bang Theory is more than a bunch of techie whizzes spouting geeky Star Trek references. The stories contain genuine friendship, acceptance and diversity as the characters navigate their lives. At RSA Conference this same sense of community can be felt. It is evident that the security world is a small world with many old friends coming together to share their diverse experiences and thoughts.

Next, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For those fans of the TV show, you know that the team of agents work fearlessly to keep the world safe.   We have our own version of these agents in our industry. No security event would be complete without the many super heroes fighting the forces of evil.   Our industry is on the front lines of some serious conflicts. As Zully Ramzan stated in his eloquent keynote, the security and risk profession is the barrier between opportunity and the edge of chaos.

Finally, the intrigue of Scandal awaits.   Scandal, if you haven’t seen the show, has an endless series of twists and turns as the characters weave their way from one treacherous skirmish to the next.   While I suspect most organizations do not face the political turmoil chronicled in the TV show, businesses today face a constantly shifting environment of threats that would seriously challenge Olivia Pope, the savvy protagonist of Scandal. The threats facing organizations today are immense and require individuals dedicated to doing the right thing. In Scandal, they are referred to as ‘gladiators’ and our industry is full of them.

This year’s RSA Conference had many highlights. But the highlight for me, is that this conference, year after year, continues to push our industry forward. Great minds come together and share experiences. Those new to the profession learn new skills; seasoned veterans are inspired to keep learning.   I am proud that RSA is such a vibrant contributor to this conference. Whether we are inviting you to reimagine your identity strategy, push the boundaries of the detection of attacks, ignite your business risk management program or get out in front of fraud, RSA continues to change the game and help organizations implement business-driven security. It was a great conference for 2017…I can’t wait to appear at RSA Conference 2018.

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