Is the RSA Conference a must attend for security professionals? Or is it enough to “just be in San Francisco that week”?



Check out this post and discussion for the basis of our conversation on this week’s episode co-hosted by me, David Spark (@dspark), the creator of CISO Series and Allan Alford (@AllanAlfordinTX), CISO at Mitel. Our guest for this episode is Tyson Martin, CISO for Lumber Liquidators.

David Spark, producer of CISO Series, Tyson Martin, CISO, Lumber Liquidators, and Allan Alford, CISO, Mitel

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On this episode of Defense in Depth, you’ll learn:

  • Is RSAC for education or connecting? Does the value happen in the conference center or outside? This was the initial part of our debate and one argument is you need to graduate from RSAC to make it more of a “connecting outside of the event” type of event.
  • The show floor is overwhelming. As David Gorton of OverwatchID noted, “The circus hides the serious of what we’re trying to do.”
  • There were a lot of comments about people not having fear of missing out (FOMO), but you can’t argue that RSAC has a gravitational force that brings tons of security-minded people to San Francisco for one week every year. There is enormous value in that.
  • The marketing model for vendors during and after the show is starting to grate on practitioners. They’re not enjoying the endless cold calls the following week.
  • The expo hall is focused on leads and given that so many of these products are high ticket items, if just a few sales comes through, then the event pays for itself.
  • It’s impossible for small booths to compete for visibility with huge booths at the conference.