RSAC 2012: RSA Conference – The Tech Herald’s preview

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the RSA Conference. Since its inception, it has grown from a small gathering of users in to the world’s largest security event. The Tech Herald will once again make our annual trek to the show, and as such, here’s a rundown of what we expect and what we’re doing.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the RSA Conference (a.k.a. RSA from this point out). Depending on why you’re heading out to California this year, our advice is to remember that no two vendors are alike, and that if you’re researching a new gizmo or product for your network, consider your needs first and the vendor pitch second.

Also, we’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating, vendors should be more to your organization than an SLA and contract line item. It’s worth building a relationship with the company you’re planning to trust to protect your business assets.

When it comes to the talks and keynote addresses, if you have to pick between them or networking with newly met peers over coffee or late breakfast / early lunch, take the social route. Most of the talks the past few years are vendor driven, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for.

However, the days of neutral presentations are gone; RSA is a commercial event, so the talks and keynotes will focus on things you likely already know or on the vendor’s products. With that said, there are some talks worth checking out, just don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not what you’re looking for.

  • Tuesday 28-Feb in Room 301 @ 2:40 p.m.

The First 24: Responding to an Attack within the Critical First Day
David Amsler, Chief Executive Officer, Foreground Security

  • Tuesday 28-Feb in Room 103 @ 3:50 p.m.

The Six Most Dangerous New Attack Techniques and What's Coming Next
Panel Talk

  • Wednesday 28-Feb Room 132 @ 1:00 p.m.

Human Hacking Exposed: 6 Preventative Tips That Can Save Your Company
Chris Hadnagy, Chief Executive Officer, White Hat Defense

  • Wednesday 29-Feb Room 307 @ 09:30 a.m.

Deploying IPv6 Securely
Danny McPherson, Chief Security Officer, VeriSign, Inc.
Robert Hinden, Check Point Fellow, Check Point Software

  • Thursday 01-March Room 304 @ 10:40 a.m.

Offensive Countermeasures: Making Attackers' Lives Miserable
Paul Asadoorian, Host, PaulDotCom
John Strand, Consulting Manager, PaulDotCom, SANS Senior Instructor

There are a few debates worth watching this year, one of them being “Software Liability: Our Saving Grace or Kiss of Death?” on Wednesday at noon in Room 134.

Moderated by Pete Lindstrom, the Research Director for Spire Security, with Bruce Schneier and Marcus Ranum, the debate focuses on actually obtaining secure software code and seeks to determine if “software liability would be our saving grace or the kiss of death.”

Another is on Thursday, also at noon, in the same room. This debate, “Internet Access: Right or Privilege?” will be moderated by Alan Shimel (CISO Group), and include Ira Winkler and Peter Eckersley. It looks as if it will be a solid conversation, if for no other reason than it opens with a loaded question: “Is Internet access an inalienable right for individuals and organizations?”

This year, expect targeted attacks, mobile security, and/or cloud protection to be major topics. Almost all of the vendors we’ve spoken with have something related to one of the three trends at the show this year. While the topics are important, remember that risk assessment should play a large role in your organization’s plans for these areas, and avoid the hype on the expo floor.

In addition to yours truly, The Tech Herald will also have our image editor, Jen Anderson, at the show. She will be walking the floor taking photos and talking to vendors. Feel free to leave a comment on the live posts for the day, and we’ll use the feedback to determine where we should focus.

If you’re looking for some additional learning, don’t forget to attend BSides this year, which will take place within walking distance of Mascone (Children's Creativity Museum). There’s plenty of chances to network, and a solid lineup of speakers.

Also, if you’re presenting at the show or have an interest in gaining some useful media training, the Open Security Foundation’s is hosting a series of media training workshops.

'The SECore workshops will provide security professionals with best practices for communicating about security as well as tips for promoting their work to a broader audience, with the overall goal of enabling greater collaboration within the information security community,” Marisa Fagan, the co-founder of BayThreat and SECore project owner, said in a statement.

The hour-long media training workshops will provide personalized instruction on how to construct and deliver an effective story to the greater security community, ideas and best practices for promoting security-related research as well as the fundamentals for communicating with members of the press. If you’re interested, the cost is $40 and you can register here.

As always, have a safe trip out to California. We’ll see you next week.

Like this article? Please share on Facebook and give The Tech Herald a Like too!