Expanding the Reach of RSA Conference

Many of you have been asking the question: why is the cast of CSI Cyber taking the stage this year? Why are they keynoting over someone more ingrained in the industry?

Speaker Diana NyadAs we celebrate our 25-year anniversary, the melding of cybersecurity and pop culture has never been more prevalent. Movies, television and books focus on online activity ranging from credit theft to cyber espionage, and few things are more in the public eye than the CSI family of television shows. With a cybercrime edition now on a top-rated network, RSA Conference saw the opportunity to bring two audiences together: Hollywood and the security industry.

While the show may not be technically accurate, it does introduce our profession to new league of people—and more importantly to a new generation of potential cybersecurity professionals. The number of cybersecurity job openings continues to outpace those entering the industry, and if pop culture can help bring awareness to the industry and spark interest in the next generation to learn more, we welcome that discussion and recognize its value.

Now, let’s clear something up—no member of the cast is giving a keynote presentation. This is an unconventional group of speakers, and as such it will have a less conventional format. On Thursday March 3, I am hosting a Q&A with two stars of the show and one of its producers to find out how they research and determine the show’s plot and cybersecurity’s role in it, how they feel about any industry criticism and what they hope to accomplish for the average viewer who may not be familiar with the nuts and bolts of infosecurity.

As you know, over the years we’ve had several keynote speakers who are not cyber experts—Malcolm Gladwell, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Diana Nyad and Zak Ebrahim, for example. While not security experts, their talks have provided inspiration to our audiences. And furthermore, the talks have challenged us all to think differently, persevere despite adversity or change our perspectives. That is intentional. 

One of the great things about RSA Conference is that it brings together a diverse group of people who are all connected through their interest in cybersecurity. We hope to provide all conference attendees the opportunity to learn through the robust programming schedule and insightful dialogue it creates.

Posted on February 2, 2016

Sandra Toms

by Sandra Toms

VP and Curator, RSA Conference

USA 2016

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