Every year we like to start the RSAC-G with a review of the major themes you will most likely see woven throughout presentations and marketing materials on the RSA Conference show floor. These themes are like channel surfing late night TV—the words and images themselves represent our collective psychology more than any particular needs. It's easy to get excited about the latest diet supplement or workout DVD, and all too easy to be pulled along by the constant onslaught of finely-crafted messaging, but in the end what matters TO YOU? What's the reality behind the theme? Which works? Is it low-carb, slow-carb, or all carb? Is it all nonsense designed to extract your limited financial resources? How can you extract the useful nuggets through the noise?
This year we went a little nutty and decided to theme our themes with a sports and fitness flavor. It seems fitting considering the growth of security and if you know anything about the massive muscle behind the sports, diet, and fitness markets. Jennifer Minella leads off with our meta theme, and the conference theme, of "change".
This year at RSAC, the vendors are 18 percent more engaged, solutions are 22 percent more secure, and a whopping 73 percent of the products and solutions are new. Or are they? To the untrained eye, the conference floor is filled with new and sensational technologies, ripe for consumption—cutting edge, alongside bleeding edge—where the world comes to talk security. While those percentages may be fabricated horse poop, the underlying message here is in our perception of, and influence over, real change.
“It's like déjà vu, all over again," as Yogi Berra once mused. Flipping through a conference guide, that will be the reaction for an observant few who've made their way watching the ebbs and flows of our industry over time. The immediate recognition of companies acquired, products rebranded, and solutions washed in marketing to make them 84 percent shinier feeds the skepticism that we're not actually making progress throughout this growth we call "change". Here's where we issue the Public Service Announcement that "change" does not necessarily mean "improvement".
Change can be good, bad, or neutral, but for some reason our human brains crave it when we're at an impasse. When we hit a wall, when we bonk, when we're frustrated, confused, or just down right pissed off —we seek change. Not only seek, we force and abuse change. We wield change in unusual and unnatural ways because something that's crappy in a new and different way is better than the current crappy we have. At least with change there's a chance for improvement, right? And there's something to be said for that. Coach John Wooten said "Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be." If we keep changing—if we keep taking more shots on goal—eventually we'll score.
But are we changing the right things? Does reorganizing, rebranding, or reinventing the cloud or the IoT help us in a meaningful way? Perhaps, but you're not at the mercy of how things change around you. You, too, can influence change along the way. This year, as you walk around the sessions, workshops, and booths at RSAC, look for opportunities to change other things. Change your perspective, change your circle of influence, change your approach, or change your habits. Ask questions, meet new people, and consider the unimaginable. We guarantee at least 19 percent change with a 12 percent effort, 99 percent of the time.
—Jennifer Minella, Contributing Analyst, Securosis
Check out other posts in the series: Introduction
Theme posts: Change; Internet of Things; Professionalism; Compliance; Big Data; Bonk; DevOps
Coverage Area Deep Dives: Overview; Endpoint Security; Network Security; IAM; Cloud Security; Data Security; Security Management;
Download your copy of RSAC-G