RSA Conference is taking innovation to the next level and, for the first time in the event’s history, it has established a showcase for startups: The Early Stage Expo (ESE). Through this new initiative, 40 newcomers from the US, Canada, Israel, the UK, and France are able to spread the word about what’s to come from the cybersecurity startup world. The ESE is a great spot for any investor who wants to be part of the next big thing in the industry as they have what’s next in security innovation concentrated in one room.

When White Hawk Software received the exciting news of having met the criteria for the ESE, we began thinking about how to prepare for a large-scale event. Established companies frequently employ an entire marketing team to prepare for an expo. As RSA Conference brings together thousands of security professionals each year, we knew we would need to thoughtfully and strategically approach our preparation. How can one get ready with a lean startup team of 2-3 people, while doing the daily crunch and handling the flood of emails once the attendance has become public? Through the preparation process, we were appreciative of the conference team’s guidance and support. Taking care of the setup takes a large burden off our mind, and we can focus on letting the world know we are part of the largest cybersecurity expo.

One of the most exciting things about participating in an event like RSA Conference is the opportunity to talk about trends in cybersecurity, debate what’s ahead – and discuss how we as an industry should move forward. The Internet of Things is changing our world daily. We have practically become a software nation. Cyber hacks do not only affect a single’s person email anymore; they affect companies and even nations. The electrical grid can be shut down, a car can be driven off the road, and an attack on the in-flight entertainment system of a plane can overwrite the Thrust Management Computer to change course. Both personal and professional assets are at stake today and the question is how can we effectively protect against even the most sophisticated attacks.

Industry experts agree upon the complexity of cyber security. To effectively protect against cyber-attacks today it is necessary to implement several layers of protection technologies and the 40 Startups and Early Stage companies at the ESE can guide you through the latest innovation in several technology areas from password and biometric authentication to data protection, cryptographic analysis, penetration testing, internet, server and application security including sandboxing and containerization. You might want to start your ESE journey at the cyber security awareness companies if you just get started with cyber security.

Beyond preparing to participate in the ESE, many attendees are working to figure out their game plan to make the most out of their week at the Moscone Center. To be prepared for the overwhelming amount of cybersecurity technologies at RSA Conference (ranging from password management, authentication, incidence response, threat detection, perimeter protection, to encryption and many more), attendees should go in with the ability to clearly state the problem that needs to be solved. Do you need data protection? Do you have to manage access to software and need authentication technology? Do you have mission critical software and need application protection? Then familiarize yourself with the companies that offer a solution to your specific problem. Really diving into the technologies will allow you to identify the differences and select the best fit for your security needs. 

For example, one of the latest trends in the industry is application security. Only now does the industry realize that code protection/application security should be the first line of defense and immediately implemented when an engineer writes code and develops an application. The most advanced application protection is effective once the code has been released as the application recognizes any change to the code at runtime.

To get ready for the big week, wear comfy shoes, bring lots of business cards, snacks and water, to help get you through the long hours. Don’t forget to enjoy expert company at one of the many after hour parties and make sure you find your way to the Early Stage Expo.