Q&A Series with RSAC Ambassador: Branden Williams

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You’ve heard about it. Probably read about it. And now’s your chance to live it. RSA Conference 2019 is the place to be for the latest in cybersecurity data, innovation and thought leadership. From March 4 – 8, San Francisco will come alive with cybersecurity’s brightest minds as they gather together to discuss the industry’s newest developments. And predict what’s to come in the year ahead. From keynotes presented by your favorite experts to endless sessions covering everything under the cybersecurity sun, there’s truly no better place to refresh your insights and connect with peers from around the globe.


But don’t just take our word for it. As the RSA Conference Editorial team, we often share content about what we think you will be interested in at RSA Conference. But in this series, we wanted to share someone else’s perspective. We thought you might like to hear directly from other attendees – infosec pros just like you – about what they are looking forward to at this year’s Conference – plus a few tips to keep in mind.


In part one of this four-part series, meet RSAC Ambassador, Branden Williams!


Branden Williams


Branden is director of Cyber Security at Union Bank and a speaker at RSA Conference 2019. We reached out to Branden to ask him a few questions as a past RSAC attendee, so read on for his thoughts on what to do at RSAC, and who and what you can’t miss:


1.       How many times have you attended RSAC?

I’ve been to every US RSAC since 2005. Sometimes as a vendor, sometimes a speaker, sometimes a full attendee. I’ve also been lucky enough to attend and speak at RSAC Europe and RSAC China. Doing the math in my head, I’ve been to over 20 RSA Conferences globally. 

2.       What is the topic of your session?

My session this year focuses on human behavior and the things that we can do as security professionals to make people subconsciously choose the more secure path. We sometimes forget that aside from technical controls, we can also influence people to act securely by altering their behavior. In the information security world, things like employees printing out confidential information and leaving it on their desks while they go to lunch, leaving a workstation unlocked while visiting the breakroom, or clicking on a bad link that causes malware to be installed are real problems in our world that expensive or draconian products might solve, but there are better ways to change behavior. 

3.       How are you preparing for your session?

Aside from research, I’m presenting things I have considered implementing (or implemented) where I work. The slides will tell part of the story, but everyone attending my session will get a resource pack that will give them further information, a more sharable version of the talk, and a way to reach out to discuss their own ideas once the conference is over

4.       What skills/info will those who attend your session walk away with? 

This session will teach attendees to become effective choice architects, influencing employees to choose a secure pathway when presented with a choice. These methods are nearly or totally free, and can influence employees to make better choices in their personal and professional lives. 

5.       Which session are you most excited to attend and why?

I’m very interested in the Analytics track. One of the challenges we face as practitioners is the number of vendors who claim to do things like machine learning or claim to apply artificial intelligence to information security, but fall woefully short. I’m hoping that sessions from this track can help practitioners like me sift through the dirt to find the gold. 

6.       What’s the one touristy thing everyone should do when in San Francisco?

Aside from eat? Find time to wander Fisherman’s Wharf or the Embarcadero. The sights are amazing! 

7.       Outside of sessions and the expo, which program is a must-attend for you? 

I always check out the RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest. There are great ideas you will discover by visiting, either by unlocking your own ideas or by connecting with new and exciting vendors.

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