Q&A Series with RSAC Ambassador Chester Wisniewski

Posted on by RSAC Editorial Team

In part two of this four-part series, meet RSAC Ambassador, Chester Wisniewski!

Chester Wisniewski

Chester is Principal Research Scientist at Sophos, and a recent speaker at RSA Conference. We reached out to Chester to ask him a few questions as a past RSAC attendee, so read on for his thoughts on why to attend RSAC, where to eat, and which programs are must-attends:

How many times have you attended RSAC?

I can't recall exactly, but I do believe this is my tenth RSA Conference. My first was in 2010 and I attended both USA and APJ last year.

Which session are you most excited to attend and why?

First, I think "Let’s Blow Up Security Awareness and Start Over" should be interesting. It is critical that enterprises recognize that security is everyone's responsibility, but the traditional approaches aren't yielding results. Technical people often overlook the social aspects of security and I hope this panel will result in some innovative approaches to engaging staff as part of a security strategy.

Another important discussion I want to be a part of is titled "Network Monitoring Is Going Away...Now What? TLS, QUIC and Beyond." To ensure privacy and data integrity we are deploying encryption to all parts of the network stack, yet much of our threat visibility comes from network monitoring. It will be interesting to hear the panel’s thoughts on how we move forward. 

What is the #1 reason you attend RSAC?

Networking. Not the bits and bytes, but the human kind. This is one of the few events I get to attend where I can literally find just about anyone I want to talk to in our field. I love to chat with our customers and newcomers who stop at our stand, I can schedule meetings with almost anyone for a coffee or drink, or simply wander the Expo learning about the latest techniques being developed by the vendors.

Where should attendees go to do the best networking during RSAC?

The RSAC Bash is never a bad idea. There are many networking opportunities, but you need to reach out and take advantage. Asking questions after a talk often leads to other likeminded folks who want to continue the discussion afterwards. The same at the Expo halls. There are many passionate security practitioners like myself wandering around the Expo, but also at sponsor booths waiting for an opportunity to share what we know and make a new friend.

What’s your favorite spot to get a good meal in San Francisco?

I feel like this is a trick question. Should I make up something so no one books all the reservations at my favorite? I love B44 Catalan Bistro on Belden Place. Fantastic tapas and delicious Catalonian wine and Cava. The staff makes you feel like family. 

What’s your favorite party to attend the week of RSAC?

My favorite has to be TongaCon. It is usually on the Sunday night before things get started and was originally meant to reward many of the techies who have to do all the setup of the vendor stands before the crowds arrive to the Expo halls on Monday afternoon. Always a good time at one of the best bars in San Francisco, the Tonga Room at the Fairmont.

Which keynote are you looking forward to hearing and why?

I always learn things from Andy Ellis when I see him speak and I look forward to hearing his thoughts this year again. He has done a great job keeping Akamai safe and on the forefront of security issues at a scale most of us can't imagine. Hearing from executives with the technical chops to still do the job of their staff always provides the right balance of business and technical for me. 

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

I always make time to stop by the RSAC Sandbox at the Marriott. It is a great place to be sure you're up to date on what's coming next. It's fun to chat with the teams vying to win the SANS NetWars competition and see the Innovation Sandbox Contest.

Check back on the RSAC blog soon for part three and to hear more from our RSAC Ambassadors! If you missed part one with Mark Nunnikhoven, click here to catch up.  


RSAC Editorial Team

Editorial, RSA Conference

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