RSA Conference 2021 Preview - Tips for Hosting a Successful Virtual Roundtable, Industry Trends & Challenges Facing CISOs

May 14, 2021 Jill Creelman

*This blog post is co-authored by Jessica Bettencourt, vice president, Inkhouse

It’s hard to believe that next week marks the first-ever virtual RSA Conference since 2020’s event was the last major one most of us attended live. We learned a bit from virtual Black Hat last year and have continued to shift the way we engage and communicate with media and influencers in a virtual environment ahead of major events. (Hint: it takes serious creativity and communication.) 

Ahead of RSA Conference 2021, the Inkhouse security practice hosted a media roundtable with executives from four clients alongside a moderator from NCSA. We invited reporters to tune in and encouraged a collaborative conversation ahead of the security industry’s largest event. 

Here are some key takeaways both from the event itself and from the prep involved to ensure it was successful: 

Security takeaways, trends and challenges from our clients during the event:

  • The massive adoption of new collaboration tools due to the pandemic has added more risk for organizations, both to data loss and to file sharing
  • Employees are more stressed than ever and, unfortunately, might not be as careful about security precautions as they normally are in the office 
  • Humans will always have a role in security — hackers are human so we have to understand how/why they do what they do 
  • Security teams often underestimate the level of impact they have on the company culture but taking a positive-intent approach to security is key. In the end, employees are an extension of the security team
  • Organizations are flying blind — they don’t have enough visibility into security throughout the development process but it’s required today to prevent vulnerabilities in the end product 
  • We'll never go back to security as we know it — security leaders need to understand how employees need to work and figure out ways to enable it so they’re not reacting to workarounds or non-secure products after the fact 
  • Third party and fourth party risk — like SolarWinds, Codecov — will continue to be a challenge for security leaders 
  • Security teams will evolve to become more of a business enabler within organizations 
  • Post-pandemic security issues and challenges will remain the same —if not bigger — as organizations continue to move at lightning speeds to meet customer demands

We all know that there’s no shortage of virtual events and Zoom meetings today. The key to ensuring good attendance and an attentive virtual audience is to prepare ahead of time and create something exciting and different. In our case, it was having four executives in one place for reporters to access. 

If you’re looking to host a virtual round table here are some best practices to consider:

  • Get organized early with your event topics, speakers, media invites and event flow 
  • Secure a strong non-vendor moderator that will draw media interest 
  • Host a prep call to ensure alignment among the speakers and moderator - align on potential questions and bounce between speakers vs. a scripted Q&A
  • Coach your clients (the speakers) on strong POVs, sound bites, and meaningful thought leadership POVs they can take
  • Be prepared for media to drop out last minute - breaking news and deadlines continue virtually for them and dropping out virtually is far easier than missing an in-person event
  • Test the Zoom line before the event to ensure there are no quality or audio issues
  • Send a recap for the speakers, thanks the attendees and continue to stay in touch with the reporter attendees as an ongoing resource for RSA and beyond
  • Take interaction to a whole new level by pairing the discussion with a branded virtual experience, such as a wine tasting hosted by a sommelier

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Topics: cybersecurity, RSAC, security practice, RSA Conference 2021
Jill Creelman

Jill is a vice president, based in Sacramento, Calif. With nearly nine years of agency experience, Jill is passionate about telling creative stories and moving the needle for fast-growing startups. She co-leads the security practice at Inkhouse and has taken companies through major financial milestones, from launching out of stealth and early financing rounds to IPOs and acquisitions. She helps spearhead the international partnership program at Inkhouse across EMEA and APJ for clients looking to expand efforts worldwide.

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