Security Takeaways and Trends From RSA Conference 2018

Apr 24, 2018 admin

The annual RSA Conference has officially wrapped and while everyone is recovering from the whirlwind week, it’s time to recap what went on at this year’s event.

As security PR practitioners, we act as our clients eyes and ears, helping them inject their voice into breaking industry news and trending conversations as a cornerstone of thought leadership programs. And the RSA Conference is one of the biggest stages for security conversations amongst the community’s 40,000+ members. From threat intelligence to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and election hacking, here’s a rundown of a few of the key trending topics and takeaways at the show.

GDPR and Data Privacy: 
With the GDPR going into effect next month, RSA offered a wealth of education about how to comply with the complex privacy law including a plethora of “get smart” options on the agenda. From presenters underscoring GDPR’s impact to a number of companies unveiling various solutions specifically designed to address it, GDPR was a big topic of conversation at the event and continues to be a hot topic in the infosec field.

With the timing of RSA 2018 happening on the heels of the data privacy scandal at Facebook and the platform laying out changes to comply with GDPR, which InkHouse’s Hannah McGoldrick discusses in this blog post - there was no shortage of experts weighing in on current security- and privacy-related issues that are top of mind today.

  • Security expert and CTO of IBM Resilient, Bruce Schneier discussed how new regulations are inevitable in light of recent privacy and data misuse episodes. He also renewed his call for more technology and security professionals to get involved in the policy-making process.
  • In his keynote, RSA Security President Rohit Ghai highlighted government actions and policies, “as helping to put the issue of data management and data privacy front and center, not just for the EU but globally.” In addition, he said, “business stakeholders are more engaged than ever before, with cyber-security a board-level agenda item,” as reported by Sean Michael Kerner at eWeek.


Government and Election Security: From WannaCry to NotPetya, over the past few years we’ve seen an increase in devastating government-backed cyberattacks that have affected enterprises and governments alike. During a keynote at the conference, Microsoft President Brad Smith outlined a new Cybersecurity Tech Accord between 34 tech companies pledging to defend customers from malicious attacks by cybercriminal enterprises and nation-states and committing to protect customers by working together on cybersecurity issues. “We need governments to stop targeting the public sector, hospitals, and power grids… we need to make the world a safer place,” said Smith as reported by Lindsey O'Donnell at Threatpost. “This requires that we not only do more [to address security risks] but do more together.”

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen also spoke at RSA addressing strategies the "DHS is using to reach its cybersecurity goals to protect the country's citizens and organizations from cyberattacks, breaches and cybercrime." During her speech she encouraged collaboration between public and private sector firms, similar to that of Cybersecurity Tech Accord. She also addressed concerns around Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and the safety of the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Emerging Technologies: RSA 2018 gave us a plethora of emerging technology trends to choose from. Here are a few that stood out.

  • Artificial Intelligence: According to a blog post by Britta Glade, senior content manager for RSA Conference, cybersecurity AI was the top topic submission for this years event. Michael Heller at TechTarget reported that Glade, “noted that the topics around cybersecurity AI show a maturing view of the technology.”
  • Blockchain: “Blockchain technology was perhaps the most controversial topic at last week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco,” says freelancer journalist Jasmine Henry. Throughout the week, security experts discussed everything from “where blockchain technology truly fits into the enterprise” to “how technological weaknesses can be exploited” and “whether the risks outweigh the benefits.” It was even a topic of discussion during the annual Cryptographers’ Panel.
  • DevSecOps: Michael Novinson at CRN listed it as one of the 9 Security Trends To Watch For At RSA 2018 and security vendors, practitioners and development teams gathered to discuss the movement during this year’s DevOps Connect: DevSecOps Day at RSA Conference 2018.

Next year RSA is moving to March. The 2019 dates are March 4-8, taking place as usual at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It’s never too soon to start planning.  

Topics: Public Relations, Technology, Security, cybersecurity, RSA

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