Linda Gray is the General Manager of RSA Conferences. In this interview she talks about the growth of RSA Conference, outlines the threats that helped shape this year’s agenda, and highlights sessions, speakers and trainings.
RSA Conference is regarded as the premier event for the information security industry. How would you introduce the event to someone who hasn’t attended yet?
If you work in information security, want to learn about it, or even just have an interest in it, then RSA Conference is an event that you can’t miss. There really is something for everyone, from those attending the track sessions that really dig into the details of a particular industry, to those coming to learn the skills necessary for their jobs, to those who enjoy wandering around the expo hall meeting the hundreds of vendors there to showcase a wide range of existing products and/or the “next big thing” in security. Attendees also get a chance to see and hear from some of the legends in the information security industry as well as network and collaborate with lots of people who live and breathe it every day and are happy to share their knowledge. It really is a “one-stop shop” for all things InfoSec.
Last year we’ve seen the expo expand once again. How much has the event grown in the past decade?
It’s amazing to see how much the event has grown just in the last 5 years alone – in 2010 we had 15,500 attendees and this year are expecting around 30,000! But, I guess that shows how much more visible information security has become, with high-profile breaches in the news all the time that touch all of us, in business and in our everyday lives.
Now we’re using all three halls at Moscone (North, South and West) and we have a bit more room to play with and spread out. It’s a fantastic event space and we look forward to keeping RSA Conference there for the foreseeable future.
What events and threats have helped shape this year’s conference agenda?
We pride ourselves on staying current, and each year we examine the conference program and tracks to make sure our sessions are topical and relevant.
It’s no secret that over the last year we’ve seen several high-profile breaches in a range of industries from entertainment to retail to financial institutions to social platforms. Those have absolutely informed the agenda – these are the topics on everyone’s minds, the things that attendees have read about in the news and want to learn how to prevent. But aside from that, there are many topics and threats that don’t get as much attention in the news – those are still important, and we provide programming on those as well.
Over and above the conference itself, we’ve revamped RSA Conference 365, a year-round initiative that provides relevant industry content to past, present, and future attendees as well as the broader information security industry.
What sessions and speakers would you like to highlight?
It’s hard to choose just a few – we’re very excited about our lineup and we usually have over a dozen keynote speakers and over 350 sessions!
This year, some of the keynotes will include:
- Zak Ebrahim: Nonviolence advocate and lecturer, and author of “The Terrorist’s Son.”
- Doris Kearns Goodwin: World-renowned presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and political commentator.
- Diana Nyad: Author, motivational speaker and legendary swimmer who made history last year after swimming from Havana to Key West.
Take a look at all the keynote speakers listed in the agenda. We’ll still be adding more, as we haven’t yet announced the closing speaker just yet, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Feel free to browse through all the sessions and tracks on the website, but some of the top-rated ones so far are:
- License to Kill: Malware Hunting with the Sysinternals Tools
- No More Snake Oil: 6 Reasons Why InfoSec Needs Guarantees
- The Six Most Dangerous New Attack Techniques and What’s Coming Next
- Android Security: Data from the Front Lines
- Endpoints in the New Age: Apps, Mobility, and the Internet of Things.
Finally, aside from our regular sessions and keynotes, we always try to provide interactive learning opportunities for attendees in the form of trainings and tutorials. These two-day, immersive and intensive skill-building sessions will be led by respected authorities from (ISC)2 and the SANS Institute. Don’t forget to register for these – they’ll fill up fast!