RSA Conference 2018 USA: What you can expect at this year’s event

RSA Conference 2018 USA highlightsWith RSA Conference 2018 USA less than a month away, we asked Britta Glade, Director, Content and Curation for RSA Conference, to tell us more about this year’s event.

Read on to find out what’s in store for the world’s largest gathering of information security professionals.

What have been the major security developments in the past year, and how have these informed the conference agenda for 2018?

Where to begin? 2017 showed us just how sophisticated cyber threats could be. From human manipulation through social engineering, to hacking of IoT and medical devices, you couldn’t turn on the news without hearing of another breach. But nevertheless, security companies innovated, persevered and gained insight from yesterday’s breach. We saw artificial intelligence and machine learning being applied through security solutions. The industry continued to push the envelope on how AI and ML can be used to protect against evolving threats.

This year we added a half-track on Machine Learning to the Conference agenda to allow for more focused education on the advancements being made in that area. Another security issue that jumped top of mind is risk management and compliance as organizations prepare for GDPR in May. This is such a significant topic of discussion among attendees that we added a GDPR Essentials seminar to the agenda on Monday, April 16, which will take a holistic look at risk and compliance through a business, customer and security lens.

There are quite a few security conferences in the US. What do you see as your strengths? Has your strategic focus changed from previous years? How much has the event grown in the past five years?

RSA Conference gives attendees the power of community and the opportunity to gather face to face and exchange ideas with one another as we all work together to make the world a more secure place. RSA Conference has doubled in size since 2012 and we expect to see significant growth once again in 2018.

Collectively our conferences draw over 45,000 attendees per year, making us the world’s largest provider of security events. That said, we work very hard to create “small” experiences for our attendees as well via a wide variety of learning formats that maximize networking and information exchange as well as providing powerful interactive learning.

Most importantly, the real value of RSA Conference lies not in our size, but in the valuable content we provide and our commitment to finding new industry voices and new ways for our community to feel inspired and engaged. Presentations are encouraged to always end with actionable guidance—how are our attendees going to do their jobs differently next week, next month, and next year as a result of the content presented. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about—helping our attendees to be more effective in their work.

What will be different or new at RSA Conference 2018? What aspects of the event are unique to the US event compared to Asia Pacific & Japan or Abu Dhabi?

Even though we see the majority of attendees at the US RSA Conference come from domestic cities (80%), it does essentially function as a global event, attracting attendees and press from all over the world. Because of this, we actually use the US event to test new ideas and learning formats that, if successful, can be brought to our other global events in a modified format that reflects local market drivers. This allows us to be creative with our programming and the approaches we take and provide new and exciting tracks and sessions to participants every year.

We know that it’s especially important to deliver new and customized content to attendees, so we have a massive Monday seminar lineup, we have 19 Learning Labs and 48 Peer2Peer sessions, as well plenty of morning and afternoon Birds of a Feather sessions. These are all purposed to provide not only great networking opportunities but a set agenda for discussion around key themes and interests so attendees can meet and share pain points or best practices with others in their field of expertise.

The feedback we receive on these sessions at the US Conference will inform programming at our international events. For example, at RSAC Asia Pacific & Japan, we’ll have two Learning Labs this year and two seminars as well as the “Ask the Experts” offering, which introduces a market-specific Peer2Peer-type discussion format adopted from the US Conference agenda.

What tracks and workshops would you highlight?

We’ve built significantly more content into the Monday schedule for attendees to take advantage of before the Expo Hall opens on Tuesday. As I mentioned above, we’ll dive into the topics of GDPR, bitcoin & blockchain and ransomware, as well as the always popular Security Foundations seminar, on Monday.

In addition, I encourage anyone attending RSAC to check out our Securing Diversity session that day as well, either in person or via the live stream. This is a highly anticipated seminar featuring a wide range of speakers designed to expose the audience to a variety of thoughts, backgrounds and perspectives. It’s a great way to start the week on a high note with valuable content and networking opportunities.

Lastly, I’ll highlight our innovation tracks for anyone involved with or interested in the startup world. Check out our Early Stage Expo, the ever popular Innovation Sandbox Competition or attend the How-To for Innovators and Entrepreneurs seminar Monday morning.

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