You can’t hide from this top trend at RSA Conference, no matter where you operate

Every year, there are certain buzzwords and trends that rise to popularity within the technology community. In years prior, it’s been things like “cloud,” “bitcoin,” or “IoT,” that set the trend. So it’s no surprise when those words fill the agenda at major events like RSA Conference. Leaving us to wonder what the trending topics will be at RSAC 2018, taking place April 16-20 in San Francisco.

But, lucky for us, that’s exactly what one of the RSA Conference Advisory Board members was determined to figure out. Wade Baker, RSAC Advisory Board Member, Partner at Cyentia Institute and Professor at Virginia Tech, analyzed approximately 15,000 RSA Conference Call for Paper submissions over the last decade (2009-2018). Using a combination of Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques and a classification system developed for the Cyentia Research Library, Baker was able to extract the “most important” terms among those thousands of CFPs.

RSA Conference 2018 top trend

He then looked at what trends will emerge in 2018, and (surprise, surprise), his research indicates we should all get ready to hear about GDPR and compliance.

If you haven’t heard already, the upcoming GDPR directive will specify how personal data for those in the EU is handled and what dictates privacy regulations moving forward. Once enacted in May 2018, this will be the largest privacy mandate in history and will dictate the way business is fundamentally performed.

If you’re among the 90% of IT professionals that believe GDPR will be difficult to achieve, you might be in luck. A quick look at the RSA Conference agenda and you’ll see a plethora of options to “get smart” on the topic before May 25, including:

  • GDPR Essentials – April 16, 2018 | 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • IAPP: Security’s Role in GDPR Compliance – April 16, 2018 | 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Privacy Essentials for Security Professionals – April 17, 2018 | 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM
  • How to Tackle the GDPR: A Typical Privacy and Security Roadmap – April 17, 2018 | 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM
  • The GDPR is Only for Europe – Right? – April 19, 2018 | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM
  • Cybersecurity and Data Breaches from a Business Lawyer’s Perspective – April 19, 2018 | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM

Much of what an organization can do is dictated by risk and compliance factors, governance initiatives and directives such as GDPR. While the speakers have yet to take the podium, based on the sessions announced, one can expect these conversations to permeate the walls of the Moscone Center in San Francisco and venture into boardrooms and C-Suite offices alike across the world.

While the directive is intended to protect the personal data of EU citizens, organizations located outside the EU are likely still liable under this directive. Any organization that processes data about individuals in the EU will need to comply with the GDPR directive, regardless of the organization’s location. If an organization offers goods or services to EU data subjects, they are included under the GDPR compliance umbrella. One key change for organizations under this directive is a shared responsibility between both the controller and processor, making no organization immune to GDPR enforcement.

With RSA Conference concluding 30 days before the GDPR directive goes into effect, attendees will benefit from vital information, tips and insights needed to prepare for its enactment. As one of the most common trends at this year’s RSA Conference, there is certainly no excuse not to know what GDPR is and how it will affect you. This year’s conference agenda will make sure of that.

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