RSA 2018: The Cybersecurity Theme Park with No Theme

Having been to the RSA conference in the US for as long as I can remember, there has always been a really strong theme or message that unifies the event.

Looking back, those topics weren’t hard for the organisers to pick. As the industry evolved, the hot issue or technology area of the period has been universally recognised, as with – for example – mobile malware, cloud security and machine learning each given their time to shine.

But not anymore.

And it’s no surprise. The annual RSA jamboree is huge. I must have attended 25+ meetings, and paced the halls for a week exploring everything from the new wave of startups and upstarts to the large platform players, and I couldn’t identify a distinct theme.

I guess with more than 800 exhibitors on the expo floor and surrounding hotel suites, and over 350 startups in one venture capital event, it’s getting more confusing and harder to distinguish innovative solutions that don’t cross over in terms of budget or capability.

Helping the channel create value and stay relevant

As the security market continues to mature at an incredible pace, I find that many of the startups are actually offering features rather than solutions. Picking a way through all that is tough for channel partners, particularly now that customers are more educated and opinionated (not necessarily the same thing) on all things cybersecurity. Together they are arriving at the realisation that the traditional security layers must be stripped back and a smarter approach taken about where to spend their budget. They realise that having the traditional rack full of shiny new tech is hard to manage and often spews out data instead of information, which only compounds the problem.

So do we need to uncover a theme to make this simpler? I don’t think it’s going to work like that. Innovation is critical, but the market is so broad now that fixating on one thing is dangerously close to being a follower of fashion for the sake of it, rather than taking a stance that remains 100% relevant to the customer need.

De-risking through due diligence

What is needed is clarity and good advice on where to get the best value for your investment. That means getting the basics right: identity, endpoint, controlling access to sensitive data, plus other basic cyber-hygienes like vulnerability management and patching.

It’s more important than ever to have partners that you can trust to filter out the noise and provide clear guidance on which solutions and services will deliver the best outcomes for secure business transformation. That ‘due diligence’ is a big part of the value created by Ignition.

People power

Meeting vendors, and the people behind them, is also part of the reason I always travel to the RSA conference. In a world where software, cloud and everything-as-a-service is changing the way businesses consume and run IT, we believe passionately that people remain at the heart of how technology decisions are made.

You don’t earn credibility without people; you can’t impart the most valuable sort of knowledge. And, with managed services becoming crucial to the future of cybersecurity, you need people to back up those promises and deliver peace of mind. Once again, a core part of the Ignition proposition.

So I’m comfortable with the unthemed chaos of the cybersecurity industry, and the opportunities it throws up to work with the channel to make sense of it all, and ultimately enable and secure business transformation for end customers.

Chaos, transformation, change…? I think there might be a theme emerging after all…

Sean Remnant, Ignition Technology’s Chief Strategy Officer