Tuesday, February 18, 2014

RSA Conference USA 2014 – Where the World Talks Security - March addendum at the end

Original Post

It’s that time of the year again.  Not the coming of spring, but RSA Conference USA 2014, where the world talks security.  Over 350 security vendors seeking mindshare and wallet share.  RSA San Francisco is running February 24 through 28 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.  For those who haven’t used their free pass code, too late.  http://www.rsaconference.com/events/us14

Before going, place a bet with your colleagues as to what you think the main theme will be.  Breaches and Advanced Persistent Threats may come back for a second year in a row. You may not be visiting Target as much this year. Though there is one on the same street as RSA!

This is Part 1 of Probably 3 about RSA Conference San Francisco 2014.  Don’t look for depth.  I’ll be looking more at things such as who has the best-looking booths, which booths someone on a budget can go to for   coffee, cookies.  In addition, and most importantly for some of you, what are the best tchotchkes being handed out?  

I’m not going to make it totally easy for people.  It’ll be a coin flip as to whether I just mention the tchotchke, or if I share the vendor name and booth location.

The usual suspects will be giving keynotes, it appears (sponsorship $$).  The final keynote by Stephen Colbert should be interesting.  http://www.rsaconference.com/events/us14/agenda/keynotes

For those who actual want to create a filtered list of whom to visit, the following link should be useful

One would think that vendors would take advantage of this, and possibly put in their competitors names.  I entered “Advanced Persistent Threat” and only five companies came up.  The companies - Lastline, LOGbinder, NPCore, Viewfinity, and Websense.  Sorry, companies that Gartner or Ellen Messmer  lists as being in this space that aren't showing up, you’re not going to be mentioned here.  That may put a fire in your eye, but I’m not going to do it.

For all attendees -   if you’re bringing your laptop, smartphone, or tablet to the event.  Leave them turned off as much as possible.  Install security SW before getting to the event.  If you log onto the RSA net, make sure it is the RSA network.  

It’s show time for some of the less desireables attending RSA.  Reporters at Sochi were finding their devices being attacked literally, as soon as they turned on their devices.  Remember to pack your “mdse”.

For Newbies at RSA Conference USA 2014

The attractive women (and men) working in the booth, don’t work for the company.  Any mobile numbers you received will be fake.

Wearing an “I worked with Edward Snowden” tee may get you some attention.

How many free pens and stress balls do you really need?

Are you ever going to reference or read the book that you stood in line for 20 minutes to get an autographed copy?  What’s your time value of money?

Are you really ever going to wear a tee shirt from a vendor that’s excessively big for you?

Unless you’re collecting them for other people, don’t’ bother.  Trade show vendor tee shirts will not make you a magnet.  If you must collect them (and they do fit!), promise yourself, that you’ll donate two of the ones you have at home to charity that you collected from last year’s RSA conference.

If the collateral is online, why collect it at the event?

Turning your badge backwards to collect competitive intel screams, “I work for a competitor.”  You should have gotten a free exhibitor pass and registered with that.  Did that already?  Are you wearing your booth shirt?  Busted!

If bored during a presentation, count the number of typos that appear on screen during a presentation. An alternative, sneeze or cough, every time an overused phrase or word appears.  Suggestions – leading edge, next generation, intuitive interface   plug and play, and ROI.  Has there ever been a company promoting a non-intuitive interface?  Make your own list using one of the many pens you’ve collected.

Watch one of the booth presentations where they have better tchotchkes, but require that you answer a question or be part of a group on stage.  Don’t register.  Come back later and play.  They’ll often be asking the same questions.

Go up to someone in the booth who doesn’t look like a salesperson, and ask them, “what are the top 3 or 5 things that make you better than (fill in one of their competitor’s names)?"  Go to that competitor’s booth.  Do the same thing.  Bonus points if you then return to booths and say, “Here’s what I’m being told by (fill in the blank).”  You may be given some better intel (or another pen).

On the last day of the show, do an exhibition hall sprint and collect the tchotchkes that you really want.  You probably may not even need to be scanned.

Have a good time!     Remember, you do have to justify the expense when you return to the office.  Pack those mds.


No parts 2 and 3.  Rain tempered the crowds a bit this year. The FireEye robot was nowhere to be seen.  People were lined up for a few of the keynotes.  Some helicopters were given away in drawings at booths.  The usual iPads at others.  The high tech equivalent of a fashionable women's LBD (little black dress) was given out a a number of booths, the LBT (little (actually, usually large or extra large) little black tee.   One give out read, "Life's a Breach", another read "We take the a** out of passwords.

Products in booths seemed to be more evolutionary rather than revolutionary  in nature.

A suggestion  to the RSA people and the presentation theatres in the exhibition halls.  A 42" monitor doesn't cut it when there are over 10 rows of people seating.  In a living room setting, 42" is ideal for sitting about 5 to 7 feet from the screen. Not good for reading multi line, multi font size presentations!  Open the top floor of the South Exhibition hall (not where the exhibits are) on the first day of the keynotes at the same time as the keynotes are given . Some people want to work rather than attend  the first two keynotes. And.....it was raining.  

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