RSA Conference: Trends Shaping the Future of Security

Actimize FMC Product Team, Financial Markets Compliance

Like many other tech pundits, I think it’s worth chiming in on the trends that emanated from the RSA Conference held recently in San Francisco. As one of the security industry’s most influential events, this year’s show revealed a number of unexpected twists on where the industry is – or might be – heading:

  • The perimeter isn’t dying; it’s dead and no one remembered to bury it. Seriously, perimeter-based security has become an anachronism so quickly that I think many organizations are still adjusting to this new reality. And while I don’t think this means that perimeter security should end (this would literally be catastrophic for most organizations), this realization is something that I think many are still struggling with and trying to re-calibrate around, particularly mid-sized organizations.
  • The security / compliance space is simply booming: This year’s show was massive. I heard numerous people commenting on this fact. The hotels, restaurants, and sidewalks around the event were jam-packed and I heard multiple times that the number of vendors displaying their wares was also pretty overwhelming to some people. If size predicts business health and spending, then this confirmed that the security/compliance industry is indeed booming.
  • Biometrics are here to stay: Whether it’s your voice, iris, face, finger, or some other part of your body, biometrics seems to have hit their stride this year. They are no longer vilified or considered research projects. More and more vendors are coming out with innovative ways to use these technologies in real-life consumer applications, and more and more institutions are adopting them. I think it would be fair to say that the fingerprint sensors that have existed on Lenovo laptops for many years and now Touch ID on Apple’s iOS devices, has made the average consumer comfortable with this technology in ways that few truly understood 5 or 10 years ago. Look for more products and services to incorporate biometrics in the coming year.
  • DLP might be making a comeback: Data Loss Prevention technology has been around for a long time. But in perhaps the most surprising lesson learned from this year’s conference, DLP appears to have resurfaced with new technological approaches, new combinations of technologies, and new capabilities. To me, this was one of the biggest surprises of the show.
  • Mobile security confuses people: Despite the fact that basically everyone you know carries around a mobile device (or 2 or 3 of them) everywhere they go, it might seem surprising that so few seem to have a strong grasp of the mobile security landscape. Yes, while there were some cool demos to see this year, and a number of products have been on the market for a few years already, we’re still in the early days of understanding how significant mobile theft / hacking / fraud is going to become to our economies and to our lives. More innovation is clearly needed here as well.

With just a few short days spent pounding the pavement and hallways of this year’s RSA Conference, it’s become difficult to see everything, but I came away from this year’s event with a strong sense of security –pun entirely intended! While there may be some gaps that need to be filled, the main takeaways from this year’s show are that (1) the security industry is thriving, (2) innovation is keeping things exciting, and (3) yet more unexpected surprises will re-emerge at next year’s show as potential game-changers on both our business and personal lives.


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