RSA: It’s kind of a big deal. At Offleash, we’ve had the privilege of working with some of the hottest, most innovative brands in cybersecurity over the years (security companies make up nearly one-third of our client portfolio!) Security is in our DNA.
This year’s theme was “Stronger Together,” a mantra that played out throughout the conference not only at Moscone, but beyond. Before we dive into how the theme resonated, let’s look at some of the key topics that dominated conversations.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are everywhere.
Our security team attended the “Innovation Sandbox,” a competition featuring ten startups working to solve some of the biggest challenges in cybersecurity. Each company had just three minutes to present to a panel of five judges, American Idol style. Although the ideas were diverse, AI or ML were either at the core of, or a part of, the business model for each company.
The winner, HiddenLayer, kicked off their presentation by sharing a deep fake video of the CEO saying not to vote for HiddenLayer. Clearly the CEO would never actually say that, yet it looked as close to real as you can get. Their product is built to secure AI and ML technologies, keeping the algorithms and proprietary technologies secure.
This was just one of the many companies at RSA focused on AI and ML. With the recent maturity of these technologies, particularly generative AI, watching the conference exhibit so many real-world applications of AI very much brought the future into focus.
APIs are having a moment.
Application programming interface (APIs) have been in use for decades but in recent years, they’ve moved from an afterthought to the forefront of security. Offleash client Noname Security was on the show floor demoing their API security solution after announcing partnerships with not one, not two, but three major companies the week before and during RSA. APIs were a hot topic for many vendors—not just those providing API security solutions—as there’s an increased need to assess and monitor for threats in code.
Security and dev teams are continuing to work better together.
Another central theme at RSA was the relationship between developers and security teams. Each have very different focuses and goals, yet they need to work together to drive innovation, while also maintaining security. Bridging that gap while allowing both developers and security teams to be successful came up in several conversations.
In addition to these trends, a few other themes jumped out during my conversations with colleagues, clients, and attendees.
Nothing beats being in-person.
I’ve worked at Offleash for just under a year and a half, and although I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of my colleagues, RSA presented an opportunity to connect with many clients and prospects for the first time. The energy created from spending time in-person is unbeatable.
With conference attendance back up to pre-pandemic numbers, all that in-person time creates a challenge: How to get attendees to your booth. It was fun to see some of the creative ways companies attracted conference-goers.
Booth neighbors and Offleash clients Rubrik and Uptycs came up with some clever ways to draw people to their booths. Uptycs featured a “nerd wall” filled with memorabilia and merchandise sourced from local SF comic store Mission Comics. They leaned into the superhero theme by handing out superhero capes and even having actor Dean Cain, who played Superman in the TV series, at the booth. Rubrik had its own celebrity guest in attendance: 49ers Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
Our client Code42 took an eye-catching approach, with those staffing its booth wearing light-up sneakers. A handful of other companies had unique giveaways—everything from Taylor Swift tickets to a motorcycle. The show floor can be hectic, and it takes something special to grab attendees’ attention.
Networking happens everywhere.
One of my favorite memories from RSA week was riding in an elevator on my way to a co-working space away from the noise of RSA and striking up a conversation. An industry VC, we quickly learned that we had quite a bit in common on the work front and planned to connect post-conference. Yes, being within ten minutes of a major tech conference in San Francisco increases the likelihood these types of conversations will take place, but I can’t help but appreciate these serendipitous moments.
We truly are stronger together.
RSA is not only a wonderful opportunity to network and introduce products, but also a way to make a bigger impact. One example of this is Offleash client Armis Security, who exemplified the theme of “Stronger Together” by making donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital on behalf of every badge scanned.
Cheesy as it sounds, the theme of the conference stuck with me both at RSA and now that I’m back home. From meeting with agency partners who flew in from the UK, to connecting a client with an analyst at the booth, RSA felt incredibly normal, an experience that reminded me of what a strong community we have in technology and that we truly are stronger together.