After an influx of high-profile data breaches, it was no surprise that the RSA Conference saw a record crowd this year of 33,000 attendees. The Moscone Center in San Francisco is a great venue and packed with attendees, over 500 vendors, 290 sessions and 700 speakers, there was no disputing the fact that if you were interested in anything related to information security, this was the place to be.
Walking amidst the sea of vendors in the North and South Halls it was easy to be simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of displays, gimmicks and swag tactics. As this was my first RSA Conference, I was very excited to see and experience the myriad of phenomenon that comes standard with any conference of this size. Some of the booth displays are seriously impressive, huge LED screens, Oculus Rift interactive displays, flashy lights and celebrity look-alikes were everywhere. The great thing about it is that every single person or vendor at the conference was working toward the same goal in some form or fashion...securing information. If you were on a mission to find a product or person to help you achieve a higher level of security for your company's specific needs, chances are you would find it here once you took the time to look. With so much going on, after a while everything starts to look the same, so you really have to pay attention or engage in conversations to figure out what most of the vendors at RSA Conference are representing.
In the slightly quieter South Hall, our booth saw significant and steady traffic throughout the conference. It was great talking to people and getting firsthand feedback on the challenges they face and the concerns they had about security for their organizations. One thing I found to be a recurring theme in these conversations was the desire for file sharing solutions that were not cloud-based. I thought that was interesting as it seemed there were 10 cloud vendors for every non-cloud vendor with a display at RSA 2015.
With the sheer volume of cloud products represented, it was nice seeing the looks on people's faces when they learned that GoAnywhere is an on-premise Managed File Transfer (MFT) product. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, "Not in the cloud? Oh good, better security." I think as more people come to realize that they are responsible for the security of their data no matter where it is stored, being able to encrypt, control and monitor that data in your own local environment becomes paramount for many.
I like analogies and when it comes to cloud vs on-premise, I personally tend to think of it in terms of storage. I can store my belongings in my home or I can pay for a space at a public storage facility. If my belongings were in a public storage facility, all it takes is someone with a lock cutter to gain access and chances are with all the traffic going in and out, it wouldn't be noticed until it's too late. Personally, I prefer storing things in my basement or attic simply because I am diligent (perhaps overly so) about my home security. Sure, there are risks in any situation, but I prefer having my belongings and risk in an environment I can completely control. If I want to add Fort Knox level security measures to make it difficult for an intruder to get in, there's nothing stopping me from doing that, it's my home after all. Given the many conversations had and overheard at this year's RSA Conference, I'm not alone in my thinking. It's astonishing how many people seemed more comfortable with the idea of their digital data staying on premise, not in the cloud. When they learn that GoAnywhere can give them the ability to send, collaborate, secure and automate data transfers on premise, it's like watching kids at a candy store. Those conversations are what makes attending these conferences so worthwhile, there is so much you can learn.
Overall, the conference was a great experience, especially for a first timer. I chatted with several people who had wonderful things to say about the sessions, networking and things that they learned and the various speakers who presented. While it might be information overload to some extent with such a big crowd and so many sessions, speakers and vendors, I thought it was a friendly,energetic and informative atmosphere. I met a ton of great people, got to chat with some customers and really learned a lot about how people can/do use our software and which features truly make their work easier. One thing is for sure, we are definitely looking forward to returning next year to the RSA Conference.