EVENTS

5 Things They Didn’t Tell You About RSA Conference 2020

There’s no doubt about it: the RSA Conference 2020 is where the world talks security. As the biggest event in cybersecurity, it attracts nearly 50,000 participants each year, including many of the biggest names in the industry.

With this year’s conference just around the corner (February 24-28, 2020) there’s a lot to be excited about.

It’s a chance to learn about cutting-edge technologies, a time to meet a wealth of new contacts, and a time to enjoy the many parties and events that happen throughout the week.

RSA really is what you make it — the choice is yours!

As a veteran attendee, here’s a few tips I’ve discovered over the years for getting the most out of the event and having a great time while you do it:


1. Be sure to pace yourself.

Attending the many sessions and keynotes throughout the week is really the bread and butter of any trip to RSA.

With more than 500 sessions and 700 vendors at RSA Conference 2020, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out quickly. So make sure to pace yourself and prioritize what will benefit you most.

No matter what your specialty is, you’re likely to find a session that will fit your exact niche or interest, but it’s also good to diversify. RSA is not only a great chance to learn from thought leaders who are pushing the envelope in your field, but its also a chance to get great insight into other avenues of the cybersecurity industry you may not be as familiar with.

Remember, that the best connections at any conference are usually made in the hallways in between sessions, so make sure and give yourself some space between events to wander the area, browse the expo floor and meet with other attendees.


2. Make sure you take advantage of all the free stuff.

Speaking of browsing the expo floor, exploring the 700+ Vendor booths can be a great way to find out about new technologies, speak face-to-face with potential partners and to rack up plenty of fun, free swag.

But if silly (i.e. awesome) promo items aren’t your cup of tea, there’s also plenty of other great freebies to be had throughout the week.

Whether it’s free coffee and breakfast treats outside the center each morning, free food at events like RSA After Hours or complimentary drinks at events like the Expo Pub Crawl, there’s no reason not to take advantage of all the freebies RSA has to offer.

This week is also a great chance to catch up with friends in the industry for some coffee, grab lunch with your sales contacts or sit down and hash out the details of a new project with your partners over a fancy dinner.


3. The nightlife is worth the price of admission.

Going to RSA just for the conference is kind of like to going to the Super Bowl just for the game (… sorry to all my fellow 49ers fans for bringing it up).

What REALLY makes the RSA Conference great for many attendees are the events and parties outside of the conference that offer a chance to get out of work mode and into fun-mode.

Getting out and talking nerdy with other cybersecurity professionals in a relaxed environment can help you create connections and further relationships that will personally and professionally pay off down the road.

The parties hosted by Cisco and BugCrowd are always huge — like 30-minute wait to get in outside in the rain, huge — while events like the CyBEER Ops Networking, CYBERTACOS offer a fun, themed alternative.

One event I’ll definitely be attending this year is the PulseSecure RSA Party at 3rd Street Taproom, from 7-10 p.m. on Wednesday February 26. Click here to register and come introduce yourself while you’re in town (I’m the one with the mohawk.)


4. Don’t forget to go outside.

There really is no place quite like San Francisco. Whether you’re a first-timer or an RSA veteran, taking in a bit of the beauty that’s just outside the conference is a nice change of pace.

The best place to do this is nearby Yerba Buena Gardens.

Hit the doors of the Moscone Center and venture down Howard Street to find an escape of green space, gardens, public art, restaurants, and a relaxing atmosphere. Take a walk, read a book, or browse some of San Francisco’s coolest public art like the Green Glass Ship, Genesis, and Shaking Man — with free admission.

The park is open daily from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

In the hustle and bustle of a major conference like RSA Conference 2020, taking 15 minutes to reconnect with nature and take in the finer things in life can be just the reset you need to before jumping back into the grind.


5. You should definitely check out the RSA Innovation Sandbox.

This is definitely one of the coolest events at all of RSA.

The RSA Innovation Sandbox Contest is is where some of the most-promising and most-interesting emerging security technologies to showcase their innovations.

Now in its 15th year, the sandbox features companies innovating in the areas of data access visibility, employee security risk, and phishing attacks, among many others.

Each of the 10 finalists will present a three-minute pitch on-stage, then will have a round of question-and-answers and will run a demo of the technology for a panel of judges.

Previous winners in the sandbox competition include Axonius in 2019, BigID in 2018, UnifyID in 2017, with other notable companies like Imperva and Phantom also having won the competition.

About Usman Khan

Managing partner Usman Khan has more than 15 years experience in the security field specializing in Identity management consulting, access management consulting, managed security services, security of internal and externally facing enterprise systems. He is a graduate of Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania and is a former security architect at IBM Global Services.

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