The lead-up to RSAC 2020 has been interesting to say the least. IBM made a decision to exempt its employees from the event due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic; days later, RSA was acquired by a private equity firm, and there’s only a few days left before the event as this goes live.

First, a disclaimer . . . if I see you at the event, I’m not going to shake your hand, fist-bump, or bump elbows (especially because that last one sounds like a euphemism for something that inevitably ends in us sitting down with HR). Let’s respect the fact that there’s a global pandemic raging with wildly misreported numbers and a double-barreled seasonal flu outbreak occurring at the same time and not touch each other.

Here’s what I’m dreading — and looking forward to — at RSAC 2020:

  • I’m dreading the endless hellscape of boom mics and flashy lights that is the show floor. I used to love the show floor; I’d carve out time every year for a walk-through. Then in-booth presentations, boom mics, and swag lotteries took over, and now the show floor is a slog as I try to tune out the cacophony of vendors that sound more like televangelists, auctioneers, and hucksters than companies that cater to serious security pros with problems to solve.
  • The talks and Innovation Sandbox, as always, make it worth attending. For all my gripes about the din of iniquity of the show floor, the content committee has once again created an agenda that makes RSAC worth attending. The agenda includes plenty of talks with/led by practitioners, which was my main criterion in selecting sessions, and for every time slot, I could select at least two talks I want to attend. I’m not going to list every session, in part because RSAC’s website doesn’t make that easy. And Innovation Sandbox is always an excellent event, regardless of who wins. Speaking of talks . . . what’s up with not being able to export your RSAC agenda to your calendar app (whether Outlook or Gmail)? Does that option not exist? I don’t want to turn this into a tutorial, but either I missed this or it doesn’t exist . . .
  • Meeting new folks face to face and the reunions! I’m fortunate in that I get to have conversations with TONS of people via voice and occasionally video but not always in person. I’m excited about the new folks I’ll get to meet who I’ve spoken with, and it’s always great to connect with former colleagues from Forrester and other past lives. That’s always a great use of time. For Forrester clients, I’ll be at our meet and greet and moderating our panel on the top security recommendations for 2020 with Sandy Carielli, Alla Valente, Brian Kime, and Heidi Shey.

I’ll be hanging out at Moscone West quite a bit; that’s where many of the talks I want to see will take place. If you see me there, or at our Forrester meet and greet, please say hello — while respecting the “pandemicovid19flu” greeting procedures and bubble I mentioned above! Stay safe, use hand sanitizer, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face!