After all the build-up, another RSA has come and gone — proving there’s still more about cybersecurity that all 45,000 of us attendees want to discuss and learn! John Raffetto and I each had fully-packed schedules, zooming between meetings, sessions, receptions, dinners and one-on-ones while trying to get Uber to find us in the crowds. Thankfully we had snacks from the Tenable donut wall to keep us going.

I wanted to share a few of my observations from the 2019 conference from the perspective of a cybersecurity pr firm:

Trish Rimo at RSA

Cyber Women Are Here

Kristina Bergman, CEO of Integris SoftwareWhile still just a sliver of the attendees, women upped their presence this year. Monday featured Integris Software CEO Kristina Bergman offering tips and guidance for start-ups and entrepreneurs; she was surrounded by questioners after her talk with the CEO of Veracode.

Then came a three-hour session on “She Speaks Security,” providing nuts and bolts advice to women on getting themselves accepted as speakers. Highlights included Andrea Little-Limbago of virtru and the inimitable Joyce Brocaglia, head of the Executive Women’s Forum.

A Women’s Leadership Reception closed out the Monday events, with another women’s meet and greet taking place Wednesday. And Tal Rabin of IBM won the award for Excellence in the Field of Mathematics.

Deep Fakes and Old-Fashioned Hunting

McAfee’s Steve Grobman and Celeste Fralick gave a fascinating demonstration of deep fakes, illustrating how AI can be used for good or for ill. As one of two main sponsors of RSA, McAfee’s presence was everywhere, and I cooled my heels at their booth more than once.

Tenable co-sponsored an invitation-only public sector day featuring the director of NIST and offering those both working and interested in the public sector an opportunity to learn and network. Intel’s booth was amazing, displaying various aspects of the company’s broad capabilities. They also offered welcome margaritas late on Tuesday afternoon, prompting envious attendees to ask yours truly, “Where did you get that?!”

Amidst the ultra high-tech displays, it was a great diversion to find Cybereason’s booth, which was a simulation of a hunting lodge, replete with a video about hunting bears. Something about it really worked for me, and I easily made the jump from bear hunting to threat hunting. Way to go, Cybereason!

Privacy? Not Quite Yet

2019 is supposed to be the year of privacy. If a federal privacy bill doesn’t become law this year, I predict we will at least coalesce on what needs to happen to get a bill passed in 2020. Yet make no mistake about it: RSA is still a cybersecurity conference. While there were a couple of high-level sessions on privacy, by and large you wouldn’t know privacy was a hot issue by attending the show.

There was one big exception — the cryptographer’s panel. Tal Rabin spoke of technologies that combine privacy and security – as they should. Others on the panel spoke to privacy also. And of course, Kristina Bergman’s company, Integris, provides data privacy automation. In 2020, I predict we’ll see more sessions on data privacy technology – and possibly the integration of privacy and security.

Until then, we’ll be working the combination at RH Strategic, and getting ready to spend even more time at RSA 2020!


RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare markets.