Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top 5 observations at the mid-point of RSA week

Top 5 observations at the mid-point of RSA week, or what seems to be themed NG RSA:

1. One of the fun events of RSA week happens before the show commences – the Innovation Sandbox. This event, in its second year, features 10 young companies, each staffing a small demo station and then presenting their idea on stage to a panel of judges and the audience. This year's winner was Invincea for their secure browser protection. The Innovation Sandbox experience also has a very cool idea of “speed dating” where aspiring entrepenuers get a few minutes to pitch their idea with an experienced VC. That is the kind of networking activity that made the RSA Conference famous back in the 90’s and it is awesome to see the return to supporting new innovative ideas. I recommend that every “A” round security company enter the competition next year.

2. Cisco is back to tackling big security problems with the unveiling of SecureX, their next generation security architecture. SecureX applies context gathered from network traffic and the presence of more than 150 million VPN agents to make smarter security decisions in Cisco devices. Cisco needs some help articulating a vision of how SecureX will change the life of security, IT and networking teams but there is a ton of potential and I think of this more as an exciting start for 2011.

3. According to Quest Software, “One in ten IT Professionals (10%) admit that they have accounts from previous jobs where they can still access systems even after they’ve left the organization.” For years the industry believed that Single Sign-On would be a big productivity gain by making it easier for users to connect to applications, and perhaps reduce service desk calls by reducing the number of passwords to be managed. However, perhaps the ability to easily de-provision user accounts with a single click will provide incentive for security teams to look more closely at SSO (and to be worried less about losing “the keys to the kingdom”).

4. Symantec was the company that perhaps has given me the greatest positive surprise this week with the performance and virtualization enhancements announced in SEP 12 . It is great to see companies like Symantec and Trend Micro getting out ahead of the curve when it comes to leveraging virtualization and the cloud. Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 has significant improvements based on their Insight intelligence that will keep Symantec a force for some time. The following chart is snipped out of AV Comparatives real world testing report – I have not had time to read the report for bias, but however you cut it these numbers look good for Symantec.

5. Lumension is doing some nice integration work with device discovery, application whitelisting, anti-virus, and patching features. It is very clear to me that some form of whitelisting is an essential layer of defense – it just makes too much sense to look one way while signature approaches look in the other (or vice-versa). Integrating the capabilities into an end-to-end system can fundamentally help the way IT manages endpoints and conducts incident response investigations.

I have to say that this has been an excellent week at RSA. The only real complaints are the weather – rain, cold and overall yuck – and the fact that every booth has to have “cloud” or “next generation” in its signage. Must be some sort of RSA Conference zoning regulation for booth rentals.

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