Real cloud and other themes at RSA Conference 2011

Last week it was the annual RSA Conference. Over the years this event grow up to be a lot more than just and RSA Inc event and transformed into an information security gathering. This year it was the 20th anniversary of the event and there was a touching moment when Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman, the inventors of RSA algorithm and the founders of RSA Inc, received a well deserved life-time achievement reward. I felt owner to be there in person as part of the crowd and see these three legends talk and describe their invention.

In vents like this I always search for continuation over the years. It is interesting to search for companies that received a lot of attention last year and see what is going with them today. Same for major themes, it is interesting to look back at last year, understand the last year hype and go to this year’s event trying to see if any prediction materialized, understand the difference in tones,  and so on. In terms of companies, most of the hyped companies from the last few years, did not make it to this year top companies, I will not mention names but some companies got acquired (and the acquiring entity is not as focussed as the original smaller), some of them simply lost attention (even if their business is taking off) and some of them repositioned themselves to take advantage of current trends.

Last year the biggest trend was about the promise of the cloud. Every major company tried to convinced us that they are series about the cloud and many smaller companies were stating that they are build from the ground-up to be cloud friendly.

This year the hype of the cloud continued. It was clear even at the first keynote on the first day. Arthur Coviello session was titled “Trust in the Cloud: Proof Not Promises” and it was right on in terms of the message – last year it was all about the promise this year it is all about the proof. And for me that was the main theme of the conference. Vendors’ hard-selling that unlike the other vendors, for them the cloud is real and they have proof points to demonstrate that.

In reality, it seems that while the customers are really adopting cloud technologies in larger and larger volumes, the major security vendors (as well as most of the smaller vendors) are lagging behind. They are still looking for how to take their massive investment of on-premise software and magically move it to the cloud. This is clearly an opportunity for smaller vendors to disrupt the information security and reinvent in, addressing portions of the information security challenge in a much simpler way delivering faster return on investment and addressing much broader communities of customers.

A second trend was about securing the virtual data center. VMWare is continuing with their message about the stages of virtuallization, trying to push more of the private cloud vs. the public cloud and a herd of vendors (including by the way RSA) are trying to capitalize from the smaller bites VMWare is leaving. In this regards VMWare project Horizon and the acquisition of TriCipher are interesting and also have some implications on their sibling company RSA.

Additional trend to note this year and that is expected to grow next year and beyond is the impact of consumer technologies on the new enterprise. This is mainly referencing social networks and mobile technologies and the intersection of this with the enterprise security. Cisco session on the subject was interesting and there were other sessions and demos interesting as well.


Author: dave

Consider myself kid in soul and naive by choice. I am interested in people, technology and business and thrive when they all work together. My favorite quote and motto is that “You can fool some people some times but you cant fool all the people all the time” ― Bob Marley

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