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RSA 2023 is officially in the books, and it was an excellent event for SimSpace. In the picture above, you can see that we had great weather, and yes, I took that picture with my phone. Attendance at RSA was reported to be over 40,000 people, 600 vendors, and 500 press and analysts. SimSpace and our booth partners Cymulate and Cyconito saw great booth traffic and had a very busy week. As I look back on the week, I have five key observations:

1. The Feds Are Here to Help

Among the many things attributed to Ronald Reagan, one of the more infamous quotes was, “The top 9 most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.” Well, I can honestly say that at RSA this year, the government was there, and they really were there to help fight threat actors and build programs to recruit and train the next generation of cyber professionals. It is rare when we can say, “...we see our tax dollars at work…” but this week was a great example of where we can get government and industry aligned and working together. SimSpace’s military-grade cyber ranges are another great example of this, and we are proud to be part of the solution.

2. Stack Optimization to Reduce Complexity

I grant you that this is a topic we're promoting, so we have some bias here, but many security teams are struggling with complexity. Security stacks often have 50+ products, and they were not all designed to work in harmony. A lesser-discussed security challenge is the misalignment and misconfiguration of security stacks. But this challenge is growing in interest and thankfully, one of the more addressable security issues.

3. M&A - “We Acquire our Next Breach”

I had several fascinating conversations surrounding M&A efforts. What struck me is how much volatility and uncertainty surround M&A efforts; my favorite quote on the topic is, “We will acquire our next breach.” If I were responsible for M&A cybersecurity efforts, I would want a side-by-side comparison of the acquisition’s tech stack and my own as they go up against sophisticated threat actors and an objective analysis of their performance. This would help answer my burning questions like “What is my acquisition’s real cybersecurity posture? Can I afford to wait for their next renewal cycle to bring their tooling in line with your organization’s, or do I need to inject my tool suite posthaste?” If I needed answers to those questions, I’d use SimSpace’s Stack Optimizer to get the ground truth about the performance of both tool stacks so I could make an informed decision about the future of both organizations.

4. Collaboration > Tools

As an industry, we like to talk about technology, but the number of CISOs and security leaders I spoke with reiterated the importance of teams of people. We tend to focus on the large number of open cybersecurity jobs, but collaboration is the real issue. Having a bunch of highly skilled, and paid individuals, is only half the solution — they also have to work well together. Team development, trust development, and collaboration are often more vital due to limited resources and the inability to add new staff. So making the staff you have more capable and effective is the next frontier in people for SecOps.

5. People Like to Meet People

I often wondered if tradeshows could recover after the pandemic, and RSA 2023 affirmed that they will. Humans require the ability to connect with other humans. The number of people I saw meet old friends and colleagues, the hugs that were shared, and the reaffirmation that trust is built by meeting face to face, having meals together, and reconnecting with people in our industry is vital was well on display at RSA. I was glad to see it, share it, and be part of it.

There is Alway Next Year

As a LA Chargers fan, there is always next year, and for SimSpace, I am glad to say we have signed up and will be back at RSA in 2024. Our industry will always have new challenges and threat actors to combat. Still, after renewing friendships and partnerships and seeing the dedication of our industry to fight the good fight, I feel good about the year ahead.

Blog byShaun Walsh
Shaun Walsh
Shaun Walsh
Shaun Walsh is the VP of Global Marketing at SimSpace. He has spent over 20 years in senior leadership positions for leading companies in the cybersecurity, cloud computing, AI and enterprise networking industries.