RSA 2020 – Trends from the Partner Floor

What I saw among hundreds of booths

At RSA this year, I once again canvassed the partner floor to see if I could spot any trends. While a lot of smart people were talking during the sessions, I find that the booths illustrate where buyers and sellers are placing their bets, so to speak. Believe it or not, I canvassed approximately 270 (!!) separate vendor booths during RSA, stopping either when I didn’t understand what they were selling (which was sadly too often – usually a combination of bad marketing or a bad booth design) or if I personally found it interesting for our business or our clients. I did this same thing 4 years ago, so I also got to see some change in a few years.

With that backdrop, here is what struck me the most…the most popular, the changes, and what seems to be dwindling:

  • Popular:
    • By over 2:1 in booths, more vendors were focused on endpoints, unstructured data, and people versus networks and firewalls
    • Does that mean the network is secure enough, the market is mature, or that the battlefront has shifted? We believe it’s the latter.
  • Threat Hunting, SecDevOps software, and Vendor Risk Management were newer entries with multiple booths
    • I had no entries on these categories from 4 years ago
  • In just 2 years, some of the biggest names are virtually gone in the space and there are some that have carved out a new prominent name for themselves. (KnowBe4 – one of my personal favorites from a few years back).
  • GRC booths were rather popular, with almost 20 different vendors helping customers with their compliance needs
  • Changes
    • SOAR added to SIEM – I didn’t see SOAR mentioned at all from 4 years ago
    • CASB and Cloud Security Market seems to have consolidated quite a bit, with fewer vendors and bigger booths
    • I probably missed it, but there are a lot of threat intel companies, and I didn’t recognize ANY of them from just a few years ago
  • Going, Going, Gone?
    • Firewalls…where have you gone?? Network security as we knew it just a few years back has been replaced by Edge and Endpoint security, including IoT. This is a direct correlation with the growth of Identity Management
    • Speaking of disappearing act, physical tokens are virtually gone. In fact, other than a badging system, I didn’t see any.
      • Granted, I didn’t stop at the RSA booth, ironically. Not sure they still make them to be honest
    • VPN – 2 booths

Granted, all of the information above is anecdotal from my conversations, I do find that conversations in the trenches are as valuable as insights from on-high. I also like where we, Ascent, have placed our bets – we appear to be pacing the industry well which puts us in a great place for our customers and partners.