The RSA Conference comes to town

Tomorrow sees the start of the year’s RSA Conference Europe in London. As usual it’s a largely vendor oriented event, with keynotes from sponsors, rather than thought leaders, and with a focus primarily on technology solutions rather than business problems. The marketing also has a strong US flavour, such as the rather strange draft letter to your boss to help justify your attendance (though if RSA is really serious about marketing to CIOs, they should start by beefing up the rather throwaway strapline of ‘where the world talks security’).

But beyond the sales pitches and the corny advertising there are some interesting sessions and exhibits worth attending. I shall certainly be spending some time checking out the latest products to see if they can actually solve current and emerging business problems. You never know what you might uncover. In some cases, the sheer proliferation of competing products can be a barrier to further progress in solving an industry wide problem. In other cases we simply don’t have enough imagination. But what really counts is that user organisations devote some time interacting with vendors in order to bridge the yawning gap between business problems and technology solutions.

This year’s theme is Edgar Allen Poe, an excellent choice as he was not only a cryptologist but a John Wiley author. And if you happen to drop by the Wiley stand on Wednesday afternoon, you’ll find me signing books for anyone that takes up the cut price offer on my book ‘Managing the Human Factor in Information Security’. Now that’s surely a compelling reason to attend?