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RSA Security Conference 2019 Highlights

Trends in 2019 for cybersecurity according to the show floor at the RSA Security Conference

Before you doubt my capacity to speak in any authoritative voice to the theme of this year’s RSAC, I feel pretty confident being able to do so after having sat down in forty-nine briefings with vendors from Monday-Friday that each lasted 30 minutes long. So before you think “why should I believe Alissa on what she thinks was the takeaways from this year’s RSA?” Well… in the memorable words of Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign.”

If you read my Top 10 Trends in Cybersecurity for 2019 report at Aite Group,well then, I pretty much nailed it if the show floor at RSAC is in any way indicative of the overall trends we’ll see in cybersecurity controls in 2019.

If you’re only looking to read the first few paragraphs of this article than stop after this paragraph. The words I’d describe for trends in cybersecurity in 2019 as a takeaway from this year’s RSAC is automation, AI, data, removing the human, and frictionless. Today’s cybersecurity titans and venture backed startups are increasingly attempting to implement more automation into their solutions and machine learning in order to make them smart enough to rely less and less on human interaction, critical thinking, and response. If we are to learn from history lest we repeat it, humans are indeed fallible and the vendors hawking their latest wares at RSAC is more than an indication that they are increasingly being removed from the logjam of events to rely more on the technology itself for decision-making based on system and network telemetry — escalating fewer and fewer events up to the 8th layer of the OSI (read: humans).

While many vendors are catching on to making sure the latest buzzwords such as “machine learning and AI or zero false positives” were all but removed from their booth designs from last year, they have certainly been replaced by the new marketing bandwagon of “zero trust.”


As a follow-up to my previous article on building the Zero Trust (ZT) enterprise, I’ll be releasing a new article soon that above all, will make sure to convey the fact that ZT is nothing more than a colloquial term that refers to things we’ve historically always (or should have been) doing on both the endpoint and network, such as multi-factor authentication, authorization, encryption, and network segmentation. But as I always say “let them play.” If coining a new term to refer to something that was historically a verbal vomit of acronyms and disjointed security control categories from the network to the endpoint, then so be it. If you can say something in two words like “zero trust” as opposed to 10 or 20, great. Work smart, not hard. I just turned forty, life is short.

But I digress on the ZT debate. Having said that, in addition to ML and AI being used to move us away from pattern-matching detection; companies on the show floor certainly justify my belief that indeed, SIEM is quickly becoming legacy as security orchestration and response (SOAR) and security analytics solutions move in to relegate them to the status of the red headed stepchild that CISOs don’t want.

In addition to the new industrial revolution happening in the security event monitoring space with SOAR and security analytics platforms, API security and mobile application security is without contestation a serious concern for CISOs that many vendors (both new and old) are quickly attempting to bring solutions to market for. Leading this charge are companies, such as Arxan who offer app shielding solutions for both mobile and web applications in an attempt to address the threat of mobile app decompiling and web app threats, such as Magecart as well as device authentication solutions, such as