“I’m Getting Better!” Getting Beyond the Monty Python Approach to Network Security at this year’s RSA Conference

Another RSA Conference is upon us. The theme this year is “Better.”

I’m sure (or at least hopeful) the person who came up with this theme was a Monty Python fan. The cybersecurity industry continued to take hits this past year, and I think many of us felt the media was channeling Eric Idle asking to “bring out your dead” and insisting things were not getting better.

We are in a new era where “better” will still include numerous breaches. And we’ll be numb to the news, but hopefully, we will have better privacy protections around our identity and personal security around our financial and personal data. Breaches will continue, but the question is, can we limit the damage?

The messaging in the security industry can tend to be hyper-focused on how we use technology to respond to potential threats. Despite the sometimes-sensational headlines, as we look at the chatter around this year’s RSA, there are some key themes that are set to drive messaging and announcements around the show.

Whether it’s the new buzzword or a new IT operating model, every security professional is feeling the pressure to keep up with the business. DevOps teams are taking offerings to market and putting pressure on security teams with constant provisioning and changes. Security guardrails for developers and security at speed will be with us as security teams have to transform to meet these new industry norms.

Cloud Security
Cloud adoption is full speed ahead. According to our 2018 State of the Firewall Report, 53% of companies have either partially or fully adopted a public and/or hybrid cloud model. The reality is that most companies have multiple network security devices and the cloud is introducing more tools that teams must manage. When trying to ensure compliance with internal and regulatory standards, companies will have their hands full trying to ensure policy is consistent across platforms. To learn more about our recommendations for this, check out this webinar by our VP of Technology Alliances, Tim Woods.

The biggest issue in the industry is the lack of skilled and experienced security talent. Another reality is that a lot of point tools have been purchased and there aren’t enough people to manage them. Nearly every company at the show will be discussing automation, orchestration and new technology integrations. Orchestration and remediation are where many companies are hanging their hat, and we will see further industry consolidation over the next few years as companies quit selling products and start selling solutions.

Make sure to catch up with us at the FireMon booth (#443 in the South Hall). We’d love to share how we’re thinking about these trends and how we can help you stay in front of them.

The “Where should I eat and drink” Section

My biggest advice for anyone visiting San Francisco is to get out of the areas that most conference goers will be and explore other neighborhoods in the city. Here are a few spots I like to go to in some of my favorite neighborhoods (a few I used to live in).




Nopalito is an awesome Mexican offshoot of longtime SF standard Nopa (BTW, also amazing). Upscaled Mexican cuisine at a reasonable price and organic, sustainable, blah, blah, blah. It’s just good. Get the carnitas and wash it down with a margarita…or two. There are two locations.


The Progress


Along with their other project, State Bird Provisions, going to the Fillmore to eat is now a must-do. It’s probably too late to book a reservation, but you might get lucky. They recently picked up a Michelin star. It’s not hard to see why. Great menu. I like the ham and cheese roti or the squid ink noodles, but you probably can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Ask for what’s good and get a family-style platter.

Russian Hill

House of Prime Rib


It’s so old school, it’s already come and gone from the days of trendy because it’s so old school. Yes, Bourdain visited there, along with every other TV food show person because it’s good. It is a standard. And, don’t you want to be one of the snobby people who said they’ve been there too? Don’t overthink it. Get the House of Prime Rib cut, Yorkshire pudding and the creamed spinach. Confess to your friends you’ll work out in the morning before going to the conference.

The Beer Section

Magnolia Brewing


Starting in 1997 in a cozy Upper Haight location, Magnolia focused on English ales. With the craft beer boom, they’ve expanded into a wide range of eccentric beers. There is a new Dogpatch location, but I still go to the old pub for good grub and ales.

21st Amendment


Closer in to the conference, 21st Amendment has also been around awhile. They have upped their distribution and their beers can be found across the Bay in every grocery store. The blood orange IPA is a standard in my beer fridge as an easy drinking summer beer. Fun bar/food scene that can be pretty lively any day of the week. Maybe I will see you there.