As the third edition of RSA Conference Asia Pacific and Japan drew to a close on July 24 in Singapore, I was struck by how nuanced the security conversations are getting in the Asian region. While keynote speakers here may have asserted a broad need to re-imagine fundamental assumptions in security today, experts and researchers in the conference sessions offered in-depth studies of the dynamic changes taking place in the threat landscape.
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Targeted attacks, next generation platforms like mobile and IoT, Information sharing, analytics in security and increasingly mature governance best-practices are just some of the topics that received focused attention at the RSA APJ conference. There was also an emphasis on infrastructure security and an increasing realization of just how dependent the Asian economies and societies are becoming on technology - and by extension, the security community, to secure this technological sprawl. [See: Staying Ahead of Cybercrime]
Asia may need to go beyond what may have worked in more developed markets, as a lot of the developments happening here are unique or, in some cases, even ahead of the west.
Policy was a much discussed topic as well. Many of the attendees agree that Asian economies are feeling the pressure from their increasing cyber exposure, and policy is going to be at the forefront of security conversations. There is a sense that Asia may need to go beyond what may have worked in more developed markets, as a lot of the developments happening here are unique or, in some cases, even ahead of the west. [See: Asia Needs Resilient Cyber Defense]
Takeaways and Observations
You can read some of my takeaways from day one of the event here. Days two and three saw some interesting keynotes and a slew of engaging sessions across the conference tracks. Attendees shared with me how satisfied they were the quality of the sessions over that of the keynotes, as these had more takeaways for practical application. Some attendees I spoke to say that there is a need in this market to get the fundamentals of security right, and conferences such RSA must address this specific need.
"It might be the un-sexy part of security, but the basics of security need to be actively addressed in this region," a session speaker told ISMG. The conference itself seems to have been well received, and the expo floor was very popular. According to estimates shared by the organizers, over 3500 people attended RSA APJ this year, from across this region. Singapore being a regional hub for commerce, it was interesting to see the mix of global executives from huge security brands, and local expertise from the region - sharing both the micro and the macro perspectives. However, I feel we could have done with deeper insights into the Asian security market.
One of the activities that received a lot of attention was the RSA innovation sandbox competition, which saw security startups compete against each other. The sandbox is aimed at regional innovation and providing startups a platform to showcase their security products to the world. This year, data security startup SODA won, for its no frills approach to data privacy issues.
It was certainly an eventful conference, and I had the chance to meet with many new faces. However, even as the conference scales up in this region, my take is that it needs to go beyond its product-centric flavor and expand on the knowledge-sharing and community platform piece. This is of course my personal opinion, but the fact is that the Asian security market - while it is growing rapidly - needs the commensurate grown in maturity and thought leadership to chart the right course. [See: Moving Beyond the Buzzwords
I am looking forward to RSA Abu Dhabi in November this year. In the meantime, we will continue to bring you more analysis and features connected to some of the discussions we witnessed at RSA. Please share your RSA experience with us. What do you think can be done better at future events?