Adaptive Segmentationmicro-segmentation February 19, 2016

A Practitioner's Guide to Getting the Most Out of RSA 2016

John Donovan,

RSA Conference 2016 is just around the corner, and the Illumio team has been buzzing around getting ready. I’ve been doing some research to decide on my schedule for the conference, and thought I’d share some thoughts on how security practitioners can get the most out of the busy week. 

Getting a Pass

First things first, you need to get there! If you already have a pass, you can skip ahead to my three-pronged approach to getting the most out of the conference.

Looking for access to the Expo? Many of the best conversations at conferences happen outside of sessions. Instead they happen in the hallways, on the expo floor, or outside the walls of the conference hall. For a free expo pass, register using Illumio’s code (XELLUMIO16). 

Want to attend the full conference? Many organizations will help you get a discounted full pass if you don’t have one already. For instance, if you are an ISSA International member you can find discount codes here.

Once you have your discount code, head over to the site and register before you run out of time.

Concurrent and related events

Tickets for the Security B-Sides SF event are currently on sale. They’re also looking for volunteers.

If you’re a CISO or exec-level security practitioner, the ISSA CISO Executive forum meets the weekend before RSA, but you’ll need to register by Feb. 22. is hosting the 3rd annual Wine-ing (not whining!) event on Monday evening, Feb. 29, at Jillian’s. You can register to attend this Illumio-sponsored event here. 

My three-pronged approach to getting the most out of RSA

1. Plan your sessions

If you’re attending the full conference, I recommend that you anchor your days with a few key sessions. Then, pick a few alternatives so you can duck out if your first choice doesn’t look like it’s what you want.

If you’re attending as part of a group from your company, have your team branch out and then meet back up at breaks during the day. Here are a couple suggestions to get your planning ideas going:

  • Are you a new leader in Information and Cybersecurity? Check out this seminar on Surviving as a Security Leader.
  • Looking to connect your DevOps and Security teams? Register them for the 2nd Annual DevOps Connect: Rugged DevOps.
  • Want to geek out with the hard-core crypto guys? Attend the Cryptographers' Panel for a luminary panel discussion that includes Whitfield Diffie and two of the guys whose initials are in “RSA”.
  • Want to see a lot in one space? Check out “The Sandbox”. Last year this was the start of several good conversations for me.
  • Finally, check out some of the other “conference” guides for session ideas—on the RSA Conference blog or elsewhere.

2. Chart a course for the expo floor

The Expo floor has continued to expand with the growth of the conference. While it’s not as big as some of the giant Las Vegas shows, it definitely helps to have a plan when tackling the Expo floor.

3. Network and socialize

  • Catch up with someone from out of town or a local you haven’t talked with recently. People come from all over the world for the RSA Conference. Look up a friend or colleague and get together. Walk the expo floor together or grab a cup of Blue Bottle coffee or catch some dollar oysters at a SOMA happy hour. Head together to one of the vendor events or parties (more on that below).
  • Find your peers. I’m active in the information security community, both here in the Bay Area and beyond. Groups like the ISSA (Silicon Valley and San Francisco chapters), ISACA, CSA, and InfraGuard all have events going on during RSA. If you’re in ISSA or interested, RSVP and attend the international members meeting and reception on Wednesday, March 2. [Full disclosure, I’m past president of the ISSA Silicon Valley chapter.] 
  • Finally, get out there and socialize. If you’re a customer contact for Information Security vendors, your inbox is probably filled with invites to parties. Make sure to RSVP, as some parties require confirmed RSVP and have long lines. If your dance card is not already full, check out the @RSAParties Twitter account. Follow the instructions to get yourself on the RSVP list. Securosis continues to have one of my favorite open events: the “Recovery Party” on Thursday morning

I’ll see you there!

Drop me a line or tweet me @idjohn if you are attending. If this post was useful to you, stop by the Illumio booth and let the team know.


Adaptive Segmentationmicro-segmentation
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