RSA 2016: Key Takeaways
This year’s RSA conference was bigger than ever with more than 40,000 attendees. San Francisco buzzed with security vendors, buyers and investors as they crowded the lobbies of hotels and coffee shops with endless meetings. Being immersed in the atmosphere at RSA was both invigorating and overwhelming. It proved that while the need for cybersecurity solutions has never been more intense, so has the competition among providers.
Here are some key takeaways from the week:
- Enterprises are feeling as much heat as ever from customers, regulators and their boards, and after data breaches reached a near record high in 2015, it is clear they must do better. As a result, budget dollars are plentiful and cybersecurity startups have tremendous opportunity
- The real challenge security vendors are facing is to stay above the noise of the hundreds of competitors who are vying for the attention of the same CSOs. The question is, how will they do this? For some, the answer has been to raise large rounds of venture financing and spend aggressively on sales and marketing (sometimes doing so even before having a viable product). This isn’t sustainable and in the end there will need to be a shakeout as there are too many startups pursuing the same prize
- CSOs are striving to get better productivity out of the security solutions they have already bought and are focusing on improving the overall efficiency of the Security Operation Center (SOC). This challenge calls for orchestration between different systems and automation of certain functions so that analysts can focus on higher value activities. Combine these capabilities with sophisticated analytics to prioritize threats, and there is great promise to transform the SOC.
It is an exciting time to be investing in the cybersecurity space. The contrast between the unmet market need and the overpowering market noise is fascinating and evolving. We remain very optimistic on the market opportunity and we are focusing our efforts on identifying the emerging, underserved subsectors of cybersecurity where startups can have immediate impact as they help solve some very serious security problems. This will remain a key area of Ascent’s focus for years to come.