Previewing the 2024 RSA Conference

Erik Bradley | ETR Research 

| March 15, 2024

Have you heard? ETR is heading to RSA, and after taking a few years off following the COVID-19 pandemic, we couldn't be more excited to attend the premier security event of the year. RSA is not just another vendor exposition; the conference is unique in its commitment to education and training in addition to being the leading and most well-attended security-specific industry event. As market researchers and analysts, the ETR staff feels like kids in a candy shop with so many themes to explore at this year's event. Of course, as with every other event (and conversation), Large Language Models (LLMs) and Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) will be top of mind in both the seminar halls and expo floor at RSA. In fact, about 10% of the conference's educational tracks across this year's categories, which include Analytics, C-Suite, Cloud Security, DevSecOps, Hackers and Threats, and many more, had either the word AI or ML or some combination in the title.

The four topics with the most submitted tracks are Hackers and Threats (66 sessions), Analytics and Intelligence (48 sessions), Cloud Security (42 sessions), and DevSecOps and Application Security (42 sessions). This would indicate significant audience interest, and we are no different. We plan to spend as much time as we can listening to the impressive roster of thought leaders and peers during the conference. Although there are too many tracks and summits to mention in this article, one that I am personally looking forward to is this one: 

Cyber Defenders: Guardians of Critical Infrastructure 

As a former journalist covering the vital energy and hydro infrastructure footprint of our country, this particular topic will always be of keen interest to me. This is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7th, and has an all-star lineup of speakers and will include FBI Security briefings to kick off the seminar. The next day, I plan to attend another session that will be led by current and former military leaders who have been and continue to be, at the forefront of cyber security. In addition to thanking them for a dedicated career of service to our country, I also can't wait to learn from Paul Nakasone and Jen Easterly based on their distinguished careers and experience.

In addition to attending the seminars and visiting with the leading security vendors, ETR is excited to talk with the security-focused IT decision-makers in our community. Some of the other questions we are hoping to explore at RSA will be around the perception of AI and Automation shifting from “it's going to take my job” to “I need AI to do my job better.” We are also looking forward to learning what percentage of security tools deployed currently leverage some form of AI or ML technology and how fast practitioners expect that percentage to advance in the future. We are also hearing a lot of buzz about vendor consolidation in the security space as people forego best-of-breed point solutions in favor of platform approaches. Microsoft is leading the way in this pursuit, especially with their security Copilot launch coming on April Fool's Day (really, marketing department?). However, recent commentary from Palo Alto management also tracks along this narrative of a platform vendor approach to security.

And what are the biggest areas of security priorities? According to ETR's nearly complete April 2024 Macro Survey, Identity Management remains the top priority within information security, with a growing number of respondents citing the subsector. It is followed by Vulnerability Management and EDR/XDR (see below). 

And how about the impact that legislation and regulations have on security trends? What percentage of the current and future security budget is driven by legislation? How is the latest SEC ruling mandating cybersecurity disclosure laws impacting your organization? How is the role of CISO and security teams transitioning, and what other areas of IT are they managing? Then there are the topics of DevSecOps, AI Governance, Moving Beyond Passwords for Authentication and Identity Mgmt., and more. ETR is wondering what the thoughtful and intelligent comments from vendors and security professionals at the conference will be about these hot topics. We have so many questions and can't wait to get on the ground and start digging in.

Of course, we would never show up empty-handed, so we will pack our suitcases full of fresh, exclusive data. That's right; we will be conducting our own internal research project that tracks the top security trends and priorities as depicted by hundreds of security-specific experts from our ITDM community, in conjunction with our research partners at theCube Research. Stay tuned for those results in April. See you at RSA 2024! 

Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) is a technology market research firm that leverages proprietary data from our targeted IT decision maker (ITDM) community to provide actionable insights about spending intentions and industry trends. Since 2010, we have worked diligently at achieving one goal: eliminating the need for opinions in enterprise research, which are often formed from incomplete, biased, and statistically insignificant data. Our community of ITDMs represents $1+ trillion in annual IT spend and is positioned to provide best-in-class customer/evaluator perspectives. ETR’s proprietary data and insights from this community empower institutional investors, technology companies, and ITDMs to navigate the complex enterprise technology landscape amid an expanding marketplace. Discover what ETR can do for you at