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RSA’s 2010 IT Security Conference to feature top government officials

The 2010 USA RSA Conference will open its doors for workshops and advance sessions on Monday morning, March 1, and run through Friday, March 5, at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. The event has scheduled a number of senior government officials to talk about homeland security and the need for cooperation among governments at all levels, the private sector and individual citizens in protecting the national security.

The RSA Conference was developed by RSA in 1991 as a forum for cryptographers to share the latest knowledge in the area of information security. Today, RSA offers annual conferences in the U.S., Europe and Japan that allow attendees to learn about IT security’s most important issues through first-hand interactions with peers, luminaries and both established and emerging companies.

Among the top government officials presenting keynote speeches will be DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, who plays a key role in leading the nation’s collective efforts to secure the U.S. in the areas of counterterrorism, border security, immigration enforcement, and disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

Howard Schmidt, the recently-named White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, will conduct a town hall-type discussion on topics including security of the government’s computers and networks, the national agenda to secure the information and communications infrastructure, the management of the emerging technology environments, such as cloud computing and social networking, and the need for more reliable identity management and authentication.

Also speaking will be FBI Director Robert Mueller, who has observed that the power and pervasiveness of the Internet are evident in the way citizens communicate, conduct business and learn. But we are not the only ones taking advantage of that technology, Mueller believes. “Criminals, terrorists and nation-state actors are making full use of the Internet for their own ends,” he argues. Mueller will discuss cyber threats to the national security; what the FBI is doing to meet those threats, and why we must work together to ensure our collective safety.

Cloud computing is expected to be one of the hot topics at RSA 2010, with the Cloud Security Alliance Summit presenting a half-day program on this subject on March 1. The Alliance says cloud computing represents a fundamental shift in information technology, creating a host of security, trust and compliance issues. Experts speakers from McAfee, eBay, Salle Mae, Websense,  Zscaler, Zynga, Cisco Systems, Trend Micro and other major players will speak on this topic.

In one conference session of particular interest to government professionals, Siobhan Gorman, of the Wall Street Journal, will moderate a session titled, “Delivering a Unified and Resilient National Cybersecurity Framework.” Panelists will include Melissa Hathaway, currently the president of Hathaway Global Strategies; Greg Oslan, the CEO of Narus, Inc.; John Stewart, Chief Security Officer of Cisco Systems; and Bill Crowell, an independent consultant. The panel will discuss ways to protect the national infrastructure against cyber-warfare.

Cyber-security, of course, is a deadly serious business, but the conference organizers have established a number of events during the week that are playfully named. These include the Pecha Kucha Happy Hour, the Codebreakers Bash and the Table for 6 Dinners -- all designed to promote networking and information exchange among attendees.

Another event, the “Innovation Sandbox,” is described as en experiential half-day filled with interactive white board sessions, ask the experts and idea exchange whisper suites. It will culminate with a shoot-out among the top 10 start-up companies, presenting their new strategies and products to a judging panel composed of venture capital professionals, CISOs, CTOs and other industry experts.

The finalist companies in the “shoot-out” include:

Altor Networks – Altor VF v3.0
Catbird – vCompliance
Envision Security – Risk Communicator
Hacktics – Seeker
HyTrust, Inc. – HyTrust Appliance
KikuSema GmbH – FabulaRosa (FR)
Navajo Systems – Virtual Private SaaS (VPS)
RavenWhite – Blue Moon Authentication
Silver Tail Systems – Silver Tail Forensics
Whitebox Security – WhiteOPS

The RSA Conference 2010 in Europe will take place at the London Metropole Hotel on October 12-14.


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