2022 RSA Conference: Inspiring but with Caution

Image of the San Francisco bridge.
The 2022 RSA Conference will start June 6th in San Francisco.

For the 32nd year in a row, the RSA Conference will be held on June 6th, 2022, in San Francisco, California. This year, cybersecurity startups will be showcasing solutions that should help them gain venture capital and kick off into the big leagues.

Expectations are high. These new products should solve both the current and future cybersecurity issues. Yet, some are concerned about the impact that venture capital investments can have on the final consumer.

At the moment, all companies at the RSA Conference aim to solve these 3 things:

  1. Increased global cybersecurity risk
  2. Vast cybersecurity expert shortage
  3. Increasing cybersecurity costs for companies

The main keyword at the conference is automation. Most of the presenters will be showing off their solutions that would allow companies to use software for faster and cheaper oversight, especially when it comes to cloud security.

However, the other face of the RSA conference is more focused on caution and limiting expectations. Companies will need to present high-quality business models, where they focus on the validity and security of their products. They should not focus solely on innovation.

The Needs Are Apparent

For almost a year, the entire cybersecurity community has been in upheaval because of the multiple forces coming from technical, social, and economic sides. For one, the rise in cyber attacks has been plainly visible even without statistics. It is also borderline fascinating if you look at the numbers.

Even without any proven direct correlation, cybercrime rates have increased with the value of digital markets and industry. It is up to the companies and cybersecurity specialists to find solutions that will reduce risks without compromising growth.

Regretfully, while problems take months to become apparent, it takes years and decades to educate experts. At the moment, we can see a clear lack of cybersecurity analysts and technicians. In turn, that forces many smaller companies to opt out of custom solutions for their security.

This poses an opportunity for startups to find new solutions to service that part of the market. That can also be quite lucrative. However, we must ask if this digital gold rush toward experts and safety will benefit anyone but the middlemen.

Image of a person using a phone and laptop with trading and investment apps.
Venture capital is keen on jumping on new solutions as soon as possible.

Cybersecurity Startups Are Gaining Venture Capital

In 2021, investments in cybersecurity when it comes to venture capital have skyrocketed from $12Bn to almost 30 billion US dollars. Investors are flocking in to ensure their position in the emerging market.

Companies like Accel Investments and AllegisCyber Capital have been acquiring companies year after year. Primarily, they have been focusing on cloud security, privacy management, and zero-trust solutions. This has opened the door for many new startups to start looking for their future in similar investments.

The RSA Conference starting next Monday will only host 35 of these startups. They will present at the Early Stage Expo, the conference’s dedicated space for industry newcomers.

Certainly, we will know more once these companies’ presentations are complete. However, even an overview look would determine that most will focus on AI-assisted security. Through that, they will aim to address the two biggest issues in the industry: cloud solutions and data compliance.

Excellent Solutions Might Be Coming

The RSA Conference 2022 has many positive aspects. Namely, by looking at the offerings, we can see that the startups have recognized the market’s needs. They are also trying to fulfill them. Since some of the companies are several years old, we deduce that they might have predicted the problems as well.

Conversely, large parts of the industry were not aware of the deep cybersecurity issues that surfaced with the remote work surge.

For newcomers like Cado Security, Cympire, and Fend, this might be their time to shine. All three are at least two years old with Fend being founded as far as five years ago. Now, they have the chance to present their solutions to those who might help them on their way to becoming industry giants.

Automating Everything Might Not Be Possible

Although many of the proposed products focus on automation, cybersecurity technicians will not become obsolete anytime soon.

In many cases, the proposed solutions only assist those who protect their company or consumer assets. The solutions help these stakeholders to have greater control, oversight, and reporting. However, we may wonder if these advancements will simply push even more requirements for cybersecurity expertise. In that case, that may further slow down their entry into the market.

On the other hand, as the current experts are gaining more tools, it might be possible to reduce the number of people working. It may even reduce the issue of employees causing most cybersecurity risks. That solution will also make existing and integrated security technicians even more valuable. Yet, this might be a concern for companies on the operational side.

Image of a robot hand extending.
Automation will be able to do a lot, but AI will still need a hand.

Early Adopters Be Wary

For enthusiasts, who also make the majority of visitors to the conference, the solutions proposed are always seen as perfect. Because the issues are so well recognized, many will try to become involved. They will become either investors or customers as soon as possible. However, they should all keep calm heads.

All the solutions presented are only in their early stages. It might even be years before they can be scaled up and perfected for the market. Additionally, some issues might arise that were invisible before. Other potential issues may not even exist yet.

In the cybersecurity industry, the issue was never with the known threats and problems. Rather, the biggest concern is always the risks we are not yet aware of. Willing early adopters should be calm and wait for these solutions to pass the test. Only then, they may proceed.

Investment companies may be drawn to startups that fill out their current portfolio. They might also be looking at the picture holistically.  We can’t be sure who will be selected at the conference and who might need to look for their luck elsewhere.

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