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Where have all the good RSA talks gone?

Once upon a time, the RSA Conference was known for its deep technical content and the quality of its speakers. But, as the security industry has changed and matured over the last few years, the sessions at the show have become more focused on soft, fuzzy themes such as risk management and compliance. This is probably just a natural evolution and a reflection of the direction of the industry as a whole, but many of the security professionals I’ve talked to here this week have complained about the lack of serious educational content and the proliferation of marketecture-type sessions. And the few really deep sessions have been so crowded that many attendees have been turned away at the door. The hard core cryptographers’ sessions are still here and there are some good ones on new attacks as well, but it seems that the days of walking out of the conference at the end of the week with a notebook full of great ideas are past.

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This was my first year at RSA. I was disappointed over all in most of the sessions. In a lot of them, the speakers did not either speak to the topic title of their session or took 40 minutes to reach it after defining all basics first. I went to a session calling itself a "practical guide" to voip security. There was not much practical nor guide like during the talk. Don't even get me started on how hollow the Cyber Storm 2 panel was. As bad as vendor marketecture keynotes are... What was the deal with that guy from Oracle? Did he not even research the level of his audience? Why did he feel the need to define terms like "separation of duties" ? I agree that there were a few gems, but mostly I only took away a few new things. This was my first year and most likely my last. I can get a lot more from other sources when I can only get funding for one conference/course a year. And the several real good talks I did see, you can meet those folks in other venues like Joshua Wright on wireless security.