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March 2002

Themes from the 2002 RSA Security conference

Two years ago, I wrote a column about the RSA Security conference, held every year about this time in northern California. Some people call RSA the "Comdex of security," because it draws more IT security folks than any other conference. But if you've ever been to Comdex, you know that's not necessarily a compliment. RSA has a longstanding (and well-deserved) reputation for being a vendor show, and this year's event (held Feb. 19-22) was no different. The total number of attendees was about the same as last year -- between 12,000 and 13,000. But the number of paid "end user" attendees was down by about 20 percent. More than a few exhibitors told me they won't be back next year unless "real" attendance picks up. Yet these same vendors also told me they don't come to RSA to generate customer leads, but to be "seen." So I suspect I'll see them again next year. Painfully aware of this trend, the conference organizers have worked hard to attract more enterprise professionals. The educational program was stronger this year, not quite ...

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