RSA Conference -- Day 2

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I learned a lot today during day two of the RSA Conference.  A lot of it was from one-on-one conversations I had with helpful, inspiring gentlemen, but I also learned a lot from the keynotes, panel discussions, and sessions that I attended.  There was too much to go into it all here, but there was one red thread that I heard over and over today.  It was a theme I did not expected to be so dominant and so positive at a conference full of security buffs, C-level execs, and enterprise architects: cloud computing represents a tremendous opportunity that is there for the taking.

I heard it described today by one panelist as the technology of the gods.  The president of RSA, Art Coviello, said in his keynote that cloud computing is bringing our society to a tipping point.  After teetering over it, humankind will be complexly revolutionized.  This sentiment was echoed by Microsoft's Scott Charney.  Symantec's CEO, Enrique Salem, said that the interfaces of some cloud-based software that will be implemented by many different vendors should be standardized in a collaborative, open manner.  During a panel discussion that included some of the world's leading cryptographers (Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, Ronald Rivest, Bruce Schneier, and Adi Shamir), two of the five said that cloud computing is one of the most compelling and interesting areas that is occupying a large part of their time, research, and thoughts. Another panel included Eva Chen, co-founder of TrendMicro, who's been in the security industry for 21 years and said that cloud computing is the most interesting development that she has ever seen. The co-founder of America's Growth Capital investment banking group said that the SaaS market is currently 1.3B in size and is growing by 17% annually according to an IDC study recently published.  Kim Cameron said that the claims-based model would help support the need to identify users both in the cloud and on-prem. 

Some at the conference are voicing their counter views, however.  I've heard some say that they are board with cloud computing as it's just the resurgence of the mainframe.  Others have said that cloud computing coupled with SSO increases a user's attack surfaces tremendously should they happen to get infect by a virus that uses SSO to connect to remote cloud services to perform unbeknownst and undesired operations as them.  Some participants have said during open mic sessions that they would never store their data in the cloud.

In every keynote, panel, and session, cloud computing came up and usually with a positive tone.