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May 14, 2024 | Insights

RSA Conference Takeaways

This year’s RSA conference was a great show for productive conversations across hotels, coffee shops, and park benches between sprints through the expansive show floor. Perhaps it was the great San Francisco weather, but compared to last year’s show when security software valuations were still in decline and enterprise budgets were tightening, this year’s conversations had a more optimistic tone and renewed enthusiasm around strategic positioning. Below are some observations from our conversations during the week and key announcements we saw at the event:

  • Security for AI vs. AI for Security (Please find a link here to Bowen’s recent whitepaper covering the impact of AI on Cybersecurity.)
    • Given the rapid acceleration of GenAI technology and enterprise adoption of early use cases such as copiloting and service automation, Security for AI was at the forefront. As a result, data access, orchestration, and management for deploying and integrating GenAI into enterprise applications and development processes were focal points of our conversations.  
    • Different approaches to security for AI included data security solutions specific to AI use cases, AI application firewall solutions and broader AI governance / compliance frameworks. This is an earlier stage opportunity with a number of initial market entrants and standards emerging for how AI will be secured / governed within the enterprise. Most ecosystem players we spoke with during the week expected security for AI to be an emerging area of interest for many of the larger strategics as the opportunity begins to materialize with enterprise customers. We also won’t be surprised to see more RSA attendees heading to data-centric shows hosted by Snowflake and Databricks coming up next month. 
    • We also saw many vendors across the security ecosystem continuing to push into more advanced analytics and detection technologies, in many cases leveraging ML algorithms and some pointing to the use of Gen AI. Co-pilots have increasingly emerged as part of solutions for security operations centers, and based on our discussions we expect security vendors to selectively interject GenAI into their offerings where it can add value for end customers.
  • Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) rises to the forefront
    • At least a year’s RSA we heard a lot about cyber risk management and attack surface management as key areas of innovation as organizations look beyond traditional detection and prevention solutions to an overall framework to address their cyber security posture.
    • This approach has evolved into a broader framework (CTEM) which includes solutions such as penetration testing, breach attack simulation, and automation / workflow & risk management, and represents a holistic solution through which organizations can more effectively determine whether their security posture is poised to address the continuously evolving threat landscape.
    • We expect emerging vendors who participate in various CTEM segments could attract strategic interest in the days ahead, as the larger players look to evolve from providing network/endpoint/cloud-centric products to more of an overall risk management solution.
  • Improvement in public capital markets environment and continued momentum in M&A activity
    • With the Rubrik IPO completed and other later-stage privates moving into the IPO process, most industry participants we spoke with were encouraged by the overall tone of the capital markets and potentially a broader range of exit opportunities outside the occasional premium strategic technology transactions by large platform players.
    • Many of our discussions centered around the continued battleground among the larger players to provide a unified security platform across IT domains, increasingly leveraging analytics & AI per the discussion above.  As evidenced by the Akamai/Noname announcement at RSA and Wiz’s ongoing push to consolidate (acquisition of Gem, rumored Lacework deal), we expect the race to win the platform game to drive additional M&A activity in the days ahead.

Last but not least, we hosted Bowen’s inaugural RSA cocktail party event as the week drew to a close on Wednesday evening. We enjoyed hosting a selected group of security entrepreneurs, executives and investors and look forward to continuing engaging with all of you in the days ahead!

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May 14, 2024 | Insights
RSA Conference Takeaways

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