2018 RSA Conference Preview: An Insider’s Guide to What’s Hot

There is no bigger event on the infosec calendar than the RSA Conference held annually in San Francisco. The 2018 event is set to run across the cavernous halls of the Moscone Center, with speakers, vendors and educational sessions spread across the North, South and West buildings, and spilling over into the adjacent Marriott Marquis hotel.

To say that the RSA Conference can be a bit overwhelming is an understatement.

It takes a lot of advance planning to get the most out of the conference, so we hope this eSecurity Planet preview saves you some time.


RSA Conference USA keynotes have long included a mix of government leaders, well-known public figures and CEOs of large technology vendors.

At the 2018 event, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, is set to take the stage to talk about cyber security at the federal level.

As it is the RSA Conference, it should come as no surprise that RSA Security President Rohit Ghai will also be on the keynote stage. Ghai’s talk is titled “Cybersecurity Silver Linings,” where he’ll touch on themes of business risk while encouraging organizations to think of IT security as as a series of rational economic decisions.

RSA Cryptographers panel

Other CEOs that have keynotes this year include McAfee CEO Christopher Young and Rami Rahim CEO of Juniper Networks. John Stewart, Chief Security and Trust Officer at Cisco, Samir Kapuria, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Symantec’s Cyber Security Services business, and Marc van Zadelhoff, General Manager for IBM Security, help round out vendors giving keynotes at this year’s show.

Among the most anticipated keynotes in any given year at the RSA Conference is the annual cryptographer panel. At the RSA 2017 event, cryptographers came to the conclusion that much of modern security is done incorrectly.

Innovation awards

RSAC Innovation Sandbox finalist

The show turns the spotlight on innovation in the RSA Innovation Sandbox contest.

For 2018, there are 10 vendors that are finalists in the competition, and are set to showcase their wares in a series of three-minute pitches on April 16 before a panel of judges between 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Judges are expected to announce the winner at 4:30 p.m.

Check out eSecurityPlanet’s overview of the 10 finalists to find out more about the companies that will be onstage at the Innovation Sandbox contest.

Early Stage Expo

The Innovation Sandbox contest isn’t the only place where innovation will be on display. The 2018 event also has an Early Stage Expo, running from April 17 to April 19 in the Marriott Marquis hotel’s Yerba Buena 9 conference area.

Several of the same vendors from the Innovation sandbox contest — including Awake Security, Hysolate and ReFirm Labs — will be at the expo.

The floor plan for the expo currently lists 43 vendors that will be exhibiting.

Looking for more cybersecurity startup information? Check out eSecurityPlanet’s guide to 20 Cyber Security startups to watch in 2018.


While keynotes, sessions and startups are a large part of the RSA Conference, the single biggest part, by square footage at least, is the massive expo halls (that’s right – plural) chock full of every cybersecurity vendor that wants to see and be seen at the world’s largest infosec event.

RSA 2018 floor map

Navigating the expo halls is no trivial feat, but it can be done.

The North expo hall is often considered to be the primary, as it is home to RSA Security itself, which commands a massive 70-by-60 foot booth that is the first thing attendees will see when entering the hall.

The North Hall is also home to other big vendors, including Mircosoft, McAfee, Cisco, Symantec, IBM, Intel, Qualys, and Juniper Networks, among many others.

Check out the full floor plan for the North Hall here.

The South Hall is also a very busy area and is where the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have their exhibits. South Hall is also home to F5 Networks, Gemalto, Digicert, CrowdStrike, Endgame, Cofense, Synopys, Duo Security and many others.

Check out the full floor plan for the South Hall here.

There are an overwhelming number of vendors in both halls, and it’s not easy to visit all of them in a short period of time. To help determine which vendors are of interest, check out eSecurity Planet‘s guides to different product areas, including EDR, CASB, EMM, Firewall, UEBA and SIEM as a starting point.

Key sessions

There are hundreds of sessions at the RSA 2018 conference across multiple topic areas, including: Analytics, Intelligence & Response, Application Security, C-Suite View, Cloud security, Cryptography, DevOps, Compliance, Hackers, Human Element, Identity, Law, IoT, Machine Learning and Privacy.

So which ones should you go to?

Be sure to check back for eSecurity Planet‘s upcoming guide to RSA Conference sessions that shouldn’t be missed. You’ll find all our RSA 2018 coverage at the eSecurity Planet Guide to RSA Conference 2018.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eSecurityPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.

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