Preparing for the RSA Security Conference
By Gideon T. Rasmussen, CISSP, CRISC, CISA, CISM, CIPP

The greatest values of the RSA conference are knowledge gained from the sessions, exposure to emerging security technologies on the expo floor, catching up with colleagues and making new connections. You need to prepare well in advance to make the most of the conference and after-hours activities.

  • Schedule your conference sessions in advance. Some of them will fill up. It takes 2-3 hours to schedule five days of sessions. Use the 'Reserve your Seat' feature of the RSA website, then export the calendar and import into your smart phone. Refer to these instructions:

    Have a healthy balance when scheduling conference sessions. Schedule sessions:

    – That will help you in your current role
    – For projects you may be called upon to do
    – To prepare for a future role
    – For emerging policies and technology

    Reserve a seat for presentations of friends, colleagues and practitioners/leaders that you admire. Send a message letting them know you will be there.

    You want to have the scheduling done before you get on the plane.

  • Schedule events outside of the conference (also within your phone calendar). RSA has special events listed here:

    There are also many vendor events. Your mailbox is likely full of them. Most events serve alcohol. Limit yourself to one or two drinks max. A week at RSA is like a marathon. You need to pace yourself and get plenty of rest.

  • Schedule time with your professional contacts. Hallway conversations and a quick coffee or lunch have great value.

    By now, your phone calendar has RSA sessions and after-hours activities scheduled. The next step is to reach out to your contacts. Determine if they will be at RSA. Exchange mobile numbers and add them to your phone's contact list.

    If you are both so inclined, schedule a time to meet. That approach saves you from sending several text messages back and forth while you are at the conference.

  • As the conference gets closer, slide decks for a subset of presentations become available online. Download them in advance to avoid issues with network connectivity while at the conference.

  • Bring a rain coat, umbrella and comfortable shoes. The conference space is huge. There will be ~40,000 attendees. Be prepared to walk 5 miles per day, between walking to/from the hotel, between sessions, on the exhibit floor and to after-hours events.

  • Manage expectations at work. Let them know you will be out of pocket and delegate.

    Oh, and one last thing... Enjoy yourself at the conference!!!

    Kind regards,


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