RSA Conference 2020. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Coronavirus: Cisco, Facebook, GSMA Cancel Events, RSA Conference 2020 Undeterred

IBM withdraws from cybersecurity’s big show, but 42,000 people still expected in San Francisco next week

Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief

Sausalito, Calif. – Feb. 19, 2020

The Coronavirus has hit the tech industry.

Earlier this month, the GSMA announced the cancellation of its Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2020 event in Spain, which draws as many as 100,000 people annually, because of global concerns related to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Cisco Live, which was set to take place in Melbourne, Australia, at the beginning of March, with more than 8,500 people expected to attend, has also been called off.

Last Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Facebook has canceled its Global Marketing Summit, which was expected to draw more than 4,000 people to the area. The decision had to do with fears of the Coronavirus.

But, one huge tech show goes on at a much larger nearby venue.

Also on Friday, KPIX 5, a CBS TV station in the Bay Area, reported that IBM would not be sending any of its employees to San Francisco for the upcoming RSA Conference, a gathering of top cybersecurity experts, over fears of the Coronavirus. More than 42,000 people are expected to be at this year’s event, one of the largest in our industry.

IBM, which generates several billion dollars a year in security revenues, is a platinum sponsor at the event.

Later in the day on Friday, RSA Conference posted on its website that the number of individuals, including those from IBM, who have canceled their registration is less than 1 percent of the total number of expected attendees. Also, the total number of exhibitors, including IBM, that have canceled their participation as a sponsor or exhibitor is eight. Six of them are from China, one of them is from the U.S.A., and one of them is from Canada.

Paul Spaulding, Cybercrime Magazine’s GM of production, is traveling to the RSA Conference next week. Paul reports that he won’t be shaking anyone’s hands at the event. That sounds like a good idea.

“Never thought my two professions would be entwined,” says a post on LinkedIn by Dale Mcclinton, an information technology specialist for the Internal Revenue Service, and former registered respiratory therapist. “I say strap on a N95 mask if you have any worries (about attending RSA Conference) and/or stay home if you feel under the weather.”

The RSA Conference homepage has a Coronavirus Update posted.

The event producer has added several new health and safety measures for the event including disinfecting registration counters and floors continuously throughout the day, offering disinfectant wipes at all check-in counters and in each session room for the speaker computers and microphones, and adding hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes near each touch screen interactive campus map and wayfinding station.

Also, the RSA Conference will be adding hand sanitizer pumps on every shuttle bus, distributing sanitizing wipes at the shuttle information desk in the Moscone Center, and wiping down all shuttle bus armrests four times per day.

As of today, approximately 82 percent of the RSA Conference registered attendees are from the U.S. as are 82 percent of the exhibiting organizations. The travel restrictions implemented by the U.S. Government at the end of last month remained in effect and according to the CDC’s latest situation summary, the health risk from Coronavirus for the general American public is considered low at this time.

RSA Conference will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and the WHO and is in close communication with the City of San Francisco to monitor all new developments pertaining to the Coronavirus.

Some of the information contained in this article comes from a Cybercrime Magazine podcast, and a special post on the RSA Conference website.

SupercomputingAsia 2020 is the latest event to be victimized by Coronavirus. Scheduled to be held in Singapore between February 24 and 27, the annual event was cancelled over the weekend. This year’s SCA20 was set to be the biggest so far with over 500 attendees registered for the opening alone.

The editors at Cybercrime Magazine are monitoring our global event calendar for other event cancellations due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Steve Morgan is founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures.

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