Scott Schober, RSA Conference 2020. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Hand Sanitizing Stations Outnumbered Biometric Fingerprint Readers At RSA Conference USA 2020

Attendance was down by 20 percent, but the quality of this cybersecurity event was way up

Scott Schober

Metuchen, N.J. – Mar. 3, 2020

This year’s RSA Conference 2020 theme was the human element. Little did the conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees realize that this theme would be even more prescient than they could have possibly known.

Purell hand sanitizing stations easily outnumbered biometric fingerprint readers; prominent exhibitors including IBM, AT&T and Verizon pulled completely out of the conference; and face mask-wearing attendees appeared everywhere. Coronavirus fears were in full effect and yet, RSA 2020 launched and concluded successfully as it has ever since its first conference back in 1991.

Just prior to the RSA 2020 launch, Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile phone show in Barcelona, was canceled completely, so many RSA exhibitors and attendees were waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it never did. Sure, attendance was down by nearly 20 percent (36,000 attendees down from the expected 45,000) but RSA 2020 made up for in quality what it lacked in quantity.

I had the privilege to interview over 30 hand-picked cybersecurity influencers over the 3 full conference days as host of Cybercrime Magazine. The collective insight of these experts made my job easy and the RSA 2020 Conference a real joy to attend.



As it pertained to security, ample discussion on the human element played an integral role throughout the conference. Presentations focusing on privacy, threats and data handling as they all pertained to people were inescapable.

Now that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is in effect worldwide, new business and security plans have already embraced and incorporated the regulations.

I personally enjoyed the emphasis on the importance of sharing security information and the fact that AI and machine learning cannot completely solve all our current cybersecurity challenges without humans to bridge the gap between problem and solution.

The importance of security awareness and training, while not a new concept, was heightened by the emphasis on gamifying user behavior through effective VR training techniques.

There were even entertainment premieres in the form of KnowBe4’s highly anticipated season 2 of The Inside Man. This fictional series relies heavily on real insider threats and security technology as a way to both entertain and even train security-minded viewers.

By the end of the conference, my Cybercrime Magazine colleagues and I were weary from being on our feet all week but even more weary of the dreaded news cycle and latest Coronavirus updates. If anything, this pandemic will serve to remind us that cybersecurity is about protecting people and not just a bunch of ones and zeros. After all, behind all of the vulnerable data we are striving to protect is a far more valuable asset.

I want to thank the RSA Conference 2020 for reminding all of us that the human element is not going away.

Scott Schober is the CEO of BVS, Inc. He is an author, speaker, and cyber security & wireless expert at Scott Schober LLC.

Scott has presented extensively on cybersecurity and corporate espionage at conferences around the globe. He has recently overseen the development of several cell phone detection tools used to enforce a “no cell phone policy” in correctional, law enforcement, and secured government facilities. He is regularly interviewed for leading national publications and major network television stations including Fox, Bloomberg, Good Morning America, CNN, CGTN, CNBC, MSNBC and many more. He is the author of ‘Hacked Again’, his latest book as well as a contributor for Huffington Post and guest blogs regularly for Tripwire’s State of Security series. Scott also writes for Business Value Exchange, Fortune Magazine and IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub.

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