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At RSA, what's old is new again

Security industry, still struggling with basic problems such as compliance, identity, and data security, is going "back to the drawing board."

It's a little slow at this year's RSA Conference, but there is still plenty of hoopla to go around. It's a retro RSA in that this year's hot topics are all oldies but goodies. The list includes:

  1. Compliance. Everyone is resurrecting their focus on regulations such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and a host of others.

  2. Identity. Think of this as the personalization of IT. Chief information officers want to know who is on the network and what they are doing. Armed with this knowledge, they can block bad behavior and accelerate productive business activities.

  3. Data security. Large organizations are desperately trying to get their arms around their data by answering questions like: Where is my confidential data? Who is accessing it? What the heck are they doing with it?

Yup, what's old is new again all around this security nexus. It would be easy to say that the marketing folks are either tired or lazy, but I see a completely different meaning here. We are still struggling with basic security problems, after all these years, and the industry is thus going "back to the drawing board," if you will.

Let's just hope we get it right this time around, or we all may be in deep trouble.

Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.