Our Summit Takeaways: Luminaries on Rethinking DIBs

luminaries rethinking DIBsThe PR industry has not made enough progress on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIBs) initiatives in the past few years. A PRWeek study sheds light on the disparity: A mere 13% of PR agency board/C-suite members are non-white, while 24% of the workforce is non-white. The Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd’s death encouraged agencies to think critically about how they can support and uplift Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) voices in their communities and diversify their workforce. 

PRovoke hosted a panel discussion on Monday intended to spur change. Highwire Principal and cofounder Emily Borders moderated an insightful discussion with industry luminaries Elizabeth Bananuka, Neil Foote, Soon Mee Kim and Randy Moore. The panel was titled Charting a Course: How Agencies can Work Together to Accelerate Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.

The Highwire team felt inspired by the conversation, so we compiled five ideas we can’t stop thinking about. We look forward to applying these insights internally and hope you can implement these concepts to develop your DIBs initiatives in a meaningful way.

1. Where Morals and Business Intersect

Kim, Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Omnicom Public Relations Group stressed the importance of recognizing “diversity, equity, and inclusion as a moral imperative without question. It is also a business imperative.” Decisions within companies are typically made with business outcomes in mind. When it comes to DIBs initiatives, however, companies must set aside revenue goals and do what is right, both on an individual and organizational level.

The positive effects on business growth are proven. Racial and ethnic diversity improves financial performance by 35%, according to a McKinsey & Company study. Diversity also has a positive correlation with innovation. Harvard Business Review, which defines innovation as freshness of revenue mix, found that more diverse companies welcomed 19% more innovation revenue. Communications teams representing partners that strive for innovation should make DIBs part of their PR programs, encouraging their partners to rev up diversity programs. “DEI equals ROI” said Foote, President and CEO of Foote Communications.

2. Dissolving Performative Allyship

Remember when Instagram was flooded with blackout squares on Black Out Tuesday back in June? Individuals and brands posted black squares to their feeds to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. While the intentions here may have been sound, the result buried educational content on how to be an ally and didn’t do much to actually help people. 

The same applies to employer brands. Bananuka, CEO and cofounder of The Blueprint, reminded us that “ethnic minorities are not pets for you to use for your LinkedIn content.” Performative allyship will not cut it. Surface-level actions that are solely intended to show people they care do not truly make a difference in undermining systemic racism. Instead, organizations must commit to taking meaningful action in all aspects of business, such as recruiting, wages and the boardroom. 

3. Rethinking Recruitment 

Teams looking for BIPOC candidates ask, “Where do we find this talent?” These teams should rethink how they recruit and where they are looking for prospective employees. Instead of assuming diverse candidates will approach them, hiring managers must proactively seek them out and meet them where they are. As Moore, Chief Operating Officer of COOP, said, “The problem is not with Black and Latinx students, it’s with the organizations. Black and Latinx talent is out there.” 

Employers must also revisit job descriptions and requirements. Foote said that the “four-year degree is not the only marker for talent” and those diverse candidates who may not have impressive internships may bring other qualities through their lived experiences, such as juggling multiple jobs at once. Recruiters might step away from the top institutions that cater to white students and refocus efforts on other communities. 

4. Daily Discussion

DIBs should not be a passing reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. This work should not stop but rather should become an integral part of daily operations. Foote said this is “a daily conversation. Not saved for our annual meeting, but conversations that are happening daily.” Teams across the organization should examine what they are doing to be better allies and outline steps to integrate anti-racism work into daily activities. For example, PR teams might ensure diversity is included in every single creative campaign. Business development teams may bring diversity initiatives into the conversations they are having with prospects daily.

5. Influencing Organizational Structure

Executive-level advocacy is admirable, but “doing right” isn’t enough if a new-hire on the other side of the power continuum doesn’t feel welcome. Moore suggested creating affinity groups within an organization, for example, as a way to begin making an early difference. Known as the “grass top,” executives can pull levers that influence other influencers. They can activate more initiatives that also influence their organization’s “grass roots.”

Whichever way the initiatives originate and fan out, the ultimate measure of success is the BIPOC employee’s own assessment of inclusion. Efforts, metrics and statements on social media alone aren’t enough.

As Moore said, “Sometimes we see larger [DIBs] initiatives on the grass top, but if it’s not trickling down to the grassroots it doesn’t have an effect on the most important stakeholder.” 

The four things you must do to get the best video conferencing results

Home photo studioWe’re all going to be spending a lot more time doing video calls from home, it’s worth putting in the time and effort to get the best video conferencing setup. Sitting on a comfortable chair, at a sturdy desk, looking at a good quality monitor is no longer enough. Getting your home video conferencing setup right can make a big difference to you and your brand. Particularly if you’re engaging customers, conducting media interviews or producing webinar content from home. These tips will help you get the best video conferencing setup. 

Start with the Camera

Most people have a good quality camera built into their laptops. If you’re not putting out HD quality footage, consider investing in a camera that does. Depending on the kind of lighting you’re going to use, a Logitech Brio is a good first step for an external webcam. If you’re going to use a ring-light (helpful if you’re planning to do broadcast interviews) then look for a camera with a shoe mount, such as the Logitech Stream Cam

Sound that will get you listened to

One of the best investments get the best video conferencing quality is a condenser microphone. If you’re not willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars on something from Rode, then the Snowball Ice comes highly recommended. Alternatively, we’re also big fans of the Jabra Speak 510 which doubles as a microphone and a speaker. 

Lighting up your presence

Follow the stage rules for a basic three-light configuration consisting of a key light, fill light and backlight. The key light is the focus and the one you need shining at your face and with the highest strength. At approximately half the strength of your key light comes a fill light, which will help remove shadows. The backlight helps to even out the entire scene and introduce some highlights on your head and shoulders, making sure you look your best on video conferences. 

Invest in some proper lights if you’re doing a lot of video with customers or prospects. Look at a GVM ring light paired with a shoe-mount camera to act as your key light. Neewer stage lights can complement to act as your fill and background lights, or skip the ring light and use each Neewer as your key and fill lights. 

Getting the best video will make a big difference in how colleagues, customers, and prospects respond to you. Oh, and keep some foundation nearby.

Don’t clutter your background 

If you don’t have a blank wall to work with, consider ordering a personal background with a solid color that works well and ideally, fits with your brand. Grab a backdrop holder and pair it with a colored backdrop for less than $50 and you’ll transform your setting to studio quality.

Getting it right

Building a home studio setup takes some work and a level of investment. It’s worth the investment to make sure your executives represent your brand on screen. Sales and marketing teams will get better engagement if they look and sounds their best.

Nailing your home setup doesn’t need to be complex – invest a little in getting sound, light and camera right and you’ll have a big impact. We’re happy to help.

Lights Out on Your Events, Now What? Part One: Objectives and Audience 

The coronavirus pandemic has cancelled conferences all over the world, leaving marketing teams scrambling for replacements to help meet their goals. Some companies are attempting all-in-one virtual replacements as a sales salvation, but in reality there is no single substitute for real-world events.

Our new piece in Marketing Land highlights what companies can do to fill the void left by in-person events. In this two-part blog series, we’re going to take a closer look into what teams can do right now that will help them get through this crisis, but also reinforce their long term strategy to be more successful in the future. First, let’s start with resetting objectives and putting your audience’s needs first.

A hard reset on objectives

It may not seem like it, but the cancellation of conferences worldwide gives you an opportunity to reassess your strategy. Instead of looking for an online version of a conference, stop and ask yourself these questions:

  • Which audiences were you hoping to connect with? What are those people doing instead? How are recent events impacting immediate concerns?
  • Is it all about sales and lead gen? Or were you looking for networking, brand building or product launch opportunities?
  • Were you attending out of habit, or with a clear, measurable purpose? If you can’t quantify the value of attending, finding a replacement will be extra tough, and perhaps unnecessary.

Once you answer these questions you’ll likely realize you can achieve similar results with a different strategy, ideally one which leverages activity you already have in place. This is the time to double down on integration, and make every aspect of your existing marcomms program work better, together. Here are some examples: 

  • Run a LinkedIn lead generation campaign with target audiences built from idealized attendee lists. It will almost certainly cost less than the budget you reserved on building a booth or even holding your own conference.
  • Connect with industry influencers and use live-streamed product demos to build awareness. Amplify with paid social and invite reporters to pose questions for an earned media hit.
  • Double down on your thought leadership and turn conference keynotes into long-form executive posts. Turn high value technical talks into gated white papers to boost consideration, while also driving leads.
  • Best of all, combine all of the above for a truly integrated campaign. When everything works together, everything works better.

It’s not just about relying more heavily on what you’ve always done. Keep in mind that you’re not alone looking for alternatives. Now more than ever you need quality, targeted content with clear purpose to break through the noise of online marketing.

Think audience-first and channel-native

How do you get the most compelling content possible? By being relevant first, and self promotional second. Your priority should be to understand your audience, clarify your point of view and align it with their needs. Do research on who your audience is and what they want and where they will see it: 

  • Use social media listening tools to not only follow conversations, but become involved in industry discussions. 
  • Conduct a content audit to discover the gaps between what you are producing and what your audience responds to.
  • Build personas. Understanding your audience’s demographic, psychographic and firmographic make-up is the key to finding relevance.

Say something that will get you noticed and do it where your audience already is: embrace social, podcasts, video, and put executives forward just as you would at a conference. 

Amplify your content with paid social to increase awareness and engagement. Be sure to optimize content by channel. Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and, if you’re adventurous, TikTok, all require unique material to make the biggest impact. Presenting a native appearance on each platform is the difference between social pros and novices. 

There is no need to panic when a major conference is canceled. You have the tools at your disposal to streamline and integrate your marketing plans in ways that will help you prevail long term and make you smarter and more productive in the future. 

Finally, it’s important to revert to measurable and quantifiable value. Ask the difficult questions and be bold in creating the right content to reach your targeted audience. A hard look at your objectives can go a long way. Read more about what we suggest you do in this new reality in Marketing Land.

VIDEO: Meet the #HWCyberSquad & get a firsthand look at top RSA trends

This year’s #RSAC2020 was one for the books. I’ve been attending the show for 14 years and I’m always on the lookout for what’s different or unique year-over-year. This year was more of the same in terms of the outcry for stronger security leadership and a different approach, attribution debates and the promise of a million and one new security tools that will “stop” the latest cyber attack. So, I focused on something different this year. The sheer awesome-ness of my #HWCyberSquad was striking. I have never been more inspired by my team, our clients, the depth of expertise, and the strength of our partnerships.

See below for a few of this year’s highlights:

  • We kicked off the week with some incredible news — the #HWCyberSquad was named 2020 PR Team of the Year by Info Security Products Guide for the second year in a row. This team represents the true power of collaboration, creativity and drive.
  • Our detailed and thoughtful daily recaps (see Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3) captured RSA keynotes and all of the smart sessions hosted by our clients. We even got some standout coverage of our clients’ talks (see WIRED story featuring Chris Wysopal, founder and CTO of Veracode).
  • We connected with reporters that we respect and feel grateful to be able to work with day-in-and-day-out on top security stories (e.g. see our Q&A with Reporter Alyssa Newcomb/Fortune and recap of our Cult of the Dead Cow Book Club with Joe Menn/Reuters).
  • We hosted the annual Security Comms Happy Hour with our partner Meredith Corley and our friends at Offleash PR, W2Comms and Chen PR.
  • We had the largest team of talented cyber security professionals to-date onsite and took some time to celebrate our win with our annual Cyber Security Appreciate Dinner (six years running!)

What separates the #HWCyberSquad is our passion and dedication to our team and our clients, and to honing our craft as cybersecurity PR professionals. We are grounded in our Highwire values (passion, curiosity, creation, balance, and collaboration), and they guide us in everything we do. We pride ourselves on our ability to identify timely trends and topics that shape and inform our clients’ PR programs. After all, it’s a crazy-crowded market so you need practitioners that are always thinking two steps ahead.

With that, I am so excited to share this incredible “RSA Top Trends ” video produced by our very own #HWCyberSquad team. You don’t want to miss it.

Cheers to RSA 2020 and we look forward to seeing you all at Black Hat! 

Stay healthy!


P.S. After the first conference of 2020, one thing is clear: Politics and policy continue to impact cybersecurity in almost every way. We’re investing time and talent into our policy expertise (you can check out an example here) and will be rolling out some exciting policy projects this year. Keep an eye out!

RSA Day 3: How To Successfully Apply an Enterprise Cybersecurity Mindset to Other Industries

Welcome to the final RSAC 2020 daily recap. Today’s keynotes encapsulated how what we know, as security professionals, can be applied beyond the enterprise security industry and where we go from here. 

To get caught up or refreshed on what happened during Day 1 and Day 2, please see Highwire’s additional blogs: 

RSA Day 1: Why Cybersecurity Isn’t Working and Where We Go From Here

RSA Day 2: Finding New Ways to Explore the ‘Human Element’

Securing Critical Infrastructure

Today’s keynotes kicked off with Dragos’ CEO and founder, Robert Lee’s deep dive into what enterprise security professionals need to understand about how to support the security of critical infrastructure. He noted that industrial security is vastly different from enterprise security, and applying the same software across the field can have negative implications. 

In looking back at 2019, Lee noted that 55% of industrial control systems vulnerabilities had a patch but no alternative remediation. He mentioned that in the majority of these cases, simple recommendations would have made the vulnerabilities not hackable, but IT professionals are used to focusing on the patch. The hyper focus in enterprise security on endpoints “doesn’t really apply” to ICS. In fact, from Lee’s research, more than 50% of vulnerabilities are ‘useless’ and don’t deserve time wasted attempting to create a patch. You can read Dragos’ full 2019 year in review report here.

The most critical takeaway from Lee’s talk is that, from his research, 91% of clients had the opportunity to increase security in their environments but were blocked by vendors. His advice to OEMs as they leave the conference? “Your opportunity in 2020 is to figure out the barriers for your clients and help them figure out the easy hardenings” in their environments. He shared resources and next steps for OEMs here.

Hacking Your Life

Next, we heard from Bruce Schneier, a security technologist and lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, who discussed how “our expertise in security [can be transmitted] to other activities.” Case in point, security skills are becoming more broadly applicable. 

A great example of how security terms and concepts can be applied to other areas of our lives? Junk food. It represents one instance of how a change in the threat model (the introduction of new food processes and chemicals) produced a new vulnerability (our cravings for sugar). But it’s not the only example of how security frameworks can be applied to other areas of our lives. 

Schneier’s biggest examples were political. How is a tax code like computer code? Why is election spending hacking our democracy? His ideas are still in development but he mentioned he will likely further develop the framework through a book or essay soon. 

The Triangle of Information Security

During Akamai CSO Andy Ellis’ talk, he compared his company to the “shopping mall of the internet,” laughingly dubbing himself their “Paul Blart” (mall cop). Ellis dove into the three pillars of information security: Integrity, Availability and Confidentiality. 

While starting with the integrity of the system is the foundation of security, both the availability of the technology and protecting the confidentiality of its users are equally important. 

Ellis ended his talk noting that while IoT and 5G are new challenges that will affect how we approach each of these pillars, new challenges also guarantee that the security industry will continue to expand, and that it will continue to be crucially and increasingly important to other industries.

The Future of Cybersecurity and the Future of Auto

In the final keynote of the morning, General Motors’ CEO and Chairwoman, Mary Barra discussed the future of transportation. She discussed how “there are virtually no industries today that are invulnerable to cyberattacks,” the automotive industry being no different.

For GM, eliminating car crashes, carbon emissions, and traffic in cities are the three priorities for the next 20 years. In order to do this, Barra knows cybersecurity is essential, mentioning that she believes safety and cybersecurity go hand-in-hand and “a company’s defenses are only as strong as [its] weakest link.” 

To achieve this goal, GM has invested in the future of cybersecurity talent, connecting with 300,000 students and teachers nationally, calling back to a critical point: For us to invest in the future of cybersecurity, we need to focus on the talent gap and on filling IT positions with women and minorities, expanding our demographics. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

As the conference wraps up, I’ll leave you with my biggest takeaway. While an enterprise mindset can be applied to other sectors, from industrial security to politics to automotive, to reach the next level, our knowledge of the information security triangle needs to spread to educate wider demographics. The future of cybersecurity requires more voices. 

While I loved that at RSAC, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to wait in line for the women’s restroom, it was just another example of our need to continue to grow as a community. We’ve made leaps and bounds, but it doesn’t stop here.

RSA Day 2: Finding New Ways to Explore ‘The Human Element’

RSAC 2020 continues and day 2 kicked off with keynotes and presentations focusing on the prevalence of nation state attacks and the rise of ransomware, leveraging intrinsic security within your organization, and offering an introspective look at the ways technology continues to shape our lives.

For a full recap of day 1’s activities and key takeaways, be sure to check out Highwire’s day 1 blog recap if you haven’t already.

Hacking Exposed

Today’s RSAC started off with a bang as former Crowdstrike CTO and co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch commenced the day’s keynotes with a global debrief on some of the world’s most active nation state threat actors, an analysis of 2019’s top cybersecurity trends (disclaimer: top three were ransomware, ransomware and ransomware), and predictions for the global threats to come in his keynote “Hacking Exposed: Global Threat Brief”. He analyzed major nation state players like North Korea, China, Vietnam, Russia and Iran, and broke down why 2019 was the year of ransomware. “Everyone is a target”, Alperovitchexplained, noting that not only did ransomware dominate headlines in 2019, but also that in 2020 we can expect to see that trend continue along with an increase in threat activity from attackers in Russia, Iran and China. 

Alperovitch also expounded on ways that the U.S. and other western states can mitigate the long term impact of increased nation state attacks – namely by increasing regulation in cybersecurity and expanding the reach of legislative policy in the industry, but also by embracing new technologies and defense strategies as attackers evolve. “The bomber will always get through,” Alperovitch explained. “But just because you have an intrusion doesn’t mean you need to have a compromise.” 

Making Security More Intrinsic

Taking a closer look at the InfoSec world and the current state of cross team collaboration between security and IT teams, VMWare’s Patrick Morley and Southwest Airlines’ Carrie Mills explored ways to make security more intrinsic within organizations, outlining ways to simplify organizational security approaches. New findings from VMWare showed that 77% of SecOps and IT teams don’t engage well. By highlighting ways to maintain positive relationships across teams, both Morley and Mills showed that cross team collaboration will ultimately lead to more successful organizations. 

Technology in New Spaces

But the real highlight of the day was hearing from former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, and the first woman to command the International Space Station (twice), Peggy Whitson, who discussed not only the possibilities that innovation and technology continue to bring to our everyday lives, but also how to embrace challenges head-on, how to work with new teams (even when they’re 238,900 miles away) and what diversity and inclusion mean in the technology industry today. 

Not only was Whitson NASA’s first female Chief Astronaut, but she’s also spent more time in space than any other American astronaut – male or female. Of her 10 (record-breaking) space walks, not one of them came easy or without hiccups along the way. Elaborating on a single instance when an array that was in the process of being deployed tore in space, Whitson highlighted the cross team collaboration – the human element – that ultimately led to the repair of the array and the eventual success of the space mission at hand. 

Teamwork was one of the core principles highlighted in Whitson’s talk, but so was diversity and inclusion – and not just embracing diverse demographics within an organization, but also empowering diverse perspectives as well. Massimino pointed out that ‘if everyone thought the same way, we would have never gotten to the moon’. NASA’s ability to promote collaboration among teams by leveraging individuals with diverse thought processes and diverse skill sets has ultimately led to the immense amount of innovation and success the organization has been able to achieve over the years, Whitson pointed out. “It’s the human element that makes every group stronger,” Whitson said. 

Overall, today’s speakers really highlighted the need for the collaboration – both across the industry and within internal security and IT teams – to solve both industry and business challenges with increased efficiency, and tomorrow we expect to hear more on the cyberthreat landscape.

Anything we missed? Feel free to send us your thoughts, comments and suggestions at SecLeads@highwirepr.com – and let us know if you’re in town for RSA! We’d love to catch up. 

Tune in tomorrow for another recap of #RSA2020 day 3! 

RSA Day 1: Why Cybersecurity Isn’t Working and Where We Go From Here

The #HWCyberSquad is on the ground at RSA 2020, and we’ll be recapping each day’s highlights right here in one place! Tune in all week for the latest from our award-winning security practice.

This year’s RSA theme is The Human Element, which certainly came through in today’s opening keynotes. Speakers and panelists kicked off this week’s conference by critically examining the past, present, and future of cybersecurity, and how we can better secure not just technology, but the people behind it. 

People At The Forefront

We kicked off the day with RSA Security President, Rohit Ghai, who recapped what cybersecurity has looked like in the past, what it looks like now, and how it should ideally evolve and shift as we head into 2020 and beyond. He led by saying that in order to change the future of cybersecurity, we need to do three things — examine and analyze the stories we have, imagine the story we want, and strategize a way to realistically achieve it. He argued that right now, cybersecurity professionals are living in a state of cognitive dissonance. They understand that humans need to be at the center of what they do, but are not doing enough to consider humans when creating cybersecurity strategies. Ghai noted that leaders are being too technical in their approaches to cybersecurity, and that “preparing for the worst does not prepare you for the likely.” By putting humans at the forefront of cybersecurity, organizations will be better equipped to stop emerging threats. 

Designing Cybersecurity For The Everyday Individual

Another theme highlighted in today’s presentations was the need for cybersecurity that the everyday individual can easily digest — not just the experts. Wendy Nather, Head of Advisory CISOs at Cisco, highlighted three ways that we can do this — shifting from a control model to a collaboration model, simplifying the cybersecurity controls we use, and opening up cybersecurity culture to everyone. By designing cybersecurity to be adopted rather than for it to be enforced, organizations can make cybersecurity something that users would rather choose. If security was designed in a digestible, consumer-grade fashion, humans could more easily adapt in their everyday lives. 

Cybersecurity At A Global Scale 

Of course, some of the hottest global issues were also discussed, including the pros, cons, and practicality of quantum computing, and what is being done around election security as we approach voting day. 

Steve Grobman, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at McAfee, made the case that our current practices are far too similar to what we’ve employed in the past — particularly as it pertains to quantum computing. Quantum computing is a real risk, even if it isn’t completely here yet. Panelists on the annual Cryptographer Panel shared similar sentiments, noting that currently, quantum computing is nowhere near safe enough to protect against nation states. All agreed that quantum computing needs to be designed cyber-smart if it will ever be a possibility. 

The same goes for election security – panelists on the Cryptographer Panel compared our election security to a “cyber pearl harbor” and spoke to how we need to engineer our voting systems to be inherently secure. Chris Krebs, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, noted that 2016 was a clear wakeup call, but reassured audience members that federal leaders across agencies are working diligently to make sure the 2020 election keeps voters protected.

Overall, there’s one thing that all of the speakers agreed on today — the current model for cybersecurity just isn’t working. Business leaders and security practitioners alike need to implement smarter cybersecurity measures that put more focus on the people. How humans — both benevolent and malicious — act and think need to be at the forefront of everything we employ if we want to protect against emerging threats at local and global scales.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s keynote recap, and be sure to follow Highwire on Twitter and Instagram for more RSA 2020 insights at @HighwirePR.

RSAC 2020: Everything You Need To Know

RSA Conference is quickly approaching, and the #HWCyberSquad is getting its ducks in a row. For close to 30 years, the week-long conference has drawn the best and brightest in cybersecurity to discuss current trends and challenges impacting the space. 

This year, RSAC’s theme is The Human Element, which will explore how even though an automated future is inevitable, our most valuable weapon is and will always be ourselves. While artificial intelligence and machine learning are expected to fight against threats better than we ever could, humans will always be needed when it comes to making challenging ethical decisions. RSAC believes that “when we recognize that cybersecurity is, fundamentally, about people protecting people, the world becomes a better, more secure place.” 

The Human Element isn’t the only thing that will be talked about, though — topics like DevSecOps, AI and ML, and insider threats are set to take center stage alongside even more pressing conversations around election security, ransomware threats, 5G, and privacy. This year, we expect to hear compelling conversations about modern approaches to security as we enter into a new decade — how are we approaching security in new and different ways? 


Security Then and Now

As we head full force into 2020, a number of sessions will focus on how security strategies have changed and where they are going. Akamai’s talk on Security’s Grand Challenges, Then and Now will look at where we came from, and how our biggest challenges have shifted, and Forcepoint’s talk on Modern Strategies for Protecting Users and Data in a Borderless World will highlight why modern cybersecurity needs a mindset change. Splunk will be moderating a panel with experts from Intel and Starbucks on Modernizing the Security Operations Center, and Illumio will be highlighting why we need to approach the more powerful threats that we are seeing with a new approach — more powerful segmentation. Each of these sessions hits on a key theme that cybersecurity strategies are not what they used to be — and we need to take a new approach. 

As attackers become increasingly sophisticated, we’re also seeing researchers share in-depth insights into some of the most impactful attacks. In a session, SonicWall shares insights into a Two-Week Conversation with a Ransomware Cell which begins with the young leader of a Russian ransomware cell. Nicknamed “Twig,” SonicWall’s confidential contact unveils how alarmingly easy it is for their cell to find, target and attack modern networks.


The Era of DevSecOps

We are continuing to see the security and developer world overlap, as businesses look to shift left and make the transition from DevOps to DevSecOps. We’ll see a number of sessions providing businesses with best practices on bringing security into the development process, from GitLab’s talk on Best Practices for Adding Security to DevOps, to Veracode’s session on helping developers to understand security,  A Security Pro in Developer’s Clothing. From base-level “how to’s” to more technical instruction, the DevSecOps movement is here to stay, and security practitioners will be sharing their unique insights for businesses to be set up for success, including How to Harness Dev and Their Native Tools to Accelerate DevSecOps.


How Identity Impacts Security Strategies

Coinciding with RSAC’s human element theme, Code42 and One Identity will both host talks focused on how identity impacts the ways we approach cybersecurity. Insider threats aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and they’re continuing to impact businesses — Code42 and One Identity outline how practitioners can better secure their organizations by mitigating these risks. 


AI and Machine Learning

New technologies are continuing to impact the ways organizations stay secure — particularly machine learning. Intel will focus on how ML can help from two different angles: how we can use ML to protect privacy in a data-driven world and How HW Telemetry and ML Can Make Life Tough for Exploits. They’ll share the benefits of implementing ML technologies into security frameworks and how it can better protect businesses.  

The #HWCyberSquad will be at RSAC to learn from the experts, connect with reporters and industry influencers, and gain an even deeper understanding of the pressing issues facing businesses in 2020 and beyond. 

Want to catch up at the show? Email secleads@highwirepr.com, and stay tuned for more RSA content as we get closer to the event.


Be sure to stop by the Expo Hall to learn more about each of our clients, listed below: 

Client Booth Locations

  • Akamai: Booth #6153, North Expo
  • BitSight: Booth #1167, South Expo
  • Code42: Booth #6079, North Expo
  • Forcepoint: Booth #5965, North Expo
  • GitLab: No booth but see above for details on speaking sessions
  • Illumio: Booth #5459, North Expo
  • Intel Security: No booth but see above for details on speaking sessions
  • Interos: No booth, but will be on the show floor
  • MobileIron: Booth #1727, South Expo
  • One Identity: Booth #6271, North Expo
  • Qualys: Hosting QSC 2020 at Four Seasons on 2/25
  • SonicWall: Booth #5559, North Expo
  • Splunk: Booth #5865, North Expo
  • Veracode: Booth #5553, North Expo
  • vArmour: No booth, but will be on the show floor

Additionally, check out all of our clients’ events, parties, and speaking sessions throughout the week, listed below:


  1. Forcepoint RSA Welcome Reception 
    • Location: The St. Regis San Francisco, 125 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103, Yerba Buena Terrace, 4th Floor
    • Date: Monday, February 24
    • Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. PT
  2. vArmour Concert Party with Nothing But Thieves
    • Location: The Grand, 520 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
    • Date: Monday, February 24
    • Time: 8:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. PT
  3. vArmour + Digital Shadows Security Leaders RSA Party
    • Location: City View at Metreon, 135 4th St #4000, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
    • Date: Wednesday, February 26
    • Time: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. PT
  4. Qualys QSC Private Reception
    • Location: Veranda Ballroom on the 5th Floor, Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco
    • Date: Wednesday, February 26
    • Time: 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. PT
  5. Securosis Disaster Recovery Breakfast
    • Location: Tabletop Tap House, 175 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
    • Date: Thursday, February 25
    • Time: 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. PT

Speaking Sessions

  1. Veracode’s Javier Perez Talk on “Time to Spell Out Open Source Software Security”
    • Location Moscone West, 3022
    • Date: Tuesday, February 25
    • Time: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. PT
  2. Qualys Security Conference 2020 San Francisco
    • Location: Veranda Ballroom on the 5th Floor, Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco
    • Date: Tuesday, February 25
    • Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. PT
    • Register here
  3. Splunk’s Oliver Friedrichs, Jac Noel, and Lee Peterson Talk on “Modernizing the Security Operations Center: A Security Leader Panel:
    • Location: Moscone South
    • Date: Tuesday, February 25
    • Time: 3:40 – 4:30 p.m. PT
  4. Code42’s Talk on “The Insider Threat: You’re Flying Blind”
    • Location: Moscone North Expo
    • Date: Tuesday, February 25
    • Time: 4:20-4:50 p.m. PT
  5. One Identity’s Talk on “Security Starts Here…Identity”
    • Location: Moscone South
    • Date: Tuesday, February 25
    • Time: 2:10 – 2:30 p.m. PT
  6. Intel’s Casimir Wierzynski Talk on “Protect Privacy in a Data-Driven World: Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning”
    • Location: Moscone West
    • Date: Tuesday, February 25
    • Time: 1:00 – 1:50 p.m. PT
  7. Intel’s Rahuldeva Ghosh and Dr. Zheng Zhang Talk on “Nowhere to Hide: How HW Telemetry and ML Can Make Life Tough for Exploits”
    • Location: Moscone West
    • Date: Tuesday, February 25
    • Time: 3:40 – 4:30 p.m. PT
  8. Forcepoint’s Homayun Yaqub Talk on “Modern Strategies for Protecting Users and Data in a Borderless World”
    • Location: Moscone South, 207
    • Date: Wednesday, February 26 
    • Time: 2:50 – 3:40 p.m. PT
  9. Veracode’s Chris Wysopal and Jay Jacobs Talk on “8 Million Findings in 1 Year: Fresh Look at the State of Software”
    • Location: Moscone West, 3014
    • Date: Wednesday, February 26
    • Time: 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. PT
  10. SonicWall’s Brook Chelmo Talk on “Mindhunter: My Two-Week Conversation with a Ransomware Cell”
    • Location: Moscone North Expo
    • Date: Wednesday, February 26
    • Time: 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. PT
  11. GitLab’s Cindy Blake Talk on “Best Practices for Adding Security to DevOps”
    • Location: Moscone West
    • Date: Wednesday, February 26
    • Time: 9:20 – 10:10 a.m. PT
  12. GitLab’s Cindy Blake Talk on “How to Harness Dev and Their Native Tools to Accelerate DevSecOps”
    • Location: Moscone West
    • Date: Thursday, February 27
    • Time: 1:30 – 2:20 p.m. PT
  13. Akamai’s Andy Ellis Talk on “20 Years In: Security’s Grand Challenges, Then and Now”
    • Location: Moscone West Street Level
    • Date: Thursday, February 27
    • Time: 10:35 – 10:55 a.m. PT
  14. Illumio’s Talk on “More Powerful Segmentation for More Powerful Threats”
    • Location: Moscone North Expo
    • Date: Thursday, February 27
    • Time: 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. PT
  15. Veracode’s Ryan O’Boyle Talk on “A Security Pro in Developer’s Clothing”
    • Location: Moscone North Expo
    • Date: Thursday, February 27
    • Time: 12:40 – 1:10 p.m. PT
  16. BitSight’s Jake Olcott Talk on “Do Investors Care About Cyber Risk?”
    • Location: Moscone West
    • Date: Thursday, February 27
    • Time: 2:50 – 3:40 p.m. PT
  17. Veracode’s Chris Wysopal and Katie Moussouris Talk on “Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure – You’ve come a long way baby”
    • Location: Moscone South Esplanade
    • Date: Friday, February 28
    • Time: 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. PT

What Happened at This Year’s Money 20/20

For fintech and payments companies of all sizes, Money 20/20 is a jackpot for networking and discussions on how technology will impact the future of money. Over the past year, we’ve observed new fintech companies break into the market, VCs flock to fund the next big idea and companies expanding to become a one-stop-shop for consumers and businesses. 

This year’s show trends were just as exciting. What happens in Las Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Las Vegas. Here’s what we saw and learned at this year’s show.

News that had a hot streak

Uber Money: Announced during a keynote, Uber is breaking into the financial industry offering drivers instant payments through a new no-fee checking account and debit card. Uber’s newest venture into finance is the latest venture of a startup venturing into territories previously held by traditional banks.

Amazon and Payments: No doubt with Amazon’s continued dominance in commerce that they’d make a splash by jumping into payments. At a keynote, Amazon announced a simple new Alexa tool, paying utility bills by voice.

BlueVine Business Banking: As startups continue to fill in the gaps where traditional banking falls short for consumers, BlueVine (a Highwire client) announced a monthly fee-free checking account service designed for small businesses – filling the gap left by traditional banks leaving most SMBs to use consumer accounts and pay $400+ in fees. 

What’s Trending

This year’s official #Money2020USA Twitter hashtag saw more than 24 million potential impressions from more than 1,200 contributors during the span of the show. During the span of the show, there was an average of 668 tweets per day with the hashtag. Looking at this year’s trends on Twitter, payments came away as the clear topic of interest. Just behind payments, AI was another buzzword top of mind during the show. Meanwhile, blockchain, cashless and cryptocurrency fell short on capturing Twitter’s attention.

20/20 Planning Tips

With the size and magnitude of Money 20/20, breaking through the noise to reach customers, reporters, potential partners and investors can prove to be challenging. As we enter planning for next year, consider standing out with digital activations. Having an always-on social strategy with video, polls and Q&As is a strong way to cut through the noise.

Using the right hashtags is key to reach a broader audience. For example, using #Money2020 saw nearly a third of the impressions as the official #Money2020USA tag saw, even with about half the number of tweets and contributors.

At this year’s show, Highwire PR had five clients in attendance. With our roots in journalism and deep experience in fintech, learn how we can elevate your story through traditional and digital communication campaigns. Reach out to our payments/fintech lead, Kim Paone, or shoot us a note at hi@highwirepr.com to learn more.

Rock Health Summit 2019: A Look Into the Future of Digital Health

Last month, Rock Health hosted their annual two-day summit in San Francisco which brought together more than 700 diverse people from technology, medicine, policy, and beyond to tackle healthcare’s most challenging problems. 

Industry leaders in the digital health space participated in panels and keynote speeches discussing how far the industry has come and where it’s headed. A few members of Highwire’s digital health practice were lucky enough to attend and compiled a short list of the most interesting trends heading into 2020.

The New Competitive Landscape in Healthcare

Executives from Healthineers, Salesforce and Sutter Health came together to talk about their digital strategies and where the competition within the digital health landscape are heating up. It’s no secret that most tech companies are trying to enter the health space, but why?

The panelists discussed that beyond heath being a gigantic business and accounting for 1/6 of the economy, some of the most important technologies come from the health space and tech companies know they can help contribute. Whether their contribution is providing an app to make things more accessible, providing AI tools to aggregate data or providing security for data, they know they can help.

In terms of competition, the biggest race the panelists are seeing is telemedicine versus traditional healthcare providers. Years ago you would go to your physician to get diagnosed or treated and now we’re seeing retail companies like Amazon entering the space who can contribute and offer services to people.

Key takeaway: Competition is evolving outside of traditional healthcare providers and it’s new players in the space like Amazon that will continue to shake up the healthcare landscape.

Healthcare Techlash is Here

Led by CNBC’s Chrissy Farr, this panel included executives from American Medical Association, Verily and Google discussing what the healthcare techlash is and how companies are dealing with it. Unanimously, it was agreed upon that it is affecting every aspect of our lives and it all comes down to one thing: data. 

There’s an ongoing debate between tech and healthcare companies as to who should own the data and what data should be shared. The panelists emphasized that we need to build that bridge tech companies and healthcare so that we’re benefiting the patient — data allows us to fully understand a patient.

Key takeaway: We need to create partnerships between physicians, healthcare and tech developers to better treat patients. Without these partnerships, crucial data will be kept from professionals who need it and patients will not be getting the care they need.

The Next Frontier of Digital Drug Discovery

Arguably the most heated panel of the event, executives from Insitro, the FDA and Ciitizen discussed pharma’s investment in digital tools, where impact is today, and what we can expect the R&D pipeline to look like in the not-too-distant future. At the focus of this conversation yet again, was data. However, this discussion focused on high-quality data and how this is the key to creating new drugs that will benefit patients. 

What made this discussion so lively was having the opinions from two executives at tech companies and the opinions from the FDA. Both tech executives discussed how there needs to be a shift in drug discovery, instead of mass-producing drugs, create drugs that appeal to a smaller population and treat more specific cases. To which the FDA said that in order to do this they need to build new technical infrastructure to scale for the future and prioritize individualized and tailored drugs.

Key Takeaway: Data is to creating and producing drugs for the future — without high-quality data the industry will struggle to keep up with the demand for new drugs that benefit patients.

Hearing from industry leaders with different backgrounds and their points of view on where the pain points are now and the endless possibilities of digital health companies in the future was extremely valuable. The biggest takeaways from this year’s summit and what we’ll be looking out for in the digital health space would be the need for partnerships between tech companies and healthcare, the need for high-quality data. 

Let us know if you’d like to connect with Highwire PR to talk through how communication will change the game for the digital health industry. Contact digitalhealth@highwirepr.com  for more details.