Top 3 Takeaways from the Gartner Risk & Security Summit

11 Jun Top 3 Takeaways from the Gartner Risk & Security Summit

By Tom Young, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales

As the leaders of the security industry depart Washington’s National Harbor this week, it’s time to reflect on the top themes from this year’s conference.

It’s a small world after all, for security vendors too

Everyone’s painfully aware of the never-ending story about negative cyber security employment. You can’t attend a single session at Gartner without hearing some list of “scary” statistics about the overwhelming lack of qualified cyber security talent. But what’s amazing about this conference, attended by thousands of commercial, government and academic enterprises across the industry, is how many vendor people know each other. Every attendee seems to know dozens of former colleagues from working multiple stints at different security companies over the years. It’s as if everyone’s riding a giant merry-go-round, hopping on and off different horses, but always spinning in the same circle. Virtually every firm is clamoring for the same skilled talent that’s so desperately rare. And this dynamic is just as acute in the vendor world as it is the practitioner one. Ask any security executive about their top three challenges and recruiting is sure to be one of them. Experienced candidates are in demand across a growing number of roles within existing and emerging security firms, from Product Managers and Sales Engineers to Channel Managers and Technology Executives. The industry needs to grow this qualified pool of resources as much as those who actually use these tools.

Gartner’s “Magic Quadrants” reign supreme

Amazon’s now famous mantra of “No PowerPoint” during meetings has both its fans and detractors, but no matter how many people tell you they hate PowerPoint, they are still captivated with Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. Everyone loves a winner and everybody wants to know the score. The Magic Quadrant has become the quintessential “Consumer Reports” of technology rankings and it’s no different for security vendors. Every prospective customer and security start-up investor asks “Is there a Magic Quadrant for your category and where are you listed?” (if they’re included at all). It’s just a natural, human instinct to want things organized, categorized and scored. Judging from the packed-to-capacity rooms for the Gartner Magic Quadrant presentation sessions, it’s clear not everyone shares Jeff Bezos’ disdain for PowerPoint. So, while there are obvious merits to Amazon’s mantra, it would appear that PowerPoint is alive and well at the Gartner conference, where established and start-up security vendors live and die by their Magic Quadrant ranking.

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SOAR is here to stay

What we found interesting beyond Gartner’s presentation on SOAR solutions was just how packed the rooms were for these talks. It’s hard to imagine a year ago that this many people would converge for a discussion about a market born out of the shortcomings of SIEMs and other security vendor products, yet here we are. And perhaps more interesting than the high level of interest in SOAR is the growing consensus that enterprises need a consolidated platform to integrate across the entire Security and IT landscape, instead of just offering detection and remediation capabilities as part of individual point solutions for email, endpoint and vulnerability management. And while the age-old “feature vs. category” debate continues for some, it’s clear from the interest, conversations and focus on pure-play SOAR platforms at the Gartner conference that this new category is here for awhile.

What were your takeaways from the show? What are your keys to security? Be sure to let us know.

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