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As I walked around the RSA Conference in San Francisco last week, I noticed that there were a lot of small- to mid-sized vendors, and a lot of overlapping capabilities in evidence. From my perspective, it feels like we are in the part of our industry’s cycle in which vendors start merging, buying, and otherwise consolidating.  It will be interesting to see who leads the charge this time – I don’t think it will be just the “big name security brands” leading this consolidation over the next couple of years.

Buzzword BINGO

Another thing I noticed was the number of buzzwords this year.  With so many vendors on the show floor using the same nouns and verbs (and all claiming to be better than the guys a few booths away), I don’t envy today’s security buyers who have to sort it out.

One afternoon I walked around and began tallying some of the buzzwords I saw, as represented by this word cloud (and yes, I did just use the word “cloud”):

WordCloud RSA2013

This is by no means scientific and doesn’t represent the whole show floor (I got bored with making tick marks after about an hour), but it should  give you a taste of the kinds of words that were flying around this year at the largest infosec event on the planet.

It was interesting to see how popular “Risk” was this year, and to hear the amazing variety of meanings conveyed as vendors described what they mean by that word.  The facilitator in one of the peer-to-peer sessions I attended compared this phenomenon to that line in The Princess Bride – “You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means…”  By and large, I’d have to agree.

At least “sequestration,” “fiscal cliff” and “Gangnam Style” didn’t make the list…