Friday Letter: Cybersecurity takes center stage next week

Looking for the hottest new cybersecurity startup trends at the RSA Conference in San Francisco next week.

It’s that time of the year again when cybersecurity bubbles up to the forefront.

Next week, San Francisco will host the RSA Conference, the industry’s annual cybersecurity gathering at the Moscone Convention Center, February 24-27.

And even though IBM and seven other organizations – including one from Canada and six from China – have pulled out of participating or sponsoring the RSAC over fears of the coronavirus, the event is still expected to draw more than 40,000 attendees.

Among those attending the event and the after-parties to discuss the latest in cybersecurity will be numerous venture capitalists. This includes Alberto Yépez, co-founder and managing director of ForgePoint Capital, which earlier this week wrapped up its second fund at $450 million.

Walking around the convention floor, you might also spot Ariel Tseitlin, a partner at Scale Venture Partners, which this week issued its 2020 Security Report, which says that the total cost of all cybercrime is estimated to reach $1 trillion in 2019.

I talked with Yépez and Tseitlin this week and both point to a continuation of data breaches and privacy concerns as reasons why cybersecurity is a growing business.

Yépez noted a shortage of cyber-professionals, which he called alarming. He also anticipates more attacks in the tech industry regarding infrastructure and mobile phones.

Tseitlin chatted with me about how privacy is becoming a huge concern, partly because of public sentiment. The enterprise, though, still constitutes the lion’s share of security spending.

In regards to his annual survey of 300 security leaders, Tseitlin also said a growing emphasis on geopolitics is causing anxiety for a growing number of security professionals in the enterprise.

His survey also found that the top issues keeping executives up at night are threats from hackers using machine learning to attack businesses and hackers generally.

In addition, legacy technology continues to be an obstacle, holding organizations back from achieving the security posture they need. This has forced 65 percent of execs to build security solutions in-house.

This doesn’t sound like it would bode well for the the safety of the world, but it’s always interesting to see what comes out of the RSA.

As Yépez said to me, “we’ll be there in force next week.”

I plan to attend next week, as well, as I look for interesting VC-backed trends.

What do you think? I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I would love to hear from you about cybersecurity or any other sector you’re looking at. You can reach us on our contact page.

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