I was at the Minneapolis IANS event last week as a presenter for Tufin Technologies (pronounced ‘two fin’). I have been with Tufin since June of 2011 and have had several conferences that I have spoken at (I also did vendor presentations in the past with Check Point as well). At IANS you get 35 minutes to give your pitch. The ‘salesguy’ usually takes about five to ten minutes for the intro (company history, product list, etc.) which does not leave much time for the pre-sales SE. I have to admit, I did like the shorter vendor format as it really forced me to deliver a more focused message.

The crowd at IANS was also a little different. Normally when I present for Tufin (in-person or web conference) I am usually speaking with more technical groups and their managers. The initial interest tends to come from operations and engineering teams. At IANS, the groups were more GRC focused. These are the people that need visibility into the access control layers, but rarely have it in a format that best supports their initiatives. Their access is usually limited to certain policies and time frames determined by the operations/engineering teams. Products like Tufin give GRC groups near real-time/read-only access into the firewall policies and allow them to look for items of interest like:

  • Unauthorized changes
  • Changes outside of administrative windows
  • Changes that deviate from common “best practices”
  • Changes that violate internally defined security polices
  • Risk trending as it relates to access controls on the network
  • Firewall/ACL rule metrics
  • Just to name a few…

This was the second year for the Minneapolis IANS show, and it was well attended. Most of my four sessions were full, and there was some great interactive discussions. I would say about half of the attendees were existing customers wanting to get a look at the new R12 release. Most of the people that stopped by our room were from well recognized enterprise organizations (retailers, banks, healthcare, carriers) which gives a good indication of the type of crowd IANS tends to draw. There seems to be something about Minneapolis security conferences in that they are usually well attended: this show easily surpassed the one in Chicago.

One other thing I will mention, is that Marcus Ranum was in one of my sessions. A bit of a shift to have a headline speaker show up for a vendor presentation (completely unexpected and maybe one of the benefits of the IANS show: more speaker interaction). The guy is one of the early pioneers for firewall technologies (DEC/Alta Vista firewall) and IDS/IPS (Network Flight Recorder). Made for some interesting conversation.

The next conference I will be presenting at will be the Secure360 event in May 2012. We tend to do some pretty serious dining, so stop by the booth and say “Hi.”

IANS Minneapolis 2012

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