(Click on the image above for a larger version.)
Let the fun begin. The call for papers for RSA Conference 2013 is open. IT security pros worldwide are no doubt already scheduling planning meetings, deciphering the potential tracks and topics for 2013, and marking their calendars on the submission deadline (August 16). The level of activity is shocking to those not in the industry; RSA Conference is but a glimmer on the horizon, as it’s scheduled for late February 2013—put the paydirt of an RSA speaking acceptance is motivation enough.
The fact that the show is so far away can befuddle the speaking submission drafting process. What will dominate the conversation in 2013? Will it be generic concepts like mobile, cloud and big data, or more flash in the pan concepts that have dominated news headlines lately—such as flame malware and DNSChanger?
Before you spend hours thinking about and writing what you hope will be the perfect submission, read some of the tips below from Schwartz MSL. Also, you should take advantage of a free webinar from RSA Conference organizers (which this year is scheduled for July 24). You can find more information here. With the right topic and the right amount of expert knowledge, you can hit the bull's eye and get yourself a speaking spot.
Schwartz MSL spent some time analyzing the sessions from RSA Conference 2012, which took place this past February, to earn insight on what it took to craft a winning submission. The Agency analyzed 311 speaking sessions and came up with some interesting statistics highlighted in the above infographic. Based on this analysis and previous recommendations RSA made in 2011, here are some thoughts to help craft a successful submission.
First, last year RSA Conference organizers suggested that submissions target less popular proposed categories like war stories and case studies to create a higher chance of being accepted. RSA also noted that conference sessions are geared toward security professionals with nine plus years of experience in the space. Therefore, submitting an abstract focused toward the expert level is more likely to be accepted. For example, 55 percent of speaking sessions in 2012 were intermediate level or above.
Organizers also suggest including research in a presentation and avoiding hot topics—if they are hot a lot of people are submitting sessions about them. For example, although many security professionals may have insights into the latest malware threat, this category tends to be very competitive. Instead, stick to what the speaker knows best and have some research to back up the abstract. When compiling your RSA submission, remember, research is king. Only 33 percent of 2012 sessions focused on hot topics, while 42 percent included some sort of research.
The third component that speakers need to consider is validating their abstract. Research is important, but it becomes even more valuable when there is third party validation to supplement it in the abstract. For example, suggesting that a customer or analyst present with the speaker increases the chances of the submission being accepted exponentially, in Schwartz MSL’s opinion. Based on the sessions from last year, 44 percent had an analyst speak with the presenter.
We had a little fun and defined parameters for the most complicated RSA Conference submission. Criteria included organizing a panel (including a customer, analyst or venture capitalist) discussing a hot topic based on research targeting an expert audience. Only one session met all these checklist items. Of course, as this evaluation included looking for sessions discussion hot topics, this guidance technically does not support guidance from show organizers, which would advise avoiding trending subjects.
The lesson learned: The vast majority of submissions do not hit our defined bull’s eye, nor do they have to, but by incorporating a few of these element above – research, third party validation, expert presenter – you will definitely increase your chances of hitting the target and being accepted for a speaking session.
While organizers warn there won’t be an extension to the submission deadline, you can follow the Schwartz MSL security practice twitter handle for updates as we get closer to that date.
Good luck with your submissions.
To recieve a checklist to guide you through the submision process click here.
Posted by Nicole Solera on July 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM