The AGC Partner Conference, eh WhaaaatsApppp

by Dr Guy Bunker.

Earlier this week I spoke at the AGC Partners Conference in San Francisco. This is a big event with 300 of the leading public and private technology companies and the top global private equity investors, and leading tech buyers. There were over 1000 attendees. Clearswift presented on the first day- ‘Security Day’- in one of the premium time slots. The session proved popular and I had 1-2-1 meeting requests from seven of the organizations there.

Of course, the big news was the WhatsApp acquisition from last week – and who would be the next one. Vast sums of money paid for few people – but one great idea. There’s been a lot written in the press as to whether the deal was good, bad or overpaid. There was no shortage of opinions among the delegates... most of it driven, not by envy per se, but by ‘wish I had had a part of that’! However, there was also the view that, for every mega-deal like that, there were 10, 20, 100 smaller ones that hadn’t worked out. Silicon Valley is full of huge tech companies and small entrepreneurs – which makes for interesting conversations. A million ideas a minute, but only a few make it to fruition – the great thing about the American psyche, is that there is no stigma to being a part of an unsuccessful venture – it builds character, ready for the next one!

So... what was the main theme at the AGC event (other than how to make money – which is always top of mind)? Tough to call, identity remains near the top of the list. Art Coviello, in his keynote, talked to the need for better Identity solutions – ones which were constantly being evaluated to ensure the person or ‘thing’ was indeed who they said they were. The Internet of Things needs to have a real identity solution. He also talked about ‘smart controls’, ones which could adapt to their surrounds. Our context-aware data loss prevention and adaptive redaction is a great example of a smart control – aware of the environment and the people / systems wanting access to the information, and only being provided what is authorised.

Discussion panels provided some lively debate with topics including the convergence of anti-fraud & security and looking at how endpoint visibility could be brought to network security. As per usual, there was plenty of discussion over copious quantities of coffee and lunch.

So... a great start to an action packed week in San Francisco.