AI and Machine Learning Hot Topics at RSA Security Conference

Despite concerns about the coronavirus that led some big-name exhibitors to pull out of the event, the annual RSA Security Conference (RSAC) got underway this week in San Francisco, packing the Moscone Center with an estimated 40,000 attendees and cybersecurity mavens from around the world.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are playing an increasingly important role in cybersecurity, and several announcements of new and updated products that use these technologies stood out at this year's RSAC event.

  • It's telling that the winner of this year's Innovator Sandbox Contest was the provider of an AI-powered PrivacyOps solution. The Silicon Valley-based company earned the title "Most Innovative Startup of 2020." Its solution automates privacy compliance with "People Data Graphs" and robotic automation. The product is designed to allow enterprises to "give rights to people on their data, comply with global privacy regulations, and build trust with customers," the company said.
  •  Juniper Networks: Already a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, the Sunnyvale, CA-based company announced some additions to the Juniper Connected Security solution portfolio at the show, including new encrypted traffic analysis for the Juniper Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP) Cloud and SRX Series firewalls, and the integration of SecIntel with the Mist platform for wireless access. These additions "build upon Juniper's vision of a Threat-Aware Network that leverages AI in IT for tighter security, lower operational costs, and optimized user experiences," the company said.
  • Pindrop: The voice security and authentication solutions provider launched of a new version of its voice recognition technology, Deep Voice 3, at the conference. Built on advanced machine learning and deep neural networks, Deep Voice 3 is designed to is designed to more accurately recognize the voice of callers at a contact center with less speech. This capability allows end-users to be authenticated more quickly, which makes for a smoother customer experience and a more efficient and secure contact center, the company said.
  • Fortinet: The global cybersecurity solutions provider unveiled FortiAI at this year's RSAC, which the company describes as a "first-of-its-kind" on-premises appliance that leverages self-learning Deep Neural Networks (DNN) to speed threat remediation and handle time consuming, manual security analyst tasks. The DNN, FortiAI's Virtual Security Analyst, was developed by FortiGuard Labs, the company's threat intelligence and research team. "AI is paving the future for cybersecurity solutions that can stay ahead of evolving threats," the company said.
  • SparkCognition: The company previewed the upcoming 3.0 release of its next-generation, AI-based endpoint protection solution, DeepArmor, which is scheduled to launch in March. Version 3.0 is a major release that includes a collection of new features designed to make DeepArmor easier to deploy and manage by security teams. The company is also adding numerous platform security features, such as Personal Firewall and Exploit Protection, to improve protection for systems and endpoints. "The 3.0 product release focuses on delivering a seamless user experience for MSSPs and security end users that takes full advantage of DeepArmor's industry-leading AI threat detection models," the company said.

Concerns about the coronavirus led an estimated 1.2 percent of attendees to cancel their registrations this year (about 500 people), and some big name vendors, including IBM, Verizon, Facebook, and AT&T, pulled out of the conference, event organizers said in a statement. Fourteen exhibitors, including six from China, seven from the U.S, and one from Canada, cancelled this year.

IBM explained its decision in a Feb 14 tweet:  "The health of IBMers is our primary concern as we continue to monitor upcoming events and travel relative to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are cancelling our participation in this year's RSA conference."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at