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Behind the Scenes: My Days at this Year’s RSA Conference and MISA Award Ceremony

The 2024 RSA Conference in San Francisco is in the books. And it’s about time for a little recap – here are my experiences, my impressions, and my highlights from the three days I had the honor of representing our organization in sunny California.

First things first: The RSA Conference is one of the world’s most important cyber security fairs. And like every year, the conference created a lot of memorable moments with a packed schedule of expert perspectives, keynotes, best practices – and little sleep. By the way: Many of the presentations can be streamed on demand at, which I highly recommend. Also, conferences like RSA are often accompanied by industry-related special events, such as the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (short MISA) award ceremony, which honors outstanding members of the association once a year.

Finally, as if this weren’t enough, I was more than excited to be invited to Microsoft’s internal Fireside Chat “Live from RSA”, where we talked about the topics that took center stage at the cyber security fair this year.

My highlights from San Francisco

I was genuinely thrilled to meet many former Microsoft colleagues of mine, some of which I never had the chance to meet in person before! I really enjoyed the resulting trusted dialogue and exchange, something that is hard to replicate through virtual encounters. And – of course – the same is true for other MISA partners as well! It was great to exchange ideas with like-minded Microsoft partners and to make plenty of new connections, too.

It goes without saying that another highlight was the presentation of the aforementioned MISA Awards. You may have noted in the past months that water had made it to the five finalists in the Endpoint Management Trailblazer category. The day which turns finalists into winners had finally come and I was there to see if we were among them!

The MISA award ceremony

The venue for the MISA Awards was an exclusively rented indoor area in the historical Palace Hotel in San Francisco. A stage, seating and various tables with food and bars were set up there. Everything was very classy.

The ceremony was then opened by a youth dance group from the Bay Area and Maria Thompson, Director of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association, who also demonstrated her amazing dancing skills. The theme of the evening: A journey through time in pop culture. On stage: a wild mix of film, television, music, and technology from the last few decades. There was no shortage of matching outfits either. Each of the nine award categories was assigned a decade.

Things got especially exciting for us when Dilip Radhakrishnan, General Manager of Microsoft Intune, took to the stage – because he was going to announce the winner of the category in which we were finalists. It was an incredible, hard-to-describe moment when he said: “And the winner is ... water IT Security”. My mind was racing, and to this day, that moment feels a lot like a dream. I went up on stage to accept the award and give a little thank-you speech, stressing that this had only been possible thanks to my amazing colleagues at water.

The importance of this award for water

I truly believe that everyone in the MISA association is a winner as we all share the same mission to make this world a safer place. At water, we are fortunate to be recognized for our efforts on this journey, but we really believe in the metaphor that IT security is a team sport. To give you an idea of what this award means to us as a startup in the IT security industry, it’s worth taking a look at the participants in attendance. Among the hundreds of people attending were the “who’s who” of cybersecurity, including the entire MISA team, the Microsoft Security Leadership Team, and the management of leading international Microsoft partners and security companies.

Being part of this exclusive circle is a huge honor for us as a relatively young and still small company. The fact that we actually won the award shows that we’ve made it to the top of our industry in an extremely short span of time. A success that we at water are extremely proud of. It is also important for me to mention that we are extremely thankful for the trust of our customers and everyone inside and outside of Microsoft that voted for us. We take none of this for granted and look at this award as a motivation to work even harder every single day in the best interest of our customers and partners.

What else was going on at the RSA Conference

There was one topic in particular that I stumbled across again and again during my days in San Francisco: Artificial Intelligence and Copilot for Security in particular. Of course, this is hardly surprising, as AI remains the hot topic in our industry at the moment. So, there were lots of discussions around the potential and use cases that this new technology brings with it. Copilot for Security is certainly also at the top of our minds.

Here’s what we’ve got to offer in terms of this cutting-edge tech:
Microsoft Copilot for Security: 2 x 4h Workshop

Just when my inner clock was accustomed to the Pacific time zone, it was already time to say: “Goodbye San Fran!” Next up on my to-do list: Find a place of honor for our MISA Award. And catch up with some sleep.

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