NEWS: University of California at RSA Conference 2024

2 attendees of conference

Over 41,000 attendees – including 650 speakers across 425 sessions and 600 exhibitors – gathered at the RSA Conference (RSAC) 2024 on May 6-9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. This was RSA Conference’s 33rd annual event.  

The RSA Conference is a series of global events and year-round learning for the cybersecurity community. The event allows the security industry to converge to discuss current and future concerns and have access to experts, content, and ideas that help individuals and companies “advance their cybersecurity posture.”  

Considered the world’s leading cybersecurity conference and exposition, the 2024 event featured 33 keynote presentations on two stages; a college day that welcomed over 750 students, scholars and faculty; and hosted closed-door programs for select executive and government audiences. 

This Year’s Conference: Art of Possible

The 2024 conference, themed “The Art of Possible,” included key sessions and seminars around topics such as: AI safety, the state of cybersecurity, the human element, technology and foreign policy, defense in a digitalized world, and CISO leadership. From the nation’s second National Cyber Director and the Secretary of Homeland Security to artists and physicists, the keynote presentations offered diverse and interesting takes on community, technology, and cybersecurity.  

Actor Jason Sudeikis joined RSAC’s executive chairman for a chat about teamwork and collaboration, and GRAMMY award-winner Alicia Keys helped close out the conference with a special concert-style performance.  

Photo: Alicia Keys at RSA Conference, courtesy of Cecelia Finney 

From Industry Giants to Cutting-Edge Research: UC Staff’s RSA Experience 

Cecelia Finney, Manager, Systemwide Human Risk Management and Strategy at UCOP, ran into Jackson Muhirwe, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Director of Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at UC Santa Barbara, on the final day of the conference. Allison Henry, Chief Information Security Officer, UC Berkeley, also attended the conference and was able to connect with Muhirwe there as well.

Opportunity to build relationships – Cecelia Finney 

Finney leads the UC Cyber Champions Group – a systemwide team of Awareness Managers whose goal is to strengthen UC’s culture of cybersecurity by developing strategies to mitigate risks associated with human behavior and interaction with technology and ensuring that employees and other stakeholders are aware of and adhere to best practices in cybersecurity. 

Because of the nature of Finney’s work, she was especially excited to attend the track dedicated to the Human Element. These sessions focused on human-centric security, the impact of collective action, and rethinking the human-technology relationship in cybersecurity.  

“RSA has something for everyone in the cyber career track,” said Finney. “As a member of Cyversity, an international organization founded to address the severe lack of diversity (particularly of women and underrepresented minorities) in cybersecurity, I attended an event co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. It was a highly engaging and relevant conversation of seasoned and well-positioned minority cybersecurity senior leaders and professionals committed to building a diverse and inclusive cybersecurity workforce.”   

According to Finney, the best part of attending RSA is the opportunity to build relationships. 
“It’s great to be at an event with professionals who share their experiences and insights and offer potential partnerships that can be leveraged to strengthen our program here at UC.” 

Photo: Cecelia Finney and Jackson Muhirwe at RSA Conference 2024 

Connecting with colleagues from around the world – Jackson Muhirwe 

This year, Jackson focused on artificial intelligence (AI). He kicked off the conference by attending the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) AI summit and wrapped it up with the Open Worldwide Application Security Project (OWASP) top10 for LLMs and Gen AI seminar, both invaluable sessions that directly apply to his role as CISO at University of California, Santa Barbara.  

“The RSA Conference is a perennial favorite for information security professionals like myself,” he said.  

Jackson praised the unique blend and sheer diversity of topics covered at the conference, as well as the chance to see the latest security products. He also pointed out that beyond the formal sessions, RSA excels at fostering global connections and encourages conversations that provide valuable insight, opening doors for future collaboration. 

“This was an incredible opportunity to connect with colleagues from over 100 countries. The RSA Conference truly lives up to its motto: ‘Where the World Talks Security,’” he said. “My goal this year was to meet five new people, and I’m happy to report that I exceeded that target!” 

With over 20 years of experience in information security management across complex organizations, Jackson currently serves as the Chief Information Security Officer and Director of Information Assurance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, overseeing campus-wide cybersecurity programs. His career spans significant roles, including CISO at UC Merced, Deputy CISO at UC Davis, and Interim CISO at City and County of San Francisco. 

Keeping up-to-date on the cybersecurity landscape – Allison Henry

“I look forward to the RSA Conference every year, and this year did not disappoint,” said Allison Henry, Chief Information Security Office, UC Berkeley. “It’s a chance to connect with colleagues across different industries and to keep up-to-date on the cybersecurity landscape.” 
Henry appreciated the content on emerging laws and regulations, new policies, and cybersecurity initiatives from government agencies. This year she enjoyed sessions on the changing CISO role and emerging legal risks, including CISOs Under Indictment: Case Studies, Lessons Learned, and What’s Next and Experts May Decide if You Are a Hero or Will Wear Orange.  

“These sessions brought home the message that with the exponential growth in highly impactful cyberattacks, government regulators are holding organizational leadership personally responsible when risk decisions are not documented and best practices are not followed,” she said. 

Henry was also able to connect with folks at Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, both at their session on cyber volunteerism and the work of the Citizen Clinic (Bridging Gaps in Cybersecurity for ‘Target-Rich, Cyber-Poor’ Organizations) and at a lunch event they co-sponsored (CyberCatalysts: Empowering the Next Generation of Cyber Leaders).  
“It was very inspiring, said Henry. “I am taking back some of their ideas about how to use my expertise to improve our collective security by helping those with fewer resources to defend themselves.” 

2024 UC Cyber Security Summit Around the Corner – Save the Date!  

While we are on the topic of cyber security conferences that bring people together…the 15th UC Cyber Security Summit takes place on October 9 at UC Irvine. Please mark your calendars! Registration begins in July. 

The summit provides tremendous value with top-notch speakers and strategic sponsors discussing timely cybersecurity topics. To stay true to the original intent of the summit, which is to host a relatively small event that promotes networking, there is a nominal registration fee this year of $120 to help offset the many costs it requires to put this very worthwhile conference together. To help alleviate the impact, there is special early bird, non-refundable registration fee of just $85. To see additional pricing and refund information, visit UC Cyber Security Summit

Learn More about UC Cybersecurity

  • Cybersecurity Awareness: There are many ways to engage with cybersecurity awareness at UC – visit the site to learn more.  
  • C3 Tools and Services: The Cyber-Risk Coordination Center (C3) collaborates with UC locations to enhance cybersecurity systemwide. Use this link to learn about C3 services and tools
  • Upcoming Summit – October 2024: Mark your calendars! The 15th UC Cyber Security Summit will take place on October 9, 2024, at UC Irvine. Early bird registration starts at the beginning of July. Keep an eye on the Cyber Security Summit website for more information, coming soon.  


Judi Baker  
Digital Risk Communications and Events Manager  
UC Office of the President