Explore, Challenge, Progress: Make The World a Better Place

What a day! Rapid7’s UNITED Summit officially kicked off today at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. Joined by our partner sponsors Code42, CyberArk, Recorded Future and Red Seal, Rapid7 welcomed 500 attendees. UNITED kicked off the conference with the surprise opener Blue Man Group. Now if that’s not a welcome to Boston, I don’t know what is!

blue-man-group

Corey on optimism

Following the fun of the Blue Men, Rapid7’s CEO Corey Thomas took the stage and challenged the audience to rethink how we align IT and Security organizations. Corey discussed that the way we structure security today often separates it from innovation resulting in vulnerabilities and unnecessary risk. Put simply, we need to change. He led us through history, and the resistance of humanity to change. Change is hard work, but with a highly engaged community and a willingness to let go of the shackles of the past, we can solve problems. Corey drove home the point that security, IT and DevOps can innovate collaboratively but not until we break down the siloes that persist throughout organizations. Lastly, he asked the audience to fully immerse themselves in UNITED and allow themselves to explore automation, exchange ideas with peers, and find new ways to use data and analytics to improve their outcomes.

Next up was our keynote speaker, the brilliant Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT's Media Lab. Nicholas’s view on the decline of business and the rise of art and design to fuel innovation was truly fascinating. Negroponte took us through the work he’s done over the years at MIT’s Media Lab including lenticular photographs, film, and how he has continuously pushed innovation by rethinking the way we do things. He asked the audience to imagine a world without nations, film, record, CD’s, scheduled TV, offices, suburbs, ownership, privacy and death. Why? He was pushing us to think differently, innovate and move forward. He posed the probability that perhaps one day the line between the human world and natural world will be indistinguishable. Lastly, he asked us to consider whether connectivity was a human right and what it means for something to be a human rights. Nicholas’s ideas pushed me and everyone in the audience to think about challenges differently.

Rapid7’s Chief Product Officer Lee Weiner, and SVP of Customer Success Stephanie Furfaro, then took the audience through how Rapid7 understands and delivers on customer centered innovation. Rapid7 places heavy emphasis on having customers involved in the process when creating, innovating and improving our products. Lee and Stephanie talked through many ways we make this happen across our platform and purpose-built solutions for threat exposure management, incident detection and response, IT operations and automation. And yes, things can happen, automatically!

Customer-centered innovation at UNITED

Just before lunch, we wrapped up with the Customer Awards presentation. Carol Meyers, Rapid7’s Chief Marketing Officer, took the stage to recognize our three customer award recipients for their dedication to and impact on the IT and security community. The All-Star Advocate Award winner was Kari Kuehneman, Technology Services Analyst, Security at Hormel Foods, The Community Captain Award went to Colin Morgan, Director R&D and Product Security at Johnson & Johnson and The Security Superhero Award was given to Ronald Ulko, Senior Information Security Forensics and Intelligence at Domino’s Pizza. A huge congratulations to our amazing customers. You can find out more about the awards here.

customer-awards-united

After lunch, conference attendees participated in sessions across four tracks. Detect and Respond explored approaches for monitoring operational performance, detecting suspicious activity and responding to events; Assess and Remediate, taught strategies and techniques for measuring and managing your network and app risk; Phish, Pwn & Pivot which included a Capture the Flag (CTF) session, and Research and Policy, where our amazing research team sharing great insight about all the projects and research they’ve been up to.

UNITED track sessions had options for everyone

Individual track sessions included material on everything from automation and container security to the evolution of the CVE and cybersecurity for trade agreements. The Metasploit crew kicked off their exclusive UNITED CTF, Deral Heiland and Craig Smith led an IoT lab complete with hands-on demos, and a slew of different Rapid7 teams gave 1:1 expert consultations (at no cost!) for attendees. Our customer engagement station helped customers learn how they can be involved in our customer advocacy program, VoiceUp, which includes programs such as focus group, product betas, UX feedback, speaking opportunities and more.

No slides needed for IoT hacking

Lastly, the day ended with our industry roundtables, led by customers for customers. These groups across financial services, healthcare, education and more spent the last 90 minutes of the day getting to know one another, talking about critical issues and topics across their businesses and solving problems together. This was an exclusive session where peers could share openly with each other the challenges they face - and Vegas rules applied - what happened at the roundtable stayed at the roundtable.

To finish day one, all attendees headed off for the lively UNITED party which I’m sure will have everyone talking tomorrow morning. UNITED Day 1 was the best yet, and I should know, I’ve been at all but one UNITED. Day two has just as much in store so stay tuned.

Want to gear up for tomorrow? Plan your day with the full agenda, and if you’re extra motivated, get up early to join the UNITED running club for a 5K jogging tour of Boston! Not here in person? Follow the #R7UNITED hashtag on Twitter and take advantage of the UNITED live stream showing tomorrow’s fireside chat and Dan Geer’s closing keynote. Thanks to everyone who made the trip out to Boston to join us this week, and to those of you watching at home! You’re all our heroes.