What a week! The 20th RSA Conference is over and it was great to see the masses back out at the Moscone again. I don’t think it’s been this big in a while, but if the parties are any indication, companies are spending money again.

Cloudy Day, by Jeff Golden

I want to say congrats to all the Social Security Blogger Awards nominees and winners! The selection committee did a great job this year selecting a group of absolutely fantastic individuals. Also, thank you to Securosis for putting on the Disaster Recovery Breakfast. That was much needed, and it also was a place for Anton & I to plan out the 3rd edition of our book! Wait until you see what we have in store for you!

Now, on to an observation about the vendors at the conference. When you walk into the Expo center in Moscone South, it’s like being dropped into Times Square for the first time. So many lights, sounds, giveaways, and scams! The center of the hall is where the big booths are, but one of my favorite things is to work my way toward the edges to see what new (or small) companies are doing. Every year seems to have a theme, and this year the marketing f0lks overdid the cloud security message. So much so, that when I walked by several booths that claimed to secure the cloud, I stopped to listen to a pitch that was about providing security services from the cloud, not securing the cloud.

Note to vendors: securing the cloud is a VERY different task from providing security services via the cloud.

I wasn’t the only one that noticed, either. I was speaking to several colleagues at the Blogger meet-up and other social events and they had the exact same observations. Is it an issue of bait and switch? Or is it the same problem the cloud has faced over the last several years in that it can be defined in a number of ways?

I think it is a little bit of both, but the responsibility for fixing this lies on the marketing managers that craft the messaging in the first place. You might create some buzz initially and get foot traffic, but unless your solution matches your messaging, or you have some other super-compelling product or service ((None of the vendors at the show that claimed to secure the cloud but didn’t fit this description.)), you are only doing yourself a disservice.

Even though RSA Conference 2011 is only just over, I’m already thinking about RSA Conference 2012. I hope to see you there!

This post originally appeared on BrandenWilliams.com.

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