12 Crazy Ads From RSA 2008

Sig-Tec, a Chanhassen, Minn.-based secure identity management software vendor, really made a splash with their choice of advertising for their inaugural RSA appearance. Event officials were forced to adopt crowd control measures at one point due to the large crowd of gaping (mostly male) conference attendees gathered round the booth.

IBM apparently thought that having an ad with people ensconced in bubble wrap would effectively convey the idea that their security is impervious to attackers.

Symantec, which last year bought Vontu, a San Francisco-based data leakage prevention vendor, was proudly showcasing its newest acquisition. The deal will reportedly help companies avoid smug looking guys like the one in this ad from absconding with sensitive corporate data.

RSA is something of a coming out party for Microsoft's Network Access Protection technology, which is built into Windows Server 2008, Vista, and (if it's ever released) Windows XP Service Pack 3.

This banner informs conference attendees that they can win a Zune or 'other prizes,' and one rumor that was making the rounds at RSA is that one of the prizes is the smashed office chair that Steve Ballmer alledgedy threw that one time after a key employee left Microsoft to join Google.

OK, so this might seem like splitting hairs, but this ad for Shavlik's S2 Alliance Program, which is designed to facilitate business around vulnerability management, security policy compliance, and configuration management, hardly conveys the message of 'flexibility.' What exactly is flexible about someone hunched in front of a monitor holding their head up with one hand?

ConfigureSoft, a enterprise server configuration management software vendor based in Colorado Springs, Colo., used a head-scratching quote from Albert Einstein in their RSA booth advertisement. "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Whaaaa?

The creatively named database security software vendor Application Security was quizzing conference attendees on their knowledge of PCI, HIPPAA, and other regulatory compliance issues that have a way of keeping high ranking executives awake at night.

Antivirus vendor Eset used a preoccupied looking robot in the famous pose of Rodin's Le Penseur to perhaps send the message that their software is so effective, IT administrators won't be running around trying to configure and troubleshoot, which leaves time for them to ponder the fate of the cosmos.

Security vendor Finjan, San Jose, Calif., used this less than intimidating fellow to show RSA attendees that their Secure Web Gateway product is like a titanium plated barrier against would-be invaders. All that was missing was some background audio of scary growling noises.

Security vendor BigFix's advertising campaign was based around the notion that when a company's security defenses fail, all hell will break loose. BigFix had a significant presence at RSA 2008, even hiring guys to dress up in devil costumes and hand out fliers outside Moscone Center to people passing by. Of course, this being San Francisco, most people have seen it all before.

MXI Security, a division of Memory Experts International, was pushing the concept of device lifecycle management and how it can improve a company's security, but it was unclear where pomegranates fit into the strategy.

Security information management vendor TriGeo provided a realistic glimpse of what it must be like to be a CIO or CSO and being aware that there are devices on your network that aren't under the control of IT. But guys, you used the same ad last year, how about mixing it up?