5 Things To Know About The Exabeam Coronavirus Cases At RSA Conference

From Exabeam’s new work from home rules to a GoFundMe pages for one of the coronavirus victims, here’s a look at the fallout from two Exabeam employees testing positive for COVID-19 after attending the RSA Conference.

Striking Close To Home

Exabeam shared the sobering news Tuesday that two of their employees who attended last month’s RSA Conference in San Francisco had tested positive for coronavirus. The SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) startup said it couldn’t confirm whether the two employees contracted coronavirus prior to, at or after the RSA Conference, which took place from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28.

“We recently learned and are saddened to share that two of our employees have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Exabeam wrote on Twitter at 3 p.m. ET yesterday. “If you came into contact with our staff, please be vigilant in monitoring yourself for symptoms and follow recommended guidelines to prevent possible infection. Our thoughts are with our colleagues.”

From a GoFundMe page to help one of the employees who tested positive for coronavirus to Exabeam’s policies around work from home and compensating the employees who contracted coronavirus, here’s a deep dive into how Exabeam and the industry at large are grappling with the potential spread of coronavirus at the biggest cybersecurity event of the year.

5. There’s No Sign The Employees Had Symptoms At The Show

No official governing body has communicated to RSA Conference personnel that the Exabeam employees had symptoms at the show or attended during the incubation period. RSA Conference officials said they’ve been in contact with relevant health authorities to provide necessary information for them to complete their investigation and are following their guidance on how to proceed.

“These are challenging and unprecedented times for our community,” conference organizers said in an email received by CRN at 10:40 p.m. ET Tuesday. “Our thoughts are with those affected and we wish them a full recovery.”

In the weeks leading up to RSA Conference 2020, 14 vendors pulled out of the show, including three Platinum and Gold sponsors: IBM Security, AT&T Cybersecurity and Verizon. But conference organizers refrained from cancelling the show even though other events scheduled to take place the same week were scrapped, including Mobile World Congress, which was expected to draw 109,000 attendees.

4. Exabeam Has Instituted A Work From Home Policy In The U.S.

Out of an abundance of caution, Exabeam said that it has instituted a work from home policy for its headquarters in Foster City, Calif. as well as its offices in Atlanta. Exabeam also has offices in London, Singapore, Mexico City and Tel Aviv, and the company didn’t respond to questions about whether the company is recommending or requiring that those employees work from home as well.

The company declined to say whether the two employees who tested positive for coronavirus spent time in Exabeam’s offices or around other Exabeam employees following the RSA Conference.

Instituting a work from home policy in the United States follows suit with many other Bay Area tech companies, Exabeam said. For instance, cybersecurity vendor Tanium said Monday that all employees globally are being urged to work from home until further notice, and that offices would remain open only in a limited capacity.

3. Infected Employees Might Have Been At The Exabeam Booth

The two employees who tested positive for coronavirus may have been at the Exabeam booth, and the company recommended that visitors to its booth during the RSA Conference be vigilant and follow guidelines. The Expo Hall was open for 23 hours during the conference, including two hours on Monday Feb. 24, eight hours on Tuesday Feb. 25 and Wednesday Feb. 26, and five hours on Thursday Feb. 27.

Exabeam was one of 658 exhibitors at RSA Conference 2020, and the company occupied Booth 555, a 20 X 20-foot booth in the South Expo Hall of San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Vendors with booths adjacent to Exabeam’s include: Cyberbit, DigiCert, KnowBe4, Siemplify, Signal Sciences, Thycotic, and Unisys.

Exabeam declined to answer questions about what hotel the employees who tested positive for coronavirus were staying in, or whether the infected employees had handled SWAG that was offered at the company’s booth. The company also wouldn’t say if the employees attended a cocktail party hosted by Exabeam at the Hawthorn SF near Union Square during the evening of Tuesday Feb. 25.

2. Sick Employees Receiving Disability Pay Equal To 60 Percent Of Salary

Exabeam said on Twitter that it’s providing the employees who tested positive for coronavirus with short-term disability benefits equivalent to 60 percent of their salary as well as supplemental pay and an excellent health insurance program. The company said that its employees and their families are being taken care of.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday afternoon that one of the Exabeam employees who tested positive was a 45-year-old engineer from Connecticut who began experiencing symptoms when he returned home to Connecticut from California on Friday Feb. 28, his wife told the news organization in an email. The man is seriously ill with respiratory issues, Bloomberg reported.

The man’s condition deteriorated the week after the show, and he was hospitalized with respiratory distress on March 6, his wife told Bloomberg. The man was placed in a medically induced coma and is now on a ventilator in “guarded condition” according to Bloomberg. The employee is predisposed to pneumonia due to an underlying heart condition, his wife told Bloomberg, who withheld his name.

1. GoFundMe For Exabeam Worker Raises $58,000 In A Day

The wife of the Connecticut-based Exabeam engineer set up a GoFundMe page Tuesday afternoon that has raised $58,000 from more than 850 donors in just 24 hours. The engineer and his wife are parents to twin infants, and the wife said she’s unable to work for the foreseeable future and will have to complete a quarantine alongside their infant children.

The wife said her husband is still comatose and on a ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Danbury (Conn.) Hospital. She said the hospital arranged for her, their children, and his parents to video conference into her husband’s room to see his face and tell him they love him. The wife said she’s withholding names for privacy purposes, and didn’t respond to a request for comment from CRN.

“The doctors have warned me that this is going to be a marathon, and not a sprint, and we will be with him in whatever way we can, every step of the way,” the wife said on GoFundMe.