We recently returned from the it-sa conference in Nuremberg, and this year's conference was bigger and better than ever before. It turns out that there were almost 20,000 people in attendance (30% more than last year) and we’ve heard that they will be expanding the space for the conference next year. We had an amazing time meeting with both our customers in the German-speaking region and numerous prospective customers and potential new partners.

For those who couldn't attend, here are some of the themes that dominated the discussions at it-sa 2023.

OT Security/Cybersecurity in OT: One topic that was a frequent focus was the rapid emergence of operational technology (OT) security as a top priority for IT leaders. With the growth of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and the IT/OT convergence that comes with it, securing OT environments has become a major concern. What's even more challenging is the added responsibility that IT departments now shoulder. They're not only tasked with devising solutions for securing OT but are also expected to operate OT security alongside their regular IT security responsibilities. This dual role adds a significant workload to IT teams and encourages companies to seek assistance from managed technology partners. The demand for reliable and specialized solutions in this domain is rising, and it's clear that the security landscape is evolving.

AI in Cybersecurity: Artificial intelligence (AI) was another recurring theme throughout it-sa 2023. AI's potential to revolutionize the cybersecurity landscape is hard to ignore. In the context of security, generative AI is gaining attention as a technology that can transform cyber threats. As the sophistication of cyber threats continues to increase, solution providers need to make sure they are accounting for AI-powered threats in their cyber defense strategies. As a result, security vendors will inevitably use AI and machine learning to keep pace with cybercriminals.

IT Consolidation: Companies are grappling with the complexity of managing numerous technology and service partners simultaneously. And this is especially true on the network and network security fronts. In our conversations at the conference, several IT leaders expressed how challenging it is to navigate this complex ecosystem, and internal stakeholders, including CFOs, are looking for ways to reduce costs. Consolidating vendors presents a viable solution. By streamlining partnerships, companies can not only simplify their IT operations but also reduce overhead expenses. The emphasis on cost-efficiency and simplicity is driving IT leaders to consider vendor consolidation strategies.

Lack of Skilled Staff: The shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals was another persistent concern at it-sa. While this issue has been discussed for years, it continues to be a significant problem. The rapid evolution of cyber threats necessitates a highly skilled and adaptable workforce, but the talent pool isn't keeping pace with the demand. As a result, organizations are increasingly looking for external support, such as managed solutions.

It's clear that it-sa is becoming the IT security conference to be at in the DACH markets. We can’t wait to see how these themes evolve heading into it-sa 2024. In the meantime, we hope to see you at one of the other events we’re attending this year.