Canadian security vendors at RSA Conference face global competition

The biggest opportunities in IT attract the most action. These days one of those opportunities is in cyber security, with a number of countries seeing the sector as a promising space to promote young firms offering solutions.

The place they promote them is the annual RSA Conference in San Francisco, which is on this week. Twenty-seven countries, including Canada, are represented by exhibitors and pavilion exhibitors. But the competition for attention is fierce.

Israel, which spends big money around the world pushing its image as a cyber security leader, says over 50 companies are showcasing their products at its trade show pavilion. According to a news story, 45 companies from Australia will be exhibiting, led by the country’s cyber co-ordinator, after first dropping into Washington to introduce themselves to officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

By comparison, 18 companies are represented at the Ontario pavilion, which is supported by the federal government. Of that group, 14 are from that province, three from B.C. and one from Quebec. More might have come but they applied after the deadline.

Ontario/Canada pavilion. Photo by Mauricio Ospina

However, the official leading the delegation doesn’t think this country is outnumbered. There are at least 10 representatives of other Canadian firms at the conference, Mauricio Ospana, the Ontario International Trade ministry’s director of technology for the U.S., said in a telephone interview.
Also, “people know we are partners with the Five Eyes (intelligence co-operative with the United States, the U.K.. Australia and New Zealand.)”

Many of the 18 have been with the Canadian group before. A newcomer is Ottawa-based Corsa Technology, which makes the Red Armor NSE7000 an L2 network security device, and the DP2400 SDN switching and routing platform.

In a telephone interview from the show floor, Carolyn Raab, the company’s vice-president of sales and marketing explained why the five year-old firm decided to come to the conference “The delegation gives us the ability to come to this very large and important security show both economically, and it gives us more of a presence than if we came on our own. It really is a springboard for Canadian companies to have more exposure in a global presence.”

The biggest share of the company’s sales come from U.S. customers she said. ”Our largest audience is the network architects in any large enterprise. So our goal (here)  is to meet as many network architects as possible, because when we speak to them directly it cuts through all the marketing hype.” Another goal is meeting prospective partners and customers.

Others in the pavilion are Echoworx, Infosec Global, ISARA Corp., RootSecure, SecureKey Technologies, Software Secured and Strategm. Also with the Canadian delegation are Alftel Systems. BicDroid, CMD Security, Crypto4A, Datex, Fusion Pipe, Janus Cloud Systems, Kalepso, Security Compass and Vancosys.

The mission, with the help of Canadian government contacts, organizes one-on-one meetings with large companies like HP, Cisco, Amazon, Ospana said. On Tuesday it sponsored a breakfast this morning with members of C100 group of San Francisco area-based Canadian entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and hosted an afternoon reception on the trade show floor.

“We have the same elements” as in previous years, Ospana said, “elements that have proven consistently to be what the companies need — giving them meetings, exposure at the show, information about working with the U.S. government.”

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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