Last updated at Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:35:38 GMT

Day 1 of #UNITEDSummit 2016 was full of energy, valuable information sharing and empowerment – all perfectly aligned with these year's theme. We saw today how our customers are helping to drive innovation while simultaneously safeguarding it from the significant risk that comes with pervasive interconnectivity. In this age of unprecedented digital connection, the need for security professionals is unparalleled and it is our customers who are the heroes of the Innovation Age.

During the opening session, Rapid7 CEO Corey Thomas helped set the stage for the importance of being empowered and the need to be a leader in the security space during a revolutionary time. He noted that we are seeing more security professionals in leadership positions and that each and every professional in the audience has a higher capacity for leadership than they likely think. When things are in chaos, people turn to the experts for leadership – titles are ignored in favor of connecting with those who have the right knowledge and can solve the problem at hand. He explained that at the end of the day, everyone in the security industry is on a journey together to make things better. Security professional have critical information and knowledge that businesses need to succeed.  We need to create a vision, hone and demonstrate our ability and use our mastery of information to demonstrate our power to lead our organizations forward.

To illustrate the importance of this concept, General Stanley McChrystal, former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, gave the keynote presentation on how to empower experts through his experience leading a military team. He explained that when the best team with the best technology was unable to beat a group that did not have a strategic plan or hierarchical organization, they had to approach the problem differently. A traditionally mechanical, efficient approach cannot compete with a highly adaptable and self-organizing adversary. By creating a hybrid approach, relying on the expertise and knowledge of the entire team, and pushing decision making closer to the problem, you can become more adaptable. Start by creating an environment where ideas are both welcomed and challenged and empower experts to lead.

#UNITEDSummit @rapid7.  If is stupid and it works, it is not stupid.  Gen. McChrystal

— Doug Dellinger (@DellingerDoug) November 2, 2016

What did our customers have to say about the keynote? Check it out below:

The opening keynote given by General Stanley McChrystal absolutely worth attending #Perspective .@rapid7 #UNITEDSummit

— BrianWGray (@BrianWGray) November 2, 2016

After the opening and keynote, attendees had the option to attend one of three different tracks: IDR, TEM and Research. Each track session focused on specific topics to inspire, educate and empower security professionals to drive innovation. Topics included:

  • IT and Security: Best Friends Forever? In order to protect and advance an organization, it's essential security understand what IT needs, how best to give it to them, and how to keep tabs on the remediation workflow throughout. This panel of IT ops and Sec ops experts discussed what each side needs from the other and how to get this relationship back on track.
  • Securing the Internet of Things through Security Research and Vulnerability Analysis: By evaluating and reviewing various research methodologies, this session illustrated effective IoT security testing, how to work with manufacturers to resolve and mitigate discovered security issues, and how to ethically disclose findings.
  • Weathering the Storm: The Art of Crisis Communications: Working in security, the unfortunate reality is that you will face a crisis at some point. This session focused on the basics of crisis management, with an emphasis on effective communications – both internal and external.  It provided strategies to prepare for crisis situations and ensure you are better able to weather the storm.