When the RSA Conference rolls around, it's a time for many industry professionals to finally catch up face to face on a lot of issues they typically communicate on via phone or email. That's what Avivah Shah, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, looks forward to.

What events will you be attending this year in San Francisco?

For now, just RSA.

What influenced your decision?

It's a great networking event and a chance to see a lot of folks I work with over the phone throughout the year. I learn a lot from face to face conversations I have with my colleagues – we exchange a lot more information, ideas and insights that we could ever do over the phone.

What do you anticipate the most as far as conference talks this year? 

Frankly, I don't go to most of the talks. I'll probably make it to the keynotes but that's about it.

Given the RSA/NSA news, what kind of impact do you feel this will have on the show this year?

I think the impact will be felt in who does not show up to the conference. But it's illogical for people to boycott the conference since RSA, the encryption company, has little to do with the RSA security show.

What are some pressing concerns/threats in the industry that you feel will be discussed this year?

The NSA surveillance and what it's done to the U.S. technology market. Advanced threats – not much has changed since last year in terms of our ability to conquer them. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks because the big ones keep on coming. Advanced malware and our general inability to detect it. Additionally, our inability to siphon off the noise in our monitoring systems (too much to monitor and too many false alarms). And our need for a new security paradigm – what we have isn't working very well.