Around RSA

Four Decades Later, RSA Poised for Independence and Market Leadership

Sep 02, 2020 | by Zulfikar Ramzan, PhD. |
Image of the corporate RSA timeline

When you think of RSA, what comes to mind?

Many associate the name with the esoteric mathematical algorithm that made electronic commerce possible, or the annual industry event RSA Conference, or the RSA SecurID Access technology, a breakthrough that global companies trust to securely enable employees to work from anywhere.

Pigeonholing the contributions of RSA in just these three areas (as important as they are) would be shortsighted. There is far more to the 40-year story of RSA …

In the late 1970s, three academics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) embarked on a quest to develop the first instantiation of public-key cryptography to help enable secure communications and digital signatures. They saw where technology was headed and knew that people would need a way to converse privately and securely. Although the odds were not in their favor, they knew what the world needed and tried to figure out how to build it. In April 1977, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman had a breakthrough and developed an algorithm that would become known as “RSA.”

They subsequently established RSA Data Security to help organizations utilize and deploy this algorithm for the purpose of protecting information in the emerging Internet Age.

As the Internet became available to commercial entities, it helped propel RSA into offices and government institutions across the globe. The public keys for the RSA algorithm played a critical role in the development of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, which became the foundational technology for securing the exchange of information online, and enabled ideas like e-commerce and digital banking.

Over the course of a few decades, through trials and tribulations, as well as several acquisitions, the company transformed into a veritable powerhouse that belies its modest beginnings.

Just as RSA rose to prominence as the Internet became available to commercial organizations, RSA is regaining its independence at another inflection point in the history of technology. With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the rate of digital transformation, more organizations and the people who rely on them will become more exposed to more digital risk.

Rooted in our origin story and extending to the work we do today, RSA helps establish trust in the Internet.

The RSA portfolio of market-leading products within the domains of security, risk and fraud are designed to help manage today’s risks, while having the flexibility to adapt for tomorrow’s challenges:

  • RSA SecurID Access protects over 50 million identities globally, allowing employees to securely work from anywhere, accessing both cloud and on-premises resources and giving organizations the ability to verify a user is who they say they are through a variety of mechanisms, including hardware tokens, software tokens, numerous biometrics and FIDO2 authenticators. In 2019, RSA SecurID Access was named the most important product in the past 30 years by SC Magazine. It is complemented by RSA Identity Governance and Lifecycle, which provides continuous access assurance and ensures users have appropriate entitlements. These technologies help customers on their passwordless and Zero Trust journeys.
  • RSA Archer Suite helps thousands of businesses manage an increasingly complex regulatory landscape and gives leaders visibility into the potential impact of all their risk challenges. RSA Archer has been positioned as a leader in the last 22 Gartner Magic Quadrant reports for GRC/IRM-related domains, including: Integrated Risk Management, IT Risk Management, IT Vendor Risk Management and Business Continuity Management since 2012. With new SaaS and on-premises offerings in areas such as regulatory content analysis and third-party vendor risk, RSA Archer empowers organizations to own risk now and in the future.
  • RSA NetWitness Platform brings together evolved SIEM and threat defense solutions that deliver unsurpassed visibility, analytics and automated response capabilities. These combined with the upcoming cloud hosted capabilities, make the platform the only true XDR solution in the market, covering the network core, the cloud, the endpoint / edge, IoT / OT, and digital identities. RSA NetWitness Platform has also been positioned as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).
  • RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence is a portfolio of sophisticated omnichannel fraud identification and prevention technologies designed to protect consumers from financial fraud threats across digital and physical channels, including phishing, account takeover, card-not-present fraud, rogue mobile apps, rogue social media pages and much more. The technology mitigates over $6 billion in fraudulent transactions annually and provides customers with the best return on investment in the industry.

RSA, through RSA Labs, is also investing in projects and research that will help secure the future of your IT infrastructure – whether that’s in the cloud, on the edge or in a hybrid environment. In the past year, over a dozen innovations from RSA Labs have graduated, leading to product improvements and new offerings.

Technologies developed by RSA are already more widely deployed than most (it not all) technology vendors, and we know we can still do so much more. This new, independent chapter will allow us to unlock our creativity, ability to innovate and quickly address clients’ needs. We will help secure the next generation of businesses that are driving human progress and ingenuity.

Every company on Earth is on a security journey during this period of digital disruption and transformation. RSA is the one company you can turn to and trust to take you on the next step of this journey, no matter where you currently are.  With 40 years of success behind us, our portfolio is uniquely equipped to help address your unique, critical areas of risk.

RSA is on a journey of its own, charting a course for the future as an independent company. Along the way, we remain committed to the success of our customers and partners while continuing to be at the helm of this industry to ensure that technology is trustworthy. We are determined to create new innovations that help shape the next 40 years of progress for our industry and humanity at large.


Learn more about the future of RSA, an independent company from the press release or blog post by RSA CEO Rohit Ghai.