Association Management Blog

Musings from the RSA Conference

Posted by Andy Freed on 2/16/17 4:38 PM


The RSA Conference is this week in San Francisco. This event is like the annual prom for the security industry—part conference, part trade show, part “place to be.” In the midst of all the Diet Cokes that I shared with various conference participants, a few musings about the world of security have become clear.

First, the level of threat exposure has never been higher. It wasn’t long ago that security meant PC security. Now it’s mobile and every connected device in your home. Many of which have huge vulnerabilities. Imagine if you were the fire prevention industry and every home was built out of balsa wood. That’s the security industry today—operating in an environment with ubiquitous threats. No doubt, a good time to be in the space.

Second, the “killer app” in security is going to be simplicity. We need simple solutions that users can actually use. That’s why I’m excited about solutions like FIDO authentication that strives to eliminate passwords. Back to the analogy of a home, many of today’s security solutions trade the simplicity of turning up a thermostat with the skills required to actually write the code of the next generation of smart home thermostats. The genius of FIDO is that it improves security through a modern approach to authentication while enhancing the user experience at the same time.

On a related note, people remain the weak link in the “security triangle” of “People, Process and Technology.” Like a smoke detector with a failing battery, no security solution can overcome human error. The best solutions will remove “people” from the equation.

Finally, I was pleased to see the conference include a track this year on women in cybersecurity. For a long time, the RSA Conference had the gender diversity of an MIT fraternity party. I’ve been seeing it change over the years and it’s great to see efforts like this geared toward attracting more women to the field.

It was also great to see some our clients making an impact at RSAC, including the Kantara Initiative, FIDO Alliance and SAFECode.

See you next year!
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Topics: security

Super Lessons

Posted by Andy Freed on 2/13/17 11:31 AM

I know the rest of the country doesn’t want to hear it, but all I’ve watched on TV this week is Super Bowl highlights.  I’ve watched the replay of the game.  I’ve watched the NFL films featuring the mic’d up players.  And I’ve watched endless post-game analysis.

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The Most Important Things to Consider When Creating Your Association’s Annual Budget

Posted by Tim Naughton on 12/12/16 11:59 AM


The budget: The lifeblood of any organization.

Nonprofit and for-profit organizations wrestle continually with maintaining and improving their overall operations. Regardless of tax status, organizations must constantly strive for sustainability while keeping the mission in mind.

Budgets should be a major part of every organization's plan. The budget is the realistic financial blueprint for the manifestation of an organization’s mission and goals. A well-planned budget will focus on the primary goals and objectives of the organization and provide financial and programmatic adaptability— key ingredients to maximize sustainability – for both the short and long terms.

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Topics: Association Management, Management, Finance, Budgeting

‘Tis the Season for Giving

Posted by Andy Freed on 12/9/16 12:30 PM

We’re fortunate at Virtual to be in a position to support many worthy causes in the Boston area.  Over the past few years, we’ve given tens of thousands of dollars to charitable causes ranging from the Jimmy Fund, to supporting employees who participate in various charity walks and runs, to volunteering our time at Habitat for Humanity and more.

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Topics: holiday

Black Friday: Brought to you by Virtual

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/23/16 3:14 PM

We’ve all had one of those days when you think that your job has no meaning. And I’m sure some people look from the outside at someone working in technology consortia and think “Wow…that’s pretty arcane.” But I need to look no further than Black Friday and Cyber Monday to realize that the work we do here at Virtual has a pretty significant impact on the world.

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Topics: Tech Consortia, Association

Happy Birthday, Standard Time

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/18/16 10:36 AM

On this day in 1883, time zones launched in the United States.  Prior to the time every major city had a "noon stick" where the sun being overhead set the time for noon and time was extrapolated from there. Who cared if Boston was a few minutes earlier than New York when the two were days apart on horseback.

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Topics: Standards

The Four Secrets to Making a Big Impression at Your Member Event

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/3/16 9:50 AM

Our team just wrapped up another PCI Security Standards Council Community Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.  With hundreds of attendees, scores of speakers and dozens of exhibitors, the meeting—and its counterparts in the US and Asia—have a ton of moving parts.

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Topics: Meetings, Conference Planning, Event Planning

Remembering a Special Client

Posted by Andy Freed on 9/7/16 11:27 AM

Some sad news, as Joe Pavlat, the long time president of Virtual's oldest client, PICMG, passed away last week.  Joe was more than a client—he was a good friend to many at Virtual and will be sorely missed.  There is a great remembrance of Joe on this page.  I hope you'll take a moment to read it. 

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Pros and Cons of Remote Association Employees

Posted by Bruce Rogers on 8/9/16 1:12 PM

Upsides include cost savings and a much broader talent pool; challenges include time management oversight, coordinating communication, long-distance IT support.

If your association is in hiring mode, a key consideration is whether your employees will work together physically in a central location, or whether some or all will work remotely (also called "teleworking"). For many small or mid-size associations, having a large physical headquarters is not economically feasible; for others, it can be a conscious choice to take the remote approach or create a hybrid of the two. 

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Topics: Working Groups, Association Management, Association, Association Boards

"Vacation Begins"

Posted by Andy Freed on 8/2/16 1:16 PM

One of our core values at Virtual is “Have fun.” Well, I’m a big believer that fun (and creativity) can be found in even the most mundane of places. Like an out-of-office message. For the past few years, I’ve done “something different” for my message. You can see this year’s edition at www.andyfreed.video or see the full collection at www.andyisooo.com. 

 And if we can make an out-of-office message fun, imagine what we can do for your message! Got something you want to share with the world? Let’s talk….when I get back from vacation!

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Topics: Association Management

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Andy Freed
President & CEO

Greg Kohn
Executive Vice President

Bruce Rogers
Founder & Chairman

Terry Lowney
Senior Vice President, COO

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