Association Management Blog

Andy Freed

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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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‘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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"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 or see the full collection at 

 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

Tipping Point

Posted by Andy Freed on 7/20/16 12:09 PM

It’s been over 15 years since Malcom Gladwell wrote “The Tipping Point.” Gladwell defined the tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.”

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Topics: Technology, Mobile

Launching a Technical Consortium: Your Checklist for Success

Posted by Andy Freed on 6/23/16 4:10 PM

You’ve just spent months navigating the formalities of incorporating a new consortium and all the associated legalities and growing pains that will allow you to work with industry peers.

Now it’s time to begin the real work of identifying annual goals and objectives. Your chances for success will be much higher if you build a strong foundation.  Here is a handy checklist you should have before you begin to operate. Most of this checklist is also relevant for other associations seeking a blueprint for operational success.

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Topics: Consortia, Technology, starting a consortia, Launching an Association, Tech Consortia



Andy Freed
President & CEO

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Executive Vice President

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