Well InfoSec is over for another year and I’m safely back up in the cooler climate of Scotland. London was rather too hot for me to be comfortable in formal business wear, but maybe that is just that I don’t have the right sort of business wear – maybe I should go shopping…….
Anyway, what were my thoughts about InfoSec13, having attended on each of the three days? Well the short answer is that I am really pleased I had arranged to meet people. Otherwise, other than increasing my collection of pens (and some of those are nice) it would have been a pretty pointless exercise. There was a lot of focus on mobile computing and the technical security thereof. Other than 3M there was nobody else who was really appreciative of the range of non-technical risks of mobile computing.
Knowing I am hardly the target audience for this event – being more concerned with user operation than technology- I asked everyone I spoke to how they found the event and the resounding (and to me surprising) answer was that largely lacked sparkle. I know the stands were expensive (and that’s without manning costs) so I understand that the important things were sales that day but I was disappointed I saw very little that was forward looking and neither did my more geeky friends. There was nothing there that people were thrilled at ‘seeing first at InfoSec. there were things, I saw the new removable privacy screens for iPads from 3M which aren’t even available in the UK yet, but I heard of little else.
When I went to meet people I watched people around a lot and there was a great deal of networking. I would think that for many visitors that networking was the best bit. I met some new friends such as Bruce Hallas who I had only spoken to on the phone before, and I had a great chance to get to grip with his Analogies project which aims to give ‘ordinary’ computer users an understanding of information security in a way that is meaningful using that most old fashioned of education methods, the story (or parable) After all it has worked for most, if not all of the world religions in one way or another. I was delighted to discuss future plans with Bruce and Lee and hope that we will be working together soon. I certainly owe the project a blog.
Was InfoSec 13 worth the effort I made to go there? Yes, because I used it as a network forum and there is no other national information security event that attracts so many people and so gives such an opportunity. However, whether it continues to be value for money for exhibitors is another question. Will it change? I think it changes every year, it has to if it is going to attract visitors which in turn attract exhibitors who pay for the event. I would love to see it grasp the marketplace idea and have a few more people actually selling accessories and even small kit. There were a few stand based presenters who ‘shouted their wares’ and drew in passers by, but it was a hard gig and I admired every one who tried. Purchases, even small ones, are a commitment, at least in principle and one that people can compare and lift the ‘buzz about the place. As it was it was possible, and I did it during 2 of my 3 days, to wander around InfoSec as an observer – albeit one who collects pens- not becoming involved in the event at all.
Will I go next year? Yes, if we arrange to meet people there again, but as a showcase for current security solutions, I’ll stick to the web.