Sunday, May 02, 2010

Infosec 2010 Review

I managed to spend a little bit of time this week taking in the spectacle that is Infosec at Earls Court, London.

The first thing that struck me about the event was the vastness of it. The number of exhibitors was really quite staggering and the quality of some of the stands was very impressive indeed.

If I had a particular interest in anti-virus, one-time password generation via SMS and hardened USB storage devices, I would've been in heaven as these particular products were over-represented at the event. But how do anti-virus vendors differentiate themselves at an event like Infosec? Well, by giving away an Apple iPad each day! That did the trick for Symantec.

It was interesting to see the various approaches that vendors took to attracting visitors to their stand. The guys at Qualys found a great way of attracting large numbers of visitors by giving away free beer from mid-afternoon onwards. Others tackled the marketing problem by using scantily-clad girls. I'm not sure what the link between scantily-clad girls and security software is but then again, Grolsch and Qualys don't seem to have a natural partnership either.

Wandering around the event entices the sales men and women to accost you. Free pens, stress balls and T-Shirts will be thrust into your possession with white papers and brochures, of course. These freebies have already been passed to my daughters and the white papers and brochures still haven't been read four days later!

And here's the crux of Infosec. For many people, I'm guessing the event has got very little to do with sales leads and more to do with CISSP CPEs and networking.

Of course, Infosec isn't just about vendors trying to showcase their wares. There were plenty of seminars, speeches, workshops and other types of get-togethers. But again, there seemed to be little by way of new or innovative ideas being discussed. A discussion on "Mash-Ups" reminded me of a similar discussion five years ago on "Process Orchestration"! A discussion on "The Cloud" reminded me of a similar discussion five years ago on "Application Service Providers". In other words, the terms may have changed but the concepts have not.

Of course, this doesn't mean the experience wasn't fruitful. It is still a great event well worth attending and it's a great opportunity to meet other vendors/suppliers and catch up with what they are getting up to. I, for one, am already looking forward to Infosec 2011.
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