Infosecurity Europe is, without a doubt, the UK’s biggest cybersecurity event. But the past few years have seen the exhibition plagued by issues; in 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 forced organizers to cancel the in-person event; in 2022, train strikes significantly impacted attendance numbers. This year, however, Infosecurity Europe 2023 was different.
Arriving on day one, it was immediately apparent that the exhibition was back and better than ever. Visitors thronged on Victoria Dock. As the all-too-rare but ever-opportune British sunshine burned away the last rainclouds, the air grew pregnant with expectation, old friends reunited, and remote-work colleagues met face-to-face for the first time. The cybersecurity community turned out in droves, from students to CISOs, salespeople to SOC teams.
The booths at this year’s event were particularly striking; as a What is a Cybersecurity Marketing Agency?A cybersecurity marketing agency specializes in creating and executing marketing strategies for cybersecurity products and services. These agencies deeply understand the cybersecurity landscape, including the... More, Bora always seeks inspiration, and Infosecurity Europe 2023 didn’t disappoint. Be it magic tricks, games, or competitions; it’s always fascinating to see how our fellow marketers make an often dry and inaccessible topic exciting and fun.
But enough scene-setting, for those that missed it, here are Bora’s highlights from Infosecurity Europe 2023.
Competition and Collaboration
The event started with a talk from the legendary, 12-time champion sprinter Michael Johnson. One might understandably question what wisdom a former professional athlete could impart to a cybersecurity audience, but you would be surprised. From espousing the benefits of improving products and services by cutting weight rather than adding features; to the importance of settling our differences to achieve a common goal; to preparing for the unknown, I’d dare say that much of Johnson’s audience walked away thinking about cybersecurity a little differently.
But let’s drill down a little bit more into setting aside our differences to achieve a common goal. When Johnson was at the top of his game, the US sprint team was second-to-none. Despite being a generational talent, Johnson had to fight to make the team, and, in the individual events, his American teammates were his fiercest rivals. However, when the time came to run the 4x400m relay, the situation called for enemies to become allies. And they did so to significant effect: Johnson and his team still hold the 4x400m world record.
Cybersecurity vendors would do well to take Johnson’s message to heart. Of course, the industry is a market, and healthy competition is the lifeblood of innovation. But industry rivalries and profit margins cannot stand in the way of what’s important: tackling cybercrime. Cybersecurity vendors need to collaborate more closely, sharing intelligence and data to contribute to a more secure economy. Whether we like it or not, it’s in everyone’s best interest.
Ruses and Resilience
Another highlight was the panel on innovative deception technologies for proactive cyber defense tactics. Deception technologies are an emerging area of cybersecurity, and it was a real privilege to hear from experts at the forefront of their research. Debi Ashden, Professor in Cyber Security at Adelaide University, was particularly impressive, revealing the extent to which organizations are reticent to admit they deploy cyber deception tactics and explaining the psychological impact the mere suggestion of cyber deception can have on hackers.
However, to our eye, at least, resilience, not deception, was one of the key themes of Infosecurity Europe 2023. This is a relatively novel concept for cybersecurity marketing messaging; resilience has been a taboo subject for many years. Today, however, vendors and their prospects are all too aware that a compromise is nigh-on inevitable and mitigating damages is just as important as preventing cybercrime.
Duncan Mackinnon, Executive Director for Supervisory Risk Specialists at the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) drove this point home in his keynote speech, talking about the work undertaken by the Bank of England and through the cross-market operational resilience group to build the UK finance sector’s operational resilience. When speaking to experts on the show floor, they heaped praise on the Bank of England’s Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), attributing much of the industry’s matured attitude to resilience to the regulation and associated efforts.
Connecting with Colleagues
But the real highlight for me, and I’m sure the other attendees, was the people. Like many others in the industry, I work remotely, and while I enjoy the flexibility and freedom this affords, meeting my colleagues face-to-face for the first time was a real treat. Whether we were bouncing ideas off one another, attending talks together, or just enjoying lunch by the river, my colleagues and the other attendees made this year’s event. I can’t wait to see everyone there again next year.
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