Security BSides: The Conference Alternative

Attending security conferences is a great way to learn about new developments in the area of cybersecurity, get valuable information from leading experts, and network with other cybersecurity professionals. Conferences play an important role in the field of cybersecurity because they allow professionals to stay abreast of the latest best practices, research and trends in this ever-changing industry.  

Unfortunately, RSA Conference, SANS Institute, and BlackHat might be financially and/or  geographically out of reach for those, like myself, looking to start a career in the cybersecurity field. Not to mention that it can be a hard sell to your employer the importance of attending a large conference especially when it might not be directly affiliated with your day-to-day role within the organization. Fear not, there is another opportunity that you can possibly take advantage of in order to get your security conference fix.

Enter Security BSides. Security BSides are local events that offer an alternative to larger security conferences. Essentially, BSides is "a community-driven framework for building events for and by information security community members". Their goal is to promote collaboration and conversation among professionals in the IT security field by sponsoring events throughout the year in many cities across the globe. They are small, community-driven, one or two day events filled with technical presentations and demos. Best of all, BSides events are generally FREE because BSides runs as a not-for-profit and relies on sponsors to pay for the venue and other costs. 

I have attended three BSides events in the past two years (Atlanta, Ga and twice in Augusta, Ga) and I love the smaller, more intimate atmosphere in comparison to larger conferences where you can easily get lost in the crowd. More importantly, it's easy to interact with the presenters and fellow attendees during the day long event. It is definitely a conference by the community for the community. I highly recommend attending a BSides event in your area if possible.