If you are anything like us, you love attending conferences. The expert panels, the opportunities to try out new technologies, network with others in the industry, the after-hours parties, the swag! We even secretly love the long lines for coffee. But then, 2020 happened and it all went completely sideways. As one-by-one events we all eagerly looked forward to were postponed, canceled, held virtually, or pushed back to 2021 it was difficult not to get disheartened.
We are optimistic that good things are on the horizon that we will see the return of in-person conferences at some point in 2021. And if not, well, we also learned that attending a keynote in pajamas has its benefits too. Until then, we’ve gathered a list of our top-ten must attend conferences for 2021.
Gartner security and risk management
When: 23 – 24 March 2021
Gartner requires no further introduction. This global research giant is the force behind “Gartner Magic Quadrant,” “Gartner cool vendor” and other reports that all technology vendors brag about being mentioned by. When Gartner analysts talk, it pays to listen.
This year’s Gartner security and risk management summit will be centered around six tracks: application and data security, cloud security, cybersecurity, risk and compliance management, leadership and strategy, and advanced threat and vulnerability management. We’re especially looking forward to the “Ask the Expert” roundtable sessions. While the full schedule hasn’t been announced yet, some of the don’t miss speakers include Steve Riley speaking on cloud security, Roberta Witty on Risk and Nader Henein on Data Protection
CyberTech Global 2021
When: April 5-7 2021
CyberTech Global is THE largest networking event for the cyber industry outside of the U.S., bringing together hundreds of companies, startups, government entities, and organizations. The event is truly diverse, with thousands of C-Level executives, investors, professionals, and government officials, from over 80 countries worldwide in attendance. Conference sessions center around topics such as AI, Advanced IoT, Big Data, Cloud, and Blockchain, focusing on a wide spectrum of different sectors.
If you are fortunate enough to be there in person, and can tear yourself away from a visit to the Burj Khalifa, you’ll get to hear many speakers from Israel addressing the conference this year, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yigal Unna, Director General, Israel National Cyber Directorate.
Dubai and the “Startup Nation” have recently normalized relations, and cybertech is one area that will reap the benefits of this newly improved relationship. Also scheduled to speak are cybersecurity experts from LockHeed Martin, Microsoft, and the NCAA.
When: May 17-20, 2021
Each year RSA selects a different theme to guide the framework for the conference. This year, for the event’s 30th anniversary, the theme is resilience, and as Conference VP Linda Gray Martin explains, they are planning an expanded program this year.
In keeping with the event’s theme, RSA 2021 is a fully virtual event with plenty of great content available on-demand on their website, including blogs, webcasts, and podcasts. We especially look forward to Celeste Fralick chief data scientist at McAfee, so mark your calendar if you are interested in AI’s impact on cybersecurity. Another notable session not to miss is by Adam Hickey, US Department of Justice where he will dive into response to ransomware risks.
And if you can’t wait until May, check out their 1-day RSAC 365 Virtual Summit on January 27, 2021.
Where: June 2021 Olympia, London
Infosecurity Europe is Europe’s largest cybersecurity conference. This three-day event is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Like the RSA conference, its chosen “resilience” as its theme this year. Attendees can gain practical insight from hours of information and cybersecurity content across governance, risk management and compliance, identity and access control, data privacy, threat intelligence, and more.
The event is attended by CISOs and other IT leaders in the banking, finance, and other industries from across Europe.
The event is preceded by CISO Insight Week February 23-25, a fully virtual event targeted for top level security professionals.
When: August 5-8 2021
Where: Las Vegas Nevada
The vibe at DefCon is notably different from the more stuffy, buttoned-up conferences on the list and more resembles a ComicCon convention than a corporate event. DefCon is the hands-on event for amateur and professional hackers and the oldest event on the list and was held for the first time in 1993. DefCon has been around so long that the first attendees were likely taking notes on their Apple Newton while playing Doom.
DefCon is meant to be a fun, hands-on event featuring wargames, competitions, and great talks on everything hacking related. Experienced attendees know to keep their phone on airplane mode and not connect to the wi-fi – hacking is celebrated at DefCon (you’ve been warned!) It brings together true hacking enthusiasts and people who are REALLY into hacking from all walks of life and backgrounds.
The identities of its 25,000 attendees are kept anonymous, with a competitive atmosphere with lock-picking contests, cipher challenges, and technical pranks. Even the badges at the conference are not simple laminated pieces of paper, but highly complex electronic artifacts full of puzzles.
DefCon features cryptographic puzzle challenges, most often referred to as the badge challenge that consists of multiple “sub-puzzles” scattered throughout the DEFCON. Some challenges are canon and happen every year, some are trivial to solve, and others are notoriously difficult.
For example the black badge contest earns the victors free entry into DEFCON for life (want to try your luck?)
For an overview into the history of the badge challenge, watch this video from Joe Grand, also known as Kingpin, a computer engineer, hardware hacker, DEFCON badge designer. Are you in?
30th Usenix Security Symposium
When: August 11-13 2021
Where: Vancouver Canada
This event by USENIX Security, brings together researchers, practitioners, system administrators, and developers to share knowledge and explore the latest advances in cybersecurity. The event focuses on major themes in cybersecurity such as the human factor, network security, IoT, automotive and drone security, industrial protection and more.
The event is centered around the in-depth academic research papers on all things cybersecurity that are definitely worth checking out whether you are attending or not. For an overview of what you are getting into, check out last year’s event page.
Check out our top picks: A Cache Poisoning Attack Targeting DNS Forwarding Devices and Horizontal Privilege Escalation in Trusted Application.
Blue Team Con
When: August 28-29, 2021
Where: Chicago, Illinois
The antithesis to DefCon, Blue Team Con is an information security conference tailored for those who are performing blue team work at organizations. This event brings together the defenders of enterprises but also extends to the practitioners doing governance, risk, compliance, application security development, and more.
Some great scheduled talks include “”How to successfully implement a Global Threat Hunting Program”” by Alberto Garcia where he will share his experience implementing a global threat hunting program in two Fortune 500 companies, and Keynote speaker Sean Metcalf of Trimark Security who runs the popular adsecurity.org blog.
Women in CyberSecurity
When: September 8-10th, 2021
Where: Denver, Colorado
To be fair, most of the conferences on this list feature women speakers and attendees. Still we appreciate one highlighting women’s contributions to the field.
This event spotlights women leaders in the field of CyberSecurity in academia, industry, and government. It is a great initiative to bring more diversity into the world of cybersecurity, support women leaders and propel each other forward. There is a particular focus on encouraging students to attend, with scholarships and other assistance for women in academic programs. The list of speakers hasn’t been announced yet, but we expect to be thrilled by it! If you are a woman in cyber – make sure to check this event out.
When: October 25-27 2021
Where: Disney Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando, Florida
For 25 years, InfoSec World has been the “”business of security”” conference. While the agenda hasn’t been published yet, we have no doubt that this year the organizers will bring together a great lineup of speakers, as they always do.
InfoSec World event is one of the largest conferences globally, bringing together information security professionals from every walk of life, market, and field of study, hailing from more than 100 nations around the world.
This year’s conference will offer the best of both worlds – featuring an in-person and a digital conference. We advise getting there in person if you can, as you’ll be close enough to “”breach”” the entrance of the Magic Kingdom main gate from the conference floor.
Hack in Paris
When: November 15-19
Where: Maison de la Chimie, Paris.
This event is for hands-on cybersecurity experts with practical labs, workshops, and wargames where you can test your hands-on hacking skills against your peers.
Notable training sessions already announced include hands-on malware analysis and reverse engineering training with Amr Thabet, a vulnerability researcher at Tenable, Lior Yaari sharing boot sequence failure horror stories, and Austin Baker and Daniel Bohannon sharing red team/blue team war stories in The Color Purple
Your 3-day pass for Hack In Paris includes access to talks, workshops, a wargame, and Hacker Jeopardy.
If you can’t wait for all these conferences, and you want more immediate and personalized information on cybersecurity and how to keep your organization safe, please contact us.