With in-person events now impossible due to Covid-19, many orgs are taking their security conferences online

Virtual security conferences... an expanding list

The first coronavirus-related tremor in the technology conference space was felt when Mobile World Conference (MWC), a keystone in the calendar that draws tens of thousands of tech enthusiasts to Barcelona every year, was canceled in February.

As major exhibitors withdrew from MWC on health grounds, it was not long before other conference organizers followed suit.

Within weeks, conferences were postponed or canceled outright: BSides in Vancouver, Kaspersky’s Security Analyst Summit in Barcelona, Black Hat Asia, DEF CON China, and Mediterranehack, to name only a few.

The upheaval has the potential to change the technology conference landscape permanently – if the virtual stand-ins prove successful.

Learning curve

As Covid-19 continues to spread worldwide, grounding flights and forcing us to practise social distancing, a number of event organizers have been exploring how to take their events virtual.

How to do so and quickly, however, has been a hard-and-fast learning curve.

“There’s a lot of overlap when planning an in-person event versus a virtual one, which makes it easy to transition as an organizer,” Corie Leaman, ConnectWise director of IT nation events told The Daily Swig.

“We still have to think about the narrative and figure out the amount of time each session should be because people are still going to need to take breaks. Virtualization also means we have to consider they’ll be watching from different time zones and on their own schedule.”

Derek Weeks, vice president of Sonatype and founder of All Day DevOps – an organization well-versed in setting up virtual conferences – also shared some tips with us for companies making the transition.

The first step, Weeks says, is having the right team around you.

“Many companies are racing to transform their physical events into virtual events,” the executive explains. “Hint: your physical event teams can’t easily transform to be the lead for a virtual event.”

Speakers, too, have to be kept in mind. Presenting a keynote at a live address is not the same as an online session, and so Weeks suggests that live audience opportunities could sweeten the pot. All Day DevOps, for example, offers local, satellite-viewing parties with small audiences to speakers.

Finally, Weeks says that live presentations should be considered a top priority, but sessions should also be recorded so those who cannot attend can still enjoy the event.

Online security conferences: 2020 schedule

Here’s a rundown of the upcoming cybersecurity conferences that are now going remote, which we will update as more dates are released:

Akamai’s Edge Live Virtual Media Summit | May 27

Content and interactive networking will focus on Covid-19-related challenges in the media sector, including remote teams and new cyber threats.

Visit the Akamai website for full details.

DockerCon LIVE | May 28

Docker, the containerized development platform, offers 36 technical sessions, a live hallway track with Docker Captains, and interviews presented by theCUBE.

Visit the DockerCon website for full details

Security Summits | May 28-December 10

SecurityWeek is hosting seven virtual cybersecurity summits covering topics including enterprise security, IoT, and threat intelligence.

Visit the SecurityWeek website for full details.

Apple WWDC | June

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will bring together developers, engineers, and product releases in an online format this year.

Visit the Apple website for full details.

Cisco Live | June 2-3

Cisco Live has also shifted over to a digital event, including keynote talks, training sessions, and contests.

Visit the Cisco Live website for full details.

REcon Montreal | June 19-21

Held annually, the conference focuses on reverse engineering and advanced exploitation techniques. A remote alternative, including training sessions, is now expected.

Visit the REcon Montreal website for full details.

Open Source Summit | June 29-July 2

This year’s virtual Open Source Summit offering an “immersive digital experience” with interactive content comprising 230 sessions and tutorials.

Visit the Open Source Summit website for full details.

Black Hat USA | August 1-6

One of the biggest events in the infosec calendar takes its briefings, trainings and business hall virtual for its 23rd edition.

Visit the Black Hat website for full details.

DEF CON 28 | August 6-9

The hacker conference will be free to attend in its first virtual incarnation, and founder Jeff Moss has floated some intriguing new features.

Visit the DEF CON website for full details.

AusCERT2020 | September 15-18 

Australia’s Cyber Emergency Response Team will live-stream tutorials, hold pre-recorded and live conference sessions, and virtualize its industry awards and speed debate sessions.

Visit the AusCERT website for full details.

Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit (SAS) | November, TBD

Kaspersky has announced a new date for SAS on November 18. However, the company has promised an online version of SAS before this date.

Visit the SAS website for full details.

READ MORE Coronavirus response: How security certification and training orgs are tackling the global disruption