As a small or mid-sized business, you likely don't have deep training pockets, much less time. Choosing the right conferences is critical. Conferences can offer you the ability to:
- Get trained in a short time on the latest trends and tactics
- Network with peers for possible teaming, hiring, or mentoring
- Find out about free assets, knowledge, groups, etc. to help you learn all year
- Explore new tools to help automate processes or shore up weaknesses
In cybersecurity, you have a wide variety of conferences to choose from—almost too many. Besides that, conferences cost time and money. You can assume $2–4K for a 2–4 day conference. And that doesn't even include travel costs. If you are just getting started, you may not yet know what is worth your time or investment.
So, let’s take a look at six options, across all price ranges, that will give you the best value for your time and money.
Top 6 Recommended Conferences for SMBs
- B-sides. These are small, inexpensive conferences that offer great technical speakers that are usually local. They hold events all over the United States and generally shadow larger conferences like RSA and BlackHat. This means that you can be in the same city, rubbing shoulders with tech leaders, but at a lower price tag.
- ISSA Chapter Meetings, Conferences, and Summits. These offer affordable, local events that can be content- and networking-rich environments.
- Local CONS. These are cybersecurity-oriented conferences (CONS) that are popping up in what seems to be every state. Our favorite— CyberCON—can give you access to some of the same thought leadership that you might see in larger conferences.
- BlackHat USA. An expensive option no doubt, but the training programs are wonderful. There are hands-on opportunities to learn and the conference is growing every year. This means that getting into this network will be sure to help you grow yours. This conference is also great for red teamers and aspiring cyber experts.
- SANS summits. Another expensive option, but these summits provide valuable training that helps your team obtain certifications and bring additional value to your company. This option is great for red teamers, analysts, and IT administrators—or really anyone who would benefit from more formalized certification classes.
- Gartner. While this can be expensive, you’ll gain access to a full suite of market knowledge. This means the focus is more on cybersecurity trends and how to prepare for them. While this is good information for anyone, managers (rather than technologists) might see more immediate benefits from attending this conference. As an added benefit, it offers analyst 1:1 meetings and access to all of the materials in podcast and PowerPoint format.
What if you don’t have time or money to attend an event right now? Bonus Tip: Subscribe to the CyberWire. It’s free and will keep you in the loop on all things cyber—from new products to new threats. It also maintains a great list of events at https://thecyberwire.com/events.html.
Bonus Tip 2: Follow Tech & Cyber Security Trends on BrightTalk. Katzcy does a great job providing informative webinars for companies of all sizes.