You’ve Just Attended a Security Conference: Now What?

July 12, 2018

Attending a conference focused around business and IT security can be a very rewarding experience; you’re met with new opportunities to connect with top professionals in the industry, see new products and innovations firsthand and get brand new strategies for how to best address your business’ security needs. After you’ve returned to your office with a bag of swag and an armful of notes, knowing what to do next can seem daunting.

Skip the post-conference stress and guarantee that you’re making the most of your latest summit experience by following the below steps:

Organize & Connect – Time is of the essence when it comes to conference follow-up; gather any business cards and related materials you received and add them into a spreadsheet. Include who you spoke to, their contact information, any notes about the discussion you had with them and the time/format of your follow up. Be sure to share your new business contacts with the right members of your business and IT teams.

If you’re active on social media or run your company’s social accounts, following related companies and professionals post-conference offers additional ways to stay connected. Monitor and use the related conference hashtag to engage with fellow attendees and boost your individual and company presence organically by participating in the conversation. Also, following presenter blogs, company and personal social media accounts can be a good way to maintain a steady stream of relevant content.

Compile Your Notes – To get the most out of the information you’ve gathered, do a deep dive into the materials and revise your notes to be concise and clear. Additionally, keep your eye out for links to presenter slide decks and video recordings; they will be useful to go back through to see what you might have missed and to pull additional resources (studies, graphs, etc.) from.

Research – After reviewing your notes, do specific research on the products, solutions and resources presented during the security conference to increase your awareness of the latest and greatest, and open the door for competitive analysis.

Audit the current security landscape- Think about the new solutions, strategies and techniques you’ve just learned about. It’s important to understand how security stack compares, if you don’t already have that information. Three big questions you should start with are - what’s the critical data? Where is it? Who has access to it?

Some other things to look into to get you started are listed below, but this can be tailored to the specific items you learned about:

  • Business continuity & data recovery
  • Endpoint & device security
  • Planning & investing
  • Network security
  • Employee education
  • Document management
  • Cloud services

Brainstorm – If you believe you’ve uncovered a new product or solution the company should consider, coordinate with the necessary parties and take an active role in the planning process. Gather your technical team and participate in a brainstorming session to go through the audit, as well as any other relevant notes or takeaways. This should help you understand where the biggest threats reside and what should be prioritized. Once you have narrowed down your priority projects, start working on an initial project plan. Lay out basic questions focused around the security service or solution you’re implement, such as:

  • What security need are we trying to address?
  • Who will be necessary to complete this project?
  • What kind of manpower do we have? What do we need?
  • What technology is required to implement this product/strategy?
  • What are our current limitations?
  • How long do we think this project will take from start to finish?

Make a Plan – Once your team has answered the above questions, you can begin to better understand and address the challenges your team faces, and add more detail to your timeline for the process of implementing the highlighted security need. This way, the team can start off on the same page, identify early kinks and concerns, begin gathering tools and assign roles.  Maintaining an effective cybersecurity defense is cross-departmental, and includes alignment, cooperation and buy-in from the most senior leaders and financial representatives at the company.

Provide Feedback & Reflect – Hosting quality conferences requires honest feedback from attendees. Keep an eye on your inbox for polls, surveys or questionnaires that invite you to share your likes and dislikes, questions and what you got out of (or wished you had) the security conference you attended.

Your task list may seem a little long at first, but with a knowledgeable team supporting you, brand new connections and resources and information to utilize, you’re already on your way towards securing the various aspects of your business. The more you learn and connect, the more opportunities you’re opening for your company, as well as for yourself in the constantly-changing world of security. Get excited for what’s next knowing you’ll be part of it!

You’ve Just Attended a Security Conference: Now What?