After attending the Edge22 Security Summit, hosted by the Government Business Executive Forum (GBEF), I’m pleased to report that it was one of the best returns on company investment of any conference that I have attended in recent memory. The format, agenda and variety of attendees made this conference different than any other.
The location of the conference, San Diego, California, made for a very pleasant venue. Although the Intercontinental Hotel convention halls were spacious, it felt more like a small group meeting than a big impersonal conference. The gathering provided plenty of opportunity to interact with other participants, exchanging ideas and delving into topics discussed during the numerous panel sessions.
This purpose-built conference delivered the goods. A powerful group of industry luminaries, ranging from CISOs, CTOs, super-users and industry analysts participated in small panel sessions. A distinguishing feature of the panel sessions was how the rooms were setup and how interaction between panelist and attendees was conducted. The panelist sat in the middle of the room facing each other, while the attendees sat a few feet behind, encircling the panel on all sides. The moderator led a discussion with the panelists on relevant topics while engaging the attendees in Q&A’s. This format enabled comfortable group participation, like nothing I’ve seen at other conventions or technology forums. This approach made the discussions interesting, interactive, and meaningful to the attendees.
Another distinguishing factor was the variety of attendees, ranging from federal government, state governments, public utilities, large and small private companies, as well as very large public companies. The variety of viewpoints set the Edge22 Security Summit apart from other conferences. It also uncovered the common experience that all attendees have had with cybersecurity and the challenges we collectively face.
The Edge22 Security Summit did not have the typical long boring speech’s, advertisements, and public services announcements that you may have come to expect from multi-day events. It was a quick moving exchange of ideas and information, punctuated with a few coffee breaks and a casual lunch, during which the attendees and panelists mixed for conversation and reflection on previous sessions.
There was also an element of fun. I attended one of the most enjoyable convention receptions that I can remember, on the deck of the USS Midway, a fabled aircraft carrier from WWII. On the deck were historic airplanes flown in many US conflicts over the last 60 years. This is where we had dinner, music, and more interaction amid the fabulous San Diego weather. The famous Skunk Baxter, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, was the special music guest. This evening event left everyone with lasting memories. Most importantly it was a time when the attendees and panelists could mingle for hours in an informal setting.
This was my first Edge22 Security Summit can I consider it a big success. I met several important contacts, interacted with customers and potential new ones, contacted with industry partners, and made appointments to follow-up with many of them. The conference was personally enjoyable and educational in its delivery of valuable information on the expanding threat of cyber-attacks on US infrastructure, government, and private industry systems.
I’d count the Edge22 Security Summit as one of the best I’ve attended. I further recommend the GBEF organization and their annual Edge Summit (Las Vegas) EDGE23@CES to all private and public companies as well as government officials engaged in cybersecurity.