An infosec revolution in Boston

SOURCE Boston, B-Sides and Beansec: Boston takes its turn as infosec event hub next week.

If your focus is information security, Boston is the place to be next week. A perfect storm of events is brewing, and I've come to anticipate this time of year the way a kid anticipates Christmas.

First up is a special edition of BeanSec, usually the third Wednesday of each month but moved to Tuesday to coincide with the start of the other events. It's a relaxed affair with no presentations or agenda. Industry practitioners meet over food and beverages and discuss any number of security issues. Some walk away with a solution to a problem. Everyone walks away with at least one new contact.

BeanSec is usually held at the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge starting around 6 a.m. This time it'll be held at the Seaport Hotel, site of the next event worthy of mention.

The SOURCE Conference is the main event, a still-new event that started in 2008. What's difference about SOURCE Boston compared to other conferences is that, instead of being run by a paid crew from whatever company puts it on, it is run by Stacy Thayer, founder and executive director of the event, and an army of volunteers from all corners of the industry. The volunteer effort gives SOURCE a more grassroots feel compared to something like RSA Conference or Black Hat.

Highlights will include keynotes from former federal cybersecurity czar Andy Purdy and Oracle CSO Mary Ann Davidson. From there, there will be a long list of smaller sessions dealing with everything from cloud computing to smart phone security threats and the implications of the Google Aurora attack.

Right on the heels of SOURCE Boston is a weekend edition of Security B-Sides, billed as an anti-conference of sorts; a place where practitioners can go for an alternate, stripped-down view of the industry.

I attended the B-Sides San Francisco event last month -- the same week as the RSA conference and walked out with two arms full of content for future articles; all instructive material designed to help IT security practitioners solve some of the more vexing problems of the day.

I expect an equally valuable event in Boston.

To some readers, this column might veer to far onto the side of pride. But then I am a life-long Bostonian, so I make no apologies.

The bigger point is that there are many opportunities for security professionals to learn things that'll help them better defend their companies -- and, by extension, all of us.

At last week's CSO Perspectives event in Santa Clara, Calif., Howard Schmidt, President Obama's cybersecurity coordinator, repeated a point he has made often; that security practitioners in the private sector are the front-line soldiers in the war against cyber crime.

Next week, boot camp hits Boston.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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