Hey, RSA Conference: Hands off #BSidesSF

It's rare that I write here on the weekend, but I just got word that the Security B-Sides event in San Francisco is in danger. This is my plea to the RSA Conference organizers to let this event proceed.

Let's start with the following message from the BSidesSF team, and then I'll tell you what I think.

BSides San Francisco is actively looking for (non-RSA participating) sponsors to help make sure the event goes on! 

BSidesSF is an event that happens alongside RSA Conference in San Francisco.  We have booked out a Children's Museum as the venue, selected speakers, and signed up sponsors. 

We received an initially overwhelming response from sponsors but were notified that contractually companies that sponsor RSA cannot sponsor another event in a 5 mile radius.@RSAConference on twitter or emailing your personal contacts.

If RSA enforces this contract with their sponsors we could lose 90% of sponsorship dollars. This means that the potentially 500 attendees registered for BSidesSF (juxtaposed against a probable 15,000 at RSA) may not have an event in a few weeks.

In past years RSA has permitted sponsors a waiver enabling them to support both the corporate and community side of security. This year may be the last for that waiver and threatens to end the event attended by many community participants.

Please help us by lobbying RSA to permit the waiver once again. I know RSA wants to support BSides and the community. Let them know how you feel at

Also, all RSA booths are sold out meaning other security companies may not be able to participate due to space limitations. They may want to sponsor BSidesSF and target their sponsorship dollars at community participants in a more intimate setting who they can meet and mingle with directly. 

Please refer such sponsors to info@securitybsides.org or grab a sponsorship kit here:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3431052/BSides%20Sponsorship%20Kit_BSIDESSF2012.pdf

This is an important event, in my opinion. In fact, it's one of the things that made the annual trek to RSA worth it again.

The more laid-back, free-form BSidesSF offered content you can't find at RSA. That's no criticism of RSA. That event is what it is -- a very vendor-driven attraction. That's perfectly fine. But the more user oriented side has always been something people wanted more of. BSidesSF provides that.

It hasn't hurt RSA one bit. People who attend BSides also attend RSA, myself included. The two together are the Yin and yang. Together they bring balance to a very important week in the security community.

I'm not sure why RSA is thinking about pulling the waiver this year. I don't care why, to be honest.

All I know and care about is that RSA would be making a big mistake by squashing BSidesSF. When you take choices away from conference goers, there's less reason to pay for a plane ticket and hotel room for the main attraction.

Don't let it happen. Please and thank you.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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