The BSidesSF show will go on

BSidesSF has been saved, thanks to a financial commitment from Lee Kushner at Information Security Leaders.

BSidesSF has been saved, thanks to a financial commitment from Lee Kushner (@ljkush) at Information Security Leaders.

The announcement came shortly after Sandra Toms LePedis of RSA Conference responded to the controversy about BSidesSF. Her post began with the standard "RSA supports a wide ecosystem of events and organizations" during its conference week and then turned to "rumors" in this blog and elsewhere about RSA trying to squash BSidesSF:

"As you may have seen from posts on Twitter to blogs like CSO’s Salted Hash, there has been a rumor regarding RSA Conference and its relationship with Security B-Sides.  Despite these rumors, we want to be clear that there is no attack taking place against Security B-Sides."

She said:

"RSA Conference has been in discussions with B-Sides for over a year to find ways that the two events can exist during the week without making attendees feel the need to choose one event over another.  If planned correctly, this could be very complementary programming for the infosec community.  During this time, the Conference only requested that B-Sides host its SF show on Sunday and Monday.  The reasoning is that our Expo Hall opens on Tuesday which features over 300 exhibitors that do not sponsor B-Sides that make a significant investment to exhibit at RSA Conference could lose potential visitors on that day if they are electing to visit two events in one day. We have offered to help B-Sides find another venue that would be available on Sunday and Monday but they have ignored our request to help. We have no problem with any B-Sides event, and hope to find a way to work together to benefit both events sponsors."

In an email exchange last night, Kushner explained why he decided to step in:

Professional development and community are two key components of an information security professional’s career.  I believe BSides provides information security professionals with an opportunity to blend both of these elements in a unique open environment.   When I learned that the event was in jeopardy of being cancelled (via Twitter) I reached out to Mike directly and asked if there was anything that I could do to help.

Knowing many information security professionals look forward to this event, use their vacation days, absorb the costs of travel and lodging to participate, the thought of them having to cancel these plans was personally very upsetting to me.

I asked him the question: How much money would be necessary for the event to take place.  Mike got back to me with an amount that could manage, and I made the commitment on the spot. 

Being in a position to provide financial support through  – an information security community career resource – seemed logical, considering the support that the information security community has provided to this project. 

Being that  Information Security Leaders is under no agreements with RSA and has never entered into any sponsorship agreement with the RSA Conference, I did not see this as an issue.

I've seen a lot of back-and-forth on Twitter about who is responsible for this game of brinkmanship. Some describe it as the big corporate monster (RSA) coming down on the common man (Bsides).

LePedis' argument that BSides should be held on Sunday and Monday so as not to interfere with its exhibit floor hours is hard for me to accept, since it wasn't an issue last year or the year before. I remember people moving freely between BSides and the exhibit. Why that constitutes a problem is beyond me.

Whatever the case may be, I'm just glad to see that BSides will proceed as planned.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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