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BSidesSF: Not your 2010 version

Feb 14, 20112 mins
Data and Information Security

SAN FRANCISCO — Last year, Security B-Sides San Francisco was held in an old, cramped loft where the bathroom was directly to the left of the stage. One speaker showed up with an upset stomach the second morning, got sick in that bathroom, then came out and promptly launched into what turned out to be a pretty good talk.

It had an underground feel that I liked.

This year it’s a lot different, but still good.

Instead of a loft at the other end of town, the event is right across from the Moscone Center at the Zeum children’s museum. I don’t have an exact number, but the line of attendees was out the door and halfway into the courtyard, and it stayed that way for a couple of hours.

There are also more PR folks and vendors walking around.

B-Sides is growing up, and that’s a good thing.

There are two tracks this year, which means more talks to choose from. The seating is plentiful and the Internet access is humming along.

But here’s my main point:

When an event like this goes from being an underground affair to a major attraction in the course of a year, it shows that security practitioners are hungry for something more than what they’re finding at the RSA conference.

To be fair, RSA was never meant to be like a B-Sides or a ShmooCon. It’s always been a much bigger, more theatrical and commercially driven enterprise. It’s all about the exhibit floor.

There’s value in that, too.

My sense is that people who go back and forth between both events will walk away a lot wiser than they will if they stay at one event or the other.

–Bill Brenner