For more than ten years MCC International has been running the Press Office at ISSE (Information Security Solutions Europe), an annual conference and exhibition. This week was its 13th year and whilst it may be unlucky for some, for me it was the best yet.
This year we decamped to Brussels along with more than 250 IT security professionals (vendors, users, academics, government representatives and of course media) from over 30 countries, to spend two days discussing the current and emerging trends, the risks and how to mitigate them.
Joining me this year was the crème-de-la-crème of the IT security journalist community from the UK, Belgium, France, Germany and as far afield as Japan. We always receive a positive response when the invites go out in late Summer and one journalist was horrified that he was booked for a conference in Las Vegas and couldn’t make it! He even sent me a note just before the start of ISSE reiterating his disappointment. It was great catching up with familiar faces and meeting new ones. There was certainly a real buzz in the main conference hall and the seminar rooms, and I was delighted that many of the journalists shared my eager enthusiasm for tweeting throughout the sessions.
The Press Office is always a great place to be (not just for the Nespresso machine and indulgent chocolate brownies for breakfast) but talking to people about the sessions they were going to and then, upon their return, hearing their views and watching the frantic typing to try and be the first to file the story. It really made me appreciate the buzz I continue to get working at the coalface. This is why I chose a career in tech PR.
We also spend a lot of time chewing the fat over who is doing what, the state of the media and how important it remains - in an information rich world - that we have journalists who have specific industry expertise, who can help to place everything in context for the rest of us.
There are many people and organisations involved with making ISSE the success it is but I must single out EEMA (celebrating its 25th anniversary) and Revolution Events, as these are the two with whom we at MCC International work with, to give ISSE the exposure it deserves. They make sure that everything runs like clockwork, will always go the extra mile and always do so with a big smile. But it isn’t all work and no play and dinner courtesy of Revolution Events on the first night was a real highlight, followed the next evening by an exclusive tour of the Magritte Museum. It seems that IT security professionals know their art history almost as well as their threat landscape.
It was at the museum that I had the delight to see EEMA, Executive Director, Roger Dean, receive (to his great surprise) a lifetime achievement award. He has been at the forefront of IT security and identity management for his entire career, and it is a little known fact that he introduced the first commercial email system to the UK. He was joined by Kim Cameron from Microsoft and between them they have made a significant contributed to security and identity management.
So, as I a write this story on the Eurostar back to St Pancras I reflect on a great event, shared with some great people and some excellent results, as well as belly full of chocolate and the odd Belgian beer.
I am looking forward to ISSE 2013.