My experience of BSidesLondon2018 (by Aimee Laycock)

CLTRe have just returned from a busy week in London where our COO, Aimee Laycock, gave her first talk at an international conference, and rocked it! Reflecting on the week, our COO, Aimee Laycock shares her account of what an amazing experience it was to participate in BSides London…

If I thought my first introduction to InfoSec, one year ago, would prepare me for just how awesome it would be, I was wrong. I love being in London for InfoSec week. The inspiring talks, interesting workshops and opportunities to meet people are fantastic. The highlight of this week for me was most definitely being involved in BSides London. This was my first time at a BSides event and I was blown away.

Security B-Sides is a community-driven event built for and by information security community members, designed to promote participation and collaboration among passionate security people, both experienced practitioners and those new to the field. I had been told it’s a smaller, more technical event than others I’d been to, but I really had no idea what to expect. Now I understand why everyone who has ever been is so enthusiastic about it. Someone once described it to me as ‘more like a tribal gathering than a professional conference’. The sense of community is very strong. It’s a truly fantastic event with a super friendly atmosphere. It’s hard not to get caught up with all the infectious curiosity in the room. People at all stages of their career come to learn, share and take part. I swear I even saw two kids who must have been about 10 years old there.

I got invited to submit a CFP for the Rookie Track a few months ago by Thomas Fischer, who is a director of the London edition. Thanks to his prompting and lots of encouragement from others in the community, including strong support from our CEO, Kai Roer, I submitted my first CFP. And, to my delight it was accepted and I was buddied up with a wonderful, experienced mentor (Gabe Chomic) who helped prepare me.

Looking out at the audience and I saw many supportive, familiar faces of people that I had been introduced to or had met on the circuit earlier in the week smiling and wishing me well. It really helped calm my nerves. Next time I hope I will feel confident enough to leave my notes and use the stage more, but all in all, I think the presentation went well. I even got a few laughs. 

My talk was on “why InfoSec needs (more) rookies like us.” I touched on some of the various skills-shortages we face (i.e. not just “cyber” skills but a hybrid of technical and other skills, such as financial, legal, marketing and other “soft” skills), what we as an industry could do better to attract and attain candidates to fill them, and how/where we may be able to find them. If you’re interested in the slides, please reach out to me directly ([email protected]).

Thank you so much to everyone who was involved in helping make BSides London 2018 happen. I can’t wait to come back next year! I look forward to making some new friends, help to build a community and enjoy a great event.