March 27, 2016 By Fran Howarth 2 min read

Security conferences provide a wealth of opportunities to learn about the latest trends and to network with peers within the industry. But are they keeping up with the times? It is often said that security involves a combination of people, processes and technology, but security conferences have traditionally been heavy on the technology side of things. Many have large exhibition centers that are packed with vendors promoting their latest products.

However, it would seem that the people side of the equation is starting to come to the fore — that’s how it should be. The insider threat is ever present and, according to FierceCIO, growing in severity. With threats of all types increasing, greater accountability is needed within organizations, and security needs guidance from the top.

It is estimated that there is already a shortage of 1 million security professionals worldwide. The number of job postings in security is rising at twice the rate of general IT jobs. New technology developments are driving opportunities for collaboration among people, along with associated risks.

A Greater Focus on the People

Are security conferences reflecting these trends? It would seem that they are — at least to some extent. The recent RSA Conference had a track titled Human Element, which included a number of talks on people-related themes, as well as a track titled C-Suite View.

InfoSec World 2016 will also have a dedicated CISO Leadership Summit. Meanwhile, over in London, Infosecurity Europe has a track that focuses on human factors, including topics such as insider threats, recruitment, training and awareness and social engineering.

Black Hat is well-known for its security training sessions. It has recently launched a recruitment fair as part of the expo, as well, but for a more traditional approach, attendees can take part in the dedicated CISO Summit.

BSides hosts a series of events worldwide that focuses on collaboration among attendees. These are local events, and many have talks focusing on the various human elements of security. However, BSides does not split its conferences into tracks, so some digging is required.

Go Off the Beaten Track

Those wishing for a more dedicated, people-centric view of security may consider some more specialized events. For example, the first Insider Threat Summit started in 2015 and will be held again in late March in California. There are also a growing number of events focused on CISOs, with one example being the CISO Forum from the Information Systems Security Association.

For those looking to address the cyber skills gap, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies, which is managed within the Department for Homeland Security, offers a range of online and in-person events aimed at promoting the development of cybersecurity skills.

While people-related themes are gradually rising in prominence at the major security conferences, those looking particularly at this area would do well to look for the more specialized events that are starting to spring up. The examples above are far from exhaustive, but it is encouraging to see a growing emphasis on the people part of people, processes and technology.

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