Myself and a couple of colleagues have decided to get together to organize a security conference for/in Scotland. Actually, we had meant to do this a few years ago and had actually got to the brainstorming stage before our move to Argyll curtailed matters for that time.
But now with security conferences springing up like mushrooms in UK, it seemed the right time to visit this again, as Scotland has never had a professional conference before (SecuriTay has been going for a few years now but is entirely student run). As for a location, inconvenient as it is for me as the capital is three hours away from our base in Argyll, it couldn’t really be anywhere other than Edinburgh which has the facilities, international kudos and sheer drawing power to create a memorable conference from scratch.
We then had the choice of either going it alone (as per SteelCon down in Sheffield), or linking ourselves with a bigger organization. Again, with never having done a conference before, we wanted to err on the side of caution, but conversely we wanted the freedom to do things our own way without having to adhere to someone else’s rules which we didn’t necessarily agree with. So we decided to run our show under the wider remit of “BSides” which had the advantages of a globally known brand (helps with sponsorship), but did not place any onerous constraints on us.
The only thing I was personally not that keen on, was that I wanted to be “BSides Scotland”, but the global policy was to name the conference after cities rather than countries. This didn’t tie in well with our idea of doing the show in a different Scottish city each year, with Glasgow on the cards for 2018, but we decided to go with it at least for the time being.
So we have selected a date (April 2017) and ScotSTS will be the first sponsor. I hope to write about what it is like to setup and run this kind of conference – hopefully it will provide some guidelines for other people thinking about doing the same thing, as I haven’t managed to find much information about this on the net myself.