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Infosecurity: A Tale of Three Volcanoes

May 18, 2010

After the dust settles – we hope

Well that was close! UK airspace has finally reopened for the second time and thankfully everyone made it from outside the UK who needed to.

But let’s paint a slightly different picture – let’s say that naughty unpronounceable volcano in Iceland had, in fact, continued to blow forth its ash-laden plumes. What would the Infosecurity landscape have looked like then?

A lot of the big players have a good compliment of local talent and their Infosecurity stands (sorry, for those outside the UK that would be “booths”) are held nearby. But what about those exciting start-ups from outside the UK with small or no local teams relying on the descendents of the Wright Brothers’ iron birds to bring them and their collateral – and often their stands – to Earls Court? Well that would in a word be stuffed!

Eyjafjallajökull could or would have had a catastrophic effect on the entry and adoption of some of the latest and greatest IT security technology into the UK and even mainland Europe. The volcanic ash cloud was a significant reminder of the role of local support and representation, either with third-party consultants such as Launchpad Europe, good local distributors, or resellers as a vital part of every start-up’s growth plans and contingency provisions.

In addition to lost business, there would also have been the potential to lose the investment in the show which even for a small presence would be upwards of $10,000.

And what about the speaker program – many speakers at Infosecurity are “celebrity” IT security people who may not have been able to make it if volcanic ash had persisted. In that case, the event would have needed either a bit of fancy footwork from the organisers to have back-up speakers, or there would have been a BIG volcanic-sized hole in the program.

Other victims of the ash cloud would have been the SC Awards run on the first evening and inauguration into the Hall of Fame of people.

Other impacts are less obvious: many journalists are not actually based in the London area anymore. Some are based in Scotland, but also further afield in Spain and some are on holiday overseas in the run-up to the show and would have been marooned or facing an epic road trip from places like Croatia.

Thankfully there was no major impact. But remember we are an international bunch now and so far in IT security land the ash cloud has impacted Black Hat Europe with many IT security pros stuck in Barcelona for an extra day or more.

A close call for Infosecurity Europe and of course still not a clean (air) bill of health for those looking to head to DEFCON and Black Hat US. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed – because smoking (volcanoes) can seriously damage your IT security business.

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