#RSAC exclusive: Q & A with @InfosecEditor AKA Eleanor Dallaway, Editor of Infosecurity Magazine

March 8, 2012

Eleanor at the tea room enjoying a traditional English tea California style

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

At RSA in San Francisco last week, we were fortunate enough to grab a bite with Eleanor Dallaway, Editor and Associate Publisher of Infosecurity Magazine, which was recently rebranded and relaunched. Our lunch and learn was an excellent opportunity to find out more about Eleanor and her publication. This is what we learned over our cream tea in the Yerba Buena Gardens above the Moscone Center.

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I’ve been on Infosecurity Magazine for six years, and I’ve been Editor for nearly four of those years. I have also been associate publisher of the magazine for almost a year, which means I serve as a bridge between the commercial side and the editorial team.

When I started with Elsevier, the publishing company that owned Infosecurity Magazine, I was also working on Metal Powder Report — quite an eye-opener after covering things like alcoholism and other student-related issues for Label, a lifestyle publication with links to Loughborough University, where I studied English. Before Label, I got journalism experience on the news desk and then features desk for a local newspaper, the Leicester Mercury.

 Q. Tell us a little bit about Infosecurity Magazine

Infosecurity Magazine focuses on the business and strategy side of infosecurity. It doesn’t do product reviews, for example. Instead we look at how security integrates into the business. We are very end user focused. When I started six years ago, we were a print magazine with a static website. Now we are a dynamic website with a print magazine. This is partly due to the shift in revenues online, but also our readers don’t want to wait a month for the news; they want the breaking stories now.

 Q. What’s hot in IT security this year? 

BYOD and consumerization. We’ve had the year of the cloud and year of the data breach. 2012 is the year of consumerization.

 Q. How many security events do you attend each year? 

I go to about 10 to 12 events per year, both in the UK and the US. We cover all events of interest to our readers, in spite of our relationship with Infosecurity Europe (Reed Exhibitions purchased the publication last year).

Q. Which ones are you most looking forward to? 

RSA, BlackHat, and Infosecurity, which are my 3 favourites, and CSI (before its demise), Bsides, and Hacker Halted.

Q. What types of stories or companies are likely to attract your attention this year? 

Mac security: iPhone and iPad related security is always of interest to our readers. Data breaches are of interest as long as they are big enough, but the breach itself is not enough. We’d want to look at how it happened, the consequences and how it could have been prevented.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week? 

If I am not at a show, it is just one or two a week, but at a show like the RSA Conference, it is around 20. Across the team we do around 50 interviews for articles ranging from short sound bites to bigger commentaries.

Q. What’s the best way to pitch a story to you? Email? Phone? Twitter? By mail?

For vendor news – just a press release by email is fine. If your CEO is over and wants to chat, by all means follow up with a call. If you are an end user with a story or a vendor with an end user story, pick up the phone.

My example of what not to do is a call I got from a PR pro that went something like this:

PR: Do you ever write about infosecurity?

Me: Yes, our name kind of indicates that. Have a look at the website; the media kit covers that and so does our editorial calendar.

– Five minutes later –

PR: What kind of infosecurity do you cover, and what are you writing about next month?

Me: As I mentioned, it’s on the website. Bit busy right now, so have a look and if you have a story come back to me.

—An hour later—

PR: I have been on your website and done a lot of research about SC Magazine…

Q. Who is worth listening to (about IT security)? 

I listen to our editorial board; it is made up of a great selection of end users, academics and even some vendors.

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

 The blogs on our site really: John Walker, David Harley, etc. In truth, I use Twitter more for research to see what is happening.

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

The iPhone. I am an Apple convert.

Q. What do you think is the most important development in IT security to date? 

The internet. Secondly, the mobility of technology.

Q. What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching stories?

Do the research about what we write. PR people still call for basic information. Think about the example of what doesn’t work that I mentioned earlier in this interview.

Q. What was the best press trip you’ve ever been on? Worst? Why?

The best was a trip Microsoft did to Seattle flying business class. I did the trip via New York with a stopover, which was great. Another great trip was with Kaspersky to Moscow. They had a very good balance of work and recreational time. Alongside briefings, there was time for writing articles plus activities like go karting on ice and sightseeing.

The mistake that many companies make is just trying to cram journalists’ heads full of information. That is not the best way to inform and educate. A press trip should also be an opportunity to develop relationships.

Q. What’s your favourite restaurant?

Any of the Gordon Ramsey’s, Baltazahar’s in NYC and Coq d’Argent in London

Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

Oh yes. The magazine has Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Personally I am not a big fan of LinkedIn, but I really like Twitter. My account is @InfosecEditor. I do have a personal account under my name, but PRs should follow my work account.

Eleanor's Basset Hound, Mabel


Q. Tell us something no one knows about you. Do you have any unusual or unexpected hobbies/interests? Do you have a claim to fame?

I have a Basset Hound called Mabel who I adore, and I am addicted to RedBull. If I wasn’t the editor of Infosecurity Magazine, I would be a wedding planner.

Q. What’s the best thing about being a woman in technology?

You can surprise people. Being a relatively young female in this industry, I’m often not what people expect when they first meet me. Information security is still very much a ‘man’s world’, but I enjoy changing people’s perception of me throughout the course of an interview or discussion when I demonstrate I do know exactly what I’m talking about.

Copyright ©Launchpad Europe 2012. All rights reserved. You may copy and distribute this material as long as the content remains complete and unaltered; you credit the author where possible; the copies are distributed only for non-commercial purposes and at no charge; and you include this copyright notice and link to Countdown2Infosecurity.com, the original source of the work.

If you have any questions, please contact Launchpad Europe, countdown@launchpad-europe.com.

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