NISC 2013 – A gold sponsor’s view
The National Information Security Conference (NISC) is one of the largest security specific conferences held in the UK, and this year took place between 12th and 14th June at the Westerwood Hotel, Scotland.
As Gold Sponsors of the conference, members of the Egress Team were both exhibiting and speaking over the course of the three days.
With so much going on during the event, I thought it would be useful to keep a day-by-day diary, highlighting some of the best bits!
Day One: Wednesday 12th June
There was a busy start to the day for the Egress Team – comprising CEO Tony Pepper, UK Sales Manager Kelly McCann and yours truly – as we finished getting the final bits of the stand ready for the rush of delegates that would soon be descending upon us.
In terms of agenda for Day One, there were some really interesting presentations going on. This year, the event was hosted by Harvey Mattinson, who previously worked for CESG and the Cabinet Office, and whose experience as a leading figure in UK information security for over three decades guaranteed that delegates gained real educational value from the event.
Back on the stand, the Egress Buzz Wire, made famous by Infosecurity Europe 2013 (Securing success - highlights from the Egress stand at Infosecurity Europe 2013), immediately attracted a lot of interest. The question was: Could anyone beat the current world record time of 11:02 seconds? However, whether or not they beat the record, the prize for the fastest time at NISC was a Nexus 7 – so definitely worth a go!
Elsewhere, the talk was generally focused around the upcoming CESG IL3 Certification (expected in July) that will make Egress Switch the only CPA Foundation Grade Certified Email Encryption Product in the UK. For many organisations – including blue light, central government departments and local authorities that need to share Impact Level 3 data – this certification gives them the reassurance that they are selecting a CESG assured product to protect and encrypt information.
The stand also saw a number of professional services organisations, including leading law firms, looking to protect the highly confidential case information they share with both clients and third parties (including local authorities). Everyone we spoke to was searching for a simple, secure solution that integrates with existing systems and business processes so that user experience is seamless. Fortunately, that’s exactly where Egress Switch adds value!
The evening of Day One was all about the Networking Event, where delegates were encouraged to engage with exhibitors they hadn’t already spoken to. Again, this is where the Buzz Wire came into its own – it’s amazing how competitive people can get when there is a Nexus 7 up for grabs! As the day drew to a close, the Egress stand was the centre of attention as Buzz Wire records were beaten time and again, with the leading time finally being set at a mightily impressive 11.09 seconds. But will that be enough to secure the prize? Only time will tell...
Anyway, a great first day – roll on Day Two!
Day Two: Thursday 13th June
Day Two of NISC 2013 got off to a fast start for the Egress Team, with an in-depth briefing from Harvey Mattinson on the risk assessment processes SIROs and accreditors use as part of selecting technology for use in UK Government. This proved a crucial educational session for the team, and it was great to be able to benefit from Harvey’s knowledge and experience.
We then went straight into Tony Pepper’s presentation, entitled:
"Unravelling the myths, misunderstandings and misinterpretations that surround the process of sharing IL3 (RESTRICTED) data with external third parties"
The UK Government is being encouraged to collaborate more effectively in order to deliver greater efficiency and cost-effective services. Yet just one look at the myriad of third parties that government departments have to share information with on a day-to-day basis uncovers a major challenge: How do you share highly sensitive information up to Impact Level 3 (IL3) (RESTRICTED) with organisations that aren’t on accredited networks?
Tony’s presentation reviewed this complex challenge, unravelling many of the myths, misunderstanding and misinterpretations that accompany it, as well as providing insight directly from CESG into the approved ‘Risk Managed Approach’ to sharing IL3 data outside of Government.
The response to the presentation was fantastic, with the Egress stand swamped by interested delegates looking to overcome the same challenge, namely how to securely share information outside their accredited networks. Whether in the Public or Private Sector, this is clearly a common issue.
The afternoon also saw a steady stream of Buzz Wire contenders all attempting to beat the imposing 11.9 seconds posted on Wednesday night – and there was only one question on everyone’s minds: Can anyone successfully rise to the challenge? However as the day closed, the time of 11.9 remained top of the leader board.
The evening’s black tie dinner was a huge success, with delegates and venders networking and reflecting on what had been a very productive and successful two days at NISC so far.
Day Three: Friday 14th June
After two busy and extremely worthwhile days at the event, delegates and vendors alike used the final morning of NISC 2013 to wrap up conversations, as well as to agree key actions and next steps.
On reflection, NISC 2013 was an excellent event. The packed agenda provided focused educational sessions and the calibre of delegates meant that all conversations were focused on active projects that needed to be addressed. In addition, the environment NISC provides allows ideas to be shared and gives organisations the opportunities to find practical solutions to their challenges.
In relation to Switch, the common theme when talking to delegates throughout the event was ‘simple yet secure’ information sharing. It doesn’t matter whether you‘re talking to a local authority, a charity or a start-up bank, they all share the same challenge of sharing sensitive information externally in an efficient and cost-effective manner. What they need are practical solutions that align to established business process and integrate with existing infrastructure.
At the lighter-hearted end of things, by Friday no-one had surpassed Wednesday’s Buzz Wire leader. So congratulations to Andy Johnson, who wins a Nexus 7 for his lap time of 11.9 seconds – a worthy winner.
Finally, a big thank you to the organisers of NISC 2013 for delivering such a worthwhile event. A sign of its success is that we’re already putting in place our plans for next year!