It is always so difficult to judge about the success or failure of a show. You put a lot of time and effort into choosing the right presence, the design and building of a stand, how many people to man it, what events to throw, who to invite and the list goes on. Obviously, it is important to have a place to meet customers and to be able to talk about the future.
Being able to raise awareness and just to promote the brand is recognised as helping the bottom line of selling the product. However, it is interesting that a number of big names, BT and Microsoft amongst them, decided that InfoSec was not for them. So perhaps all the effort did not result in sufficient branding, awareness and sales in previous years.
Personally, I find it interesting to get round the various manufacturers and see what they are focusing on. I expected to see more web 2.0 but the show seemed more focused on regulation but this might just be my anecdotal experience. I also find the smaller vendors of interest as you see new products that the established vendors have not put forward, perhaps they did not think of them or maybe they cannot see sufficient return but they can be of interest.
Not so sure about the discussions and talks but I did find the discussion on compliance on Thursday lunchtime particularly interesting. It is an area that most companies will have to address yet few really understand the implications or what they need to do. Unfortunately, it is an area that will be of particular interest to lawyers and the case law that is being established seems to be getting particularly detailed.
Stuart Room, one of the panelists, gave an example of a company doing the right thing by encrypting all their laptops but one was stolen whilst waiting to be encrypted in the lab. The resulting recommendation was that all laptops must be secured to the desk through the use of a security cable to the USS (Universal Security Slot). The solution may not be great but what is of concern is the specific nature of the recommendation.
So was InfoSec worth the effort? Well our company made quite a number of contacts and new leads which is always good. I made a number of contacts too and learnt about issues so I would say personally I did too but as ever, we will continue to look at each year as it comes to make sure all that preparation is worth it.