Tech Field Day: Day 1

Since my recent experience at IT Tech Field Day inspired me to start this blog, I figured there wouldn’t be a better place to start than with my experience as a delegate at the first ever security field day.

First off, being a delegate was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had at any professional event. Although the days were long, it was a great time from breakfast until the bars after dinner. I would absolutely do it again if/when I get invited back.

A brief intro to the event

There were 12 delegates and five companies that presented. The delegates have microphones, and the companies are given two hours to present and demo whatever products they think will interest and blow the delegates away. All of the presentations and workshops throughout the event are live streamed and later posted to YouTube making them easily available to the public.

The best part of it all, we (as delegates) aren’t required to say anything at all about the companies. Heck, we can even say something less than positive if we felt inclined to do so! To me, this is what separates the Tech Field Day events from the rest.

The delegates

I made great friends from all over the world at this event. Gestalt IT (the company that puts on the event) did a great job at getting all 12 delegates from different parts of the world and different walks of life together from the start to ‘break the ice’. We started off with a yankee swap after dinner the first night.

I got the gift Zoë brought with her all the way from London. If you ask me, it was the best gift at the table! She brought a lock pick set and a lock to practice on with some awesome knickknacks from her hometown. I brought a Star Wars jelly bean dispenser, not a bad choice if you ask me.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed some adult beverages and had a great time getting to know one another before we got down to business. This was hands down the best way to break the ice.

All the delegates had a different background and come from a different walk of life, yet we all still played nice. I know where I come from (I’ll write about this later) but learning where everyone else comes from and what they do in their profession was cool! There were people who focus solely on blogging and podcasts, there were C-level executives, VPs, ethical hackers, and expert consultants. After getting to know the delegates I realized why the companies were so excited to present their new stuff to us. Well, that and we all have a social media presence they wanted us to advocate through.

At the end of the event, saying goodbye was unexpectedly harder than you’d think. I was surprised at how much fun we all had when the cameras were off. Again, I would absolutely do this again if and when Tom asks me (take the hint, Tom!)

Day 1 events

On the first day, we saw presentations from CyberArk and Cisco. The first one was from CyberArk, and that was probably one of my favorite presentations of the week.

CyberArk is a privilege identity management tool that allows an enterprise to manage privileged identities throughout the user lifecycle. Password management and generation that can be completely transparent to the end user, meaning CyberArk can generate secure passwords that users don’t ever see. They offer a password vault, and sessions can be recorded for auditing and forensic investigations. There are quite a few awesome features CyberArk can offer, it is such a powerful and useful tool.

The Cisco presentation was a bit dry. They demoed and talked about two products, Cisco Threat Response and DUO Security (who they acquired). Cisco Threat Response is a great start to getting into the space, but it’s still a very manual process with no user driven knowledge base. This essentially means if company X finds a threat, they cannot share that signature with other companies to create a more secure community.

Outside of that, the product is still very manual. You have to take events and upload them into the tool for review and then manually analyze each aspect of the event. Cisco doesn’t have anything in this space yet, so this is a great starting point. There are a ton of ATP tools out there that much better and more mature that require less user interaction.

DUO security is an awesome, fully capable multi-factor authentication company based out of Michigan (my home state). They were acquired by Cisco earlier this year, and it was really great hearing from these guys! Hopefully they are given the freedom they need to keep making a really nice product.

Wrapping up day one

The first day of the Tech Field Day was an experience I will never forget. Great times with great people, insight into what some of the biggest names in the industry are doing to trend with the ever-changing times, and friendships that will last a life time.

I will post about the next few days of the IT Tech Field Day and the rest of the presentations next time. If you want to follow me along at the next Tech Field Day, and other events like it, follow me on twitter at @PTSnyder.

If you are interested in being a delegate or watching the live stream, check out the site for dates to the upcoming events and for recordings from this past event.