Since our slightly premature announcement on 20th June (thanks, @Russ_Taylor_), the support we’ve recieved from the infosec community in Bristol and beyond has been overwhelming. Thank you. You’re what’s going to make this event something awesome.

We’ve got a very long road ahead of us and the planning has only just begun. In true BSides spirit, we want the process of planning BSides Bristol 2019 to be transparent, accessible and open for discussion. We’ll keep you updated at key milestones on this blog and via our email newsletter, which you can subscribe to by registering your interest. In our maiden blog post here, we wanted to say hello and let you know where we’re at.

Meet the team

We’ve identified our core team (hello!). We’ll be directing this mammoth project as best as possible outside of our regular responsibilites of working for our respective corporations, juggling family life, keeping up with Project Runway and making dog biscuits…. so, without further ado the team is as follows;

In the majority of instances, the core team will have final say by way of a vote. (Democracy, yay!)

Determining numbers

At the time of writing this, we’ve had 144 people register their interest on the website. That’s amazing! However, we believe there’s still hundreds, if not thousands more who would be up for two days of cool, techy talks with cool, techy people. If you know somebody that might be interested, please share the website with them so they can get signed up.

In our research, Bristol is the area with the greatest number of cyber security professionals and/or students in the south-west. In Bristol and around the south-west of England and south Wales there are a wealth of companies with cyber security capability, whose staff will be our target audience. Outside of this, there is likely to be a large population of hobbyists and students sharing such interests.

Target audience research has been conducted by searches on LinkedIn for people in the listed locations with ‘Industries’ listed as ‘Security and Investigations’ and ‘Computer and Network Security’, and related job titles. These results have been averaged to order the overall figures. This research is not conclusive and there is likely to be some overlap between students and professionals, as well as limitations in the job titles and wide capture of the ‘Security and Investigations’ industry tag – however, our back-of-a-fag-packet calculations suggest there might be 3,489 people with an interest in what our event can deliver.

 Computer and Network SecuritySecurity and InvestigationsRelated Job Title*Average
Total2377621118803489
Bristol5801612451881
Cardiff4781368332726
Gloucester598961413657
Swindon299746364470
Bath166540130279
Newport181527130279
Taunton7545760197

* Related job title is search for ‘Cyber OR Computer Security OR SOC OR CIRT OR Incident Response OR Penetration Tester OR IT Security OR Digital Forensic OR Malware OR Threat Hunt OR Information Assurance OR Vulnerability OR Computer Forensic OR Security Consultant OR Security Analyst OR Ethical Hacker OR CSO OR Data Recovery OR Security Administrator OR Security Engineer OR Security Architect’ in profile job title field

It’s reasonable to assume that maybe only 50% of those that register their interest will attend. We’re planning for a capacity of 100-150 people based on the registration of interest thus far.

Finding the venue

We’ve been working hard to pull as many strings as we can and call on all those I-owe-you-ones to get a comprehensive set of venue options together. For the next two weeks we’ll continue our venue hunt. Finding the right venue for the event is paramount to it’s success. We’d like a large, sociable lobby area for meeting and greeting, a threatre for the keynote speeches and activities, and some smaller classrooms for our labs and talks. It’s a big ask, but we’ve already had lots of support from colleagues, friends, and iterations of those (one of our leads comes from a friend of a colleague of a friend…)

Deciding on the date

Venue availability will influence the date of the event. We’ve had ongoing discussion on Twitter regarding whether to hold the event on a weekend, on weekdays, or a combination of the two on a Friday and Saturday.

The core team believes running on a weekend would ensure the greatest level of attendance and would foster participation in the spirit of BSides being open to all regardless of leave allowances, employer support and employment status (all you self-employees).

On the other hand, we recognise that running on a weekday suits people who value a work-life balance. And we love a couple of days away from the office as much as the next infosec-monkey.

We’ve posted a poll on Twitter and have recieved over 100 votes. If you haven’t voted yet, please do. The twitter vote is not final but it will give us something to think about. At the time of writing, the leading consensus is to hold the event on weekdays. We value the community opinion and use it to guide our decision making.

Traditionally, BSides events by their very name are run alongside larger infosec events. There’s very few events in Bristol to run with, so currently we’re not planning to follow that tradition.

Volunteering

We’ve already some had amazing people offer their time to support BSides Bristol and make it awesome. We’re currently finalizing our volunteer handbook, agreement and NDA. Volunteers will be our hype guys/gals/cheerleaders, organ grinders and smiley boots-on-the-ground. They’re essential. If you’re interested in volunteering, we will open a formal call for volunteers in the coming months, or for a more personal touch, if you have something to offer in the early planning phases say hi to Russ who has kindly taken on the role of volunteer co-ordinator.

Handbook

The volunteer handbook is a living document that will grow as the project does. It serves as a means to get new volunteers up to speed, and outline the responsibilities and expectations of volunteers.

Agreement

While not legally binding, the volunteer agreement ensures everybody who represents BSides Bristol is reading from the same playbook. It gives assurance that a consistent message will be delivered across the project, volunteers will be supported and everybody will be treated with respect and have a great experience.

NDA

NDA’s are never sexy… but to maintain an air of anticipation and to protect any organisations or individuals we may be getting involved in the project, an NDA is essential. On the surface, an NDA might appear to go against the BSides principle of open-ness. However, volunteers will come from a variety of different organisations, industries and backgrounds, so the NDA ensures any information intentionally or unintentionally disclosed during the planning process is only used for the purposes of planning the event.

Sponsorship

As with every part of the event thus far (we’re on a roll here), we’ve had an overwhelming response from organisations wishing to sponsor us. This is incredibly humbling and has given us immense confidence to push forward. We’ve collated all enquiries and will follow-up with specific details once a venue and date has been chosen, and all costs to be covered have been identified.

Let’s do this!

In the coming week’s we’ll loop you all in to our roadmap for the year ahead. For now, it’s all hands on deck to secure a venue and find that all-important date. Thanks for your support.