Security BSides describes their organization as “the first grass roots, DIY, open security conference in the world!” BSides is a medium that allows for local community organizations to host Information Security oriented conferences in their area. They provide an outline for a prospective conference organizer to follow to host a successful event. Future event organizers are given an area on the BSides website to promote their event as well as communicate with possible sponsors. A lot of BSides events occur around the same time as other major conferences in the area; attracting some of the speakers to a less formal and relaxed environment to present. BSides events are meant to showcase the local InfoSec community by focusing more on local sponsors and speakers.
I recently attended BSides Orlando 4/11/15-4/12/15 which was hosted on the UCF campus in the HEC building. I really enjoyed the event. The vast majority of the sponsors that had booths set up had offices in the state of Florida and the talks that I attended were very interesting. The most interesting talk I attended was a presentation on a Raspberry Pi network penetration tool embedded in a UPS. The write up is available by Ean Meyer. The theme of the presentation was that physical security flaws in an organization can allow for attack surfaces to hide in plain sight. Also at the event, I attended a four hour SANS workshop on Linux forensics. I was glad to see that a lot of the concepts from some of our other classes within the MSDF program were built upon in the workshop among other professionals in the field.
The whole point of a BSides event is to demonstrate that you don’t need a nationally recognized corporate sponsor to organize an event in our field. If there is enough of a demand from your community, a successfully insightful conference can be possible.