This past Saturday I made the six and half hour drive to Nashville, Tennessee, for BSides Nashville. The event was great. It had three different tracks, well known and experienced presenters, engaging presentations, great food and an outstanding event organizer and volunteers. I lucked out that the Houston Astros minor league team, Oklahoma City RedHawks, and the South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team were in town that same exact weekend. Prior to the event, I questioned whether or not I would make the trip next year without baseball in town, but I think the first annual event has proven that it’s worth the trek from South Carolina to Tennessee on it’s own.
The three BSides Nashville tracks were labeled 101, 418 and 429. The 101 track was for people just getting into information security, while the other two were more advanced tracks. Having been to BSides Charleston, back in November, and their one track conference which entailed a lot of advanced talks, I decided to go the 101 route at Nashville. I’ve been interested in information security for the past six years, but I’ve only had a job that focuses on information security the past two years and I’m still very much in the early stages of understanding information security. So I wanted to go to talks that focused on what I can do to continue my education and refine my trajectory within the infosec field. Little did I know that the 101 track wasn't for infosec noobs, as several information security veterans attended the 101 talks. I did manage to catch the end of a 429 talk which entailed security key performance indicators and gave me a few ideas for the organization I work at.
The conference was held at Lipscomb University, in the Ezell Center. The campus is beautiful and the facility was top notch. My one gripe about the conference setup was that I was a little confused about where I needed to be when I first entered the build. I didn’t see a map or label on the rooms when I first walked in so I actually walked around the first floor before figuring out where everything was. Luckily, I had downloaded the EventJoy app on my phone and quickly figured out the layout using the map on the app. Speaking of which the app was invaluable in not only knowing where to be but also when to be somewhere for a talk or lunch. Lunch, by the way, consisted of ribs, baked beans, mashed potatoes and green beans with sweet or unsweet tea to wash it all down. It was quite delicious and kept me full for hours. The other use I found for the app was an agenda feature, which allowed me to plan out my day at the conference.
Jack Daniel, Eve Adams, Adam Len Compton, Rafal Los and Scott Thomas were among the many fantastic presenters I got an opportunity to see at the event. A full list of talks can be found at the IronGeek website under BSides Nashville 2014 videos. Finally, the event organizer, Ed Rojas, did a wonderful job not only putting the event together, but getting it to run smoothly throughout the day. He was more than accommodating to me and gave me permission to record the event on my camera. Overall, it was a fantastic event that I would recommend to any IT person within driving distance of Nashville. I am very much looking forward to next years event.