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Impressions from the IT-SA Security Expo

Security_Guest Frequent Contributor.
Frequent Contributor.
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Security Guest post from Holly-Jade Johnston, Micro Focus Business Development Advisor

I have worked in the IT industry for about six years and security has always been something in which I have had an interest. In April of this year I joined the Micro Focus DACH telemarketing team based in Erskine Scotland as a Business development rep. I was really excited to be given the security portfolio to drive and identify new potential deals. After some intense training and a lot of questions I hit the phone and straight away it was apparent that security is still one of the main drivers for our existing and potential new customers, as cybersecurity spending is increasing and breaches are making headlines every day.  I worked closely with the marketing team and when the IT-SA Security Expo was announced and we started to invite customers I was very keen to find out more about this huge event.

This is the info I found ….

It-sa is Europe’s largest expo for IT security and one of the most important worldwide events, dealing with important topics such as cloud computing, mobile and cybersecurity, data and network security. Since 2009, the exhibition is has served as a unique platform for C-Level experts and IT security officers, to meet developers and providers of products and services for IT security. It-sa has successfully served as a catalyst for many innovative solutions. The forums on technology and management provide further platforms for a global industry dialogue. From 8 to 10 October in Nuremberg Germany, experts provided information on current issues, strategies and technical solutions leading to more IT security.

This year, Micro Focus was one of 700 exhibitors from 27 countries that presented their latest security solutions. As I was surrounded by 14,290 visitors over those three days, It-sa once again demonstrated that it is the must-do event for the IT security sector.

Sounds impressive right ….

Yes it does, so imagine my excitement when me, a telemarketer, got invited by our amazing marketing team to go along and support them at the event. Bags packed and off to Germany I go ….. 12 hours, one cancelled flight, one delayed flight and a race across Munich to catch the ICE train I arrived in the glorious city of Nürnberg to be greeted by the Micro Focus Security team. After a Team brief and a getting-to-know you meal it was time to get back to the hotel and recharge before the expo starts.

Day 1

itsa2.jpgAfter a super-early start and a hearty breakfast, Team Micro Focus all hopped on the train to the exhibition center, which was only a few stops so we got to the venue quickly and to get the first look at the our booth. Up until then I had only heard and seen sketches of the Micro Focus booth, so seeing it in real life up close was brilliant, as they say in England! The booth was in a prime position near the entrance of Hall 10. As we entered, our eyes were drawn directly to the large screens that were showing our company stats. Our team was all dressed in black displaying our company logo on their shirts, all assembled in the brightly-lit booth awaiting our team briefing. After a motivational talk and a team photo we were all given our tasks and the day began. I was the social media expert for the conference (if I do say so myself) reporting on site to the wider Micro Focus team and posting updates to anyone who follow our social media pages.

The scale of the event was hard to take in at first. Two massive Halls packed with companies exhibiting what their business brings to the IT security table. There were freebies galore …coffeecake, rubber duckies, were a few things that were being handed out to those attending day one. At one point I am sure I saw a robotic dog?!  The first thing I did was do a walk round to see what freebies I could nab…. oh I mean to see what other booths had on offer in terms of security (yeah that’s it). I can’t lie, I was pretty impressed by some booths; they were unbelievably huge and their offerings were pretty extensive. After scouting out the main hall it was time to post the first photos of the day. I loved live tweeting about the event, letting attendees know about our end-to-end security portfolio. Our booth was jammed packed from the word go with visitors wanting to know how we could help solve their InfoSec challenges. The team put in an incredible shift especially those with our secret weapons which I will tell you about later.

It was a long first day and everyone retired back to the hotel after a team debriefing of our successful day. What did we learn from day one …our offerings are on point! Our security solutions allow businesses to manage, govern and secure information; detect and respond to data breaches and govern identity and access. As I said, end-to-end, not one or two point solutions. Our customers loved our booth and we really are on the pulse of the latest IT security needs. We also learned that comfortable shoes and good stamina are a total must for this type of event.

Day 2

Early bird catches the worm …or was it the hacker (oh, IT JOKES!). Day two, I am told, is notorious for being the busiest of the three-day expo. Wow, and it was! The amount of people attending, I would say, doubled. Our booth was once again packed. It was awesome to meet customers I had up until then had only spoken to over the phone, face to face, and get a real feel for what they wanted from Micro Focus going forward and how we could help them achieve their vision. For me, this was an interesting day from a development point of view. I am the first to admit that I am not technical at all, so speaking to subject matter experts and being able to quiz them about products and needs was absolutely brilliant. I also felt that I had a real lightbulb moment when it came to our products and solutions. I realized and understood just how vital security is to a company and the how the lack of it can really affect a business by loss of data, brand and/or reputation. Listening to why customers need our expertise and support, helped me see just how our security portfolio comes in to play first hand.

After another great day we had the legendary It-sa party, which allowed us to blow off some steam and network. The party was pretty impressive. Lovely, healthy food options and glorious desert were on offer and of course an adult beverage or two. I was happy to finally get my favorite German drink “mezzo mix” half Fanta, half cola! After having a relaxed dinner and listening to the wicked live band, people took to the dance floor.  It was a good way to end a super busy two days at the event. 

The Final Day

ITSA3.jpgThis is a quieter day, which on a positive note gave the team a chance to spend more valuable time with customers and visitors to the booth. We had product demos over the three days - and allowed lucky winners to get their hands on our coveted prize, a meter of Ritter sport chocolate (that’s three feet of chocolate to you Americans). The chocolate was proudly displayed on the winners back ….it was our secret weapon, I mean who doesn’t love Ritter sport, right? As the expo was coming to a close, it was time to take in just how great this exhibition has been. Getting to meet the wider team and make new friends was an added bonus, that’s for sure. I am still astounded by how much work goes into this kind of event. From the design of the booth to building it- the team really did work relentlessly to make it a success. The overall teamwork was something I will never forget. Everyone did their absolute best and it was a great experience, and I am glad I got to see it all firsthand. 

I took my sore feet and broken voice back to Erskine to tell tales of It-sa and how it supported my knowledge and drive to succeed. This event is a must for IT security teams and those interested in IT security alike …. 

See you next year and don’t forgot your sneakers! 

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