An introduction to the Channel Islands Cyber Security Conference 2023

from David Cartwright, CIISF Chair

Ahead of the Channel Islands Cyber Security Conference on 19 October 2023, chair of the Channel Islands Information Security Forum (CIISF), David Cartwright gives a preview of what to expect.

When we resumed the conference schedule in 2022 after the COVID-19-induced period of downtime, we were uncertain of how keen everyone would be to come along into a room full of people. This is partly because we had all become used to electronic meetings and presentations and had kicked the habit of meeting people in real life.

Our uncertainty was, I’m pleased to say, unfounded. We were just shy of 200 Eventbrite registrations and a fair number of delegates simply rocked up on the day. The event was a tremendous success, and my colleagues and I were delighted; hopefully this year will be similarly lively and popular.

We have a wide range of great speakers this year, both local and from afar, but I can’t resist a shout-out for our star keynote, FreakyClown (also known as “FC”). Those among you who’ve seen his videos or read his excellent book will know that we’re all in for a treat and I – for one – am eager to hear what he has to say.

He’ll be joining us electronically for the simple reason that although he’s a Brit, these days he’s based in Nevada. I recognise that it’s a long (and budget-busting) way to come to a small rock in the English Channel. However, I know for certain that distance won’t detract from the experience.

You may be interested in our approach to putting together the schedule. We try to find as wide a variety of speakers as possible, and we set two simple rules:

  • First: if you’re a commercial organisation (as many are), you’re not here to do a sales pitch. By all means tell the audience what you do for a living, but then move on and focus on non-salesy topics.
  • Second: try to use your experience to tell people something that they didn’t know, or hadn’t previously thought of.

Our mission is for everyone attending the conference to go home at the end with the feeling that they’ve found stuff out over the course of the day, and that they’re leaving with more knowledge and ideas than they arrived with. I’m sure – given our range of speakers and subjects – that this will be the case.

I’m personally looking forward to the talks from our two Gold sponsors: Recorded Future and Defence Logic. And I’m saying that not through any obligation to do so, but because I had the most entertaining teams meetings with James and Anthony, the two speakers, where we batted their suggested subjects about and came up with a novel angle in each case.

We work closely with all the speakers, in fact, to decide what they’ll talk about. This helps us make sure there’s not too much overlap between talks. One of the things I enjoy about working with my fellow Cyber, IT and Risk professionals in the Channel Islands is that we’re not shy about voicing an opinion or questioning the norm, and we encourage our speakers not to be shrinking violets and to tell it how it is: let’s hope they do so!

In my introduction to last year’s conference, I described the cyber security industry in the Channel Islands as “fascinating” and “challenging”. Nothing has changed in this respect except that the range of threats we face is becoming more and more challenging by the day. As a cyber security community, we need to work together as much as we can and to help each other defend against attacks and react when something unfortunate happens.

I wish everyone attending the conference, physically or virtually, a fascinating and informative day.