Security industry gathers for London pow-wow

InfoSec arrives with spyware top of a growing agenda...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

InfoSec arrives with spyware top of a growing agenda...

The great and the good of the IT security industry arrive in London tomorrow for the annual InfoSecurity Europe show.

Those attending Olympia this year are confident InfoSec 2005 will be bigger and better than ever as their market continues to go from strength to strength.

Steve Purdham, CEO of SurfControl (InfoSec stand 500), told silicon.com: "We always go to InfoSecurity Europe with great anticipation."

While all vendors attending will be hoping to sign up new customers Purdham believes it also provides a valuable opportunity to catch up with those signed up throughout the year and at previous year's shows.

And in terms of specific emerging threats it's likely spyware will be in with a bullet near the top of many user and vendor agendas.

Bernhard Girbal, VP sales and marketing at Trend Micro (stand 480), told silicon.com: "We see InfoSec as the first major opportunity to get spyware onto the agenda. Cracking this problem will be a theme of the show."

Others will be making their debut at this year's show.

Andrew Lochart, senior director of marketing at Postini (stand 210), said the managed email security service provider is looking forward to its first InfoSec as it looks to replicate its success overseas in the UK market.

"InfoSec is the place to 'see and be seen' by press, analysts and customers, so it is natural for us to attend," he said.

And for every new entrant there is an established rival ready to 'welcome' the newcomer onto the show floor. UK rival MessageLabs is certainly ready to go to toe to toe with Postini.

Mark Sunner, CTO of MessageLabs (stand 430), told silicon.com: "MessageLabs established the managed email security service market and is attending Infosec to demonstrate how it continues to define and lead that marketplace."

It's unlikely vendor rivalries will see them resort to 'taking it outside' – but a bit of spice on the show floor could make things a little more interesting.

Some attendees are old hands at the annual event – though that appears not to have dimmed the enthusiasm. Ian Bowles, SVP global operations at Clearswift (stand 600), told silicon.com: "Clearswift has been exhibiting at InfoSec for many years and it certainly looks like the show is going to be much bigger this year."

The fact the show has become a regular diary date for many provides consistency in a fast moving industry. Trend's Girbal, told silicon.com: "In our world the challenges are so fast moving and fluid, InfoSec is one of the few fixed points."

Sara Buttle, corporate communications manager at RSA Security (stand 420), told silicon.com her company is "expecting a busy show" and believes there will be plenty of sales leads walking the floor.

And another large, established player certainly agrees. Nick Bowman, PR and Analyst manager at McAfee (540), told silicon.com: "McAfee has found InfoSec to be an excellent opportunity to engage with customers, indeed it has exceeded sales lead targets for several years."

"As a niche show InfoSec offers vendors a unique chance to generate real opportunities unlike more general trade shows," added Bowman.

Paul King, principal security consultant at Cisco Systems is also confident 2005 will be one of his company's best InfoSecs to date.

But not everybody is convinced, some companies, such as end-point security specialist Sygate, have told silicon.com they are giving InfoSec a miss this year because for all the PR brownie points to be won it's not traditionally been a source of significant sales leads.

Matt Fisher, VP at Centennial (stand 827), agrees that style has sometimes dominated over substance but says his company wouldn't miss it for the world.

"It's imperative for any security vendor to see and be seen at Infosec – there's no two ways about it. If you want to be taken seriously you need to be there," he told silicon.com.

"Over recent years there’s been an increased level of cynicism at Infosec," said Fisher. "Fancy stalls and glossy marketing collateral just won't cut it if you haven't got the product to match. More than ever before, the emphasis is on validating the quality of your solution not the logo or the free pen."

But of course it wouldn't be a show without the usual competitions, stunts, drinks parties and give-aways which are all part of the conference experience.

Picking up on the spy theme, Trend Micro will be offering visitors to its stand the chance to win a James Bond-style Aston Martin, though sadly only for the weekend.

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