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What are some good arguments for getting your work to send you to the popular con's? Some of them can involve quite a bit of travel cost thus increasing the need for good arguments for going.

I'd love going to some of the conventions however I am unsure what arguments I should use. My current position is CISO in a small-medium sized business.

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Simple: by knowing and befriending your enemy ;-) You should really go to the con in china ;-) –  Andrew Smith Jul 12 '12 at 19:27

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

In my opinion, being sent to the conference would...

  1. Keep your skills up to date in a fast moving industry
  2. Bring fresh ideas and perspective back to your company
  3. Allow you to network, e.g. scout new hires
  4. Increase the presence/awareness of your brand
  5. Provide a bonding experience with co-workers

To help ensure success...

  • Find out what the application process is for your company
  • Find coworkers who have already gone through this process
  • Ask your manager how they can be convinced
  • Read sample letters like this one for insight into business babble

For further research, read the the answers to What value to the business is there in sending non marketing people to trade shows? and the question to better understand how business types think and what their concerns might be.

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Defcon always worked out as the most cost effective broad technical training for my penetration testers and technical security teams - even though I had to approve budget for them to fly from the UK to Vegas and stay there for the week.

Defcon gives

  • cutting edge training
  • direct experience of 'black hat' activities
  • value for money

Blackhat is a much more difficult argument - in my opinion it is only really valuable if you must be seen there with certain people, or can use the networking time valuably.

Blackhat gives

  • exposure to senior representatives of security organisations
  • limited training on new enterprise security products

Local conferences can potentially work out cheaper (I'm thinking of OWASP for web app security people, local Defcon meets, BlackHat Europe for Europeans etc) but it is worth weighing up the differences in scale.

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