This year, the 33rd FIRST took place digitally for the second time. Based on the subject “Crossing Uncertain Times,” a large number of security and incident response teams came together once again. This conference promotes the worldwide cooperation between these teams and offers a platform for the exchange of ideas, information and optimizations around the topic of cyber security.
OTRS AG was represented with a booth at FIRST. We interviewed our security expert Jens Bothe, who was in attendance, afterwards:
1. The topic for FIRST was “Crossing Uncertain Times.” How did you perceive the digital FIRST in which we participated?
The aim of FIRST is actually getting to know each other in person and exchanging ideas. Digitally, this works via video call and chats, but of course you don’t have the same amount of contacts as in the real world. That’s a shame, because many contacts can be very inspiring.
Lectures were streamed publicly via YouTube and the subsequent Q&A sessions took place in private rooms at the conference. The latter went much deeper into the topics, which of course was more interesting for me.
The virtual implementation was exciting because you could walk across the conference rooms with your avatar.
2. Were there any advantages and/or disadvantages to a digital event for you?
The advantage was definitely the interesting implementation of the playground and the creation of your own avatar. That was fun.
Also, I could stream all three talks in parallel and jump to the one that interested me the most at the time, depending on my own interests. The recordings also let me watch them again in more detail afterwards. Of course, that’s not possible in the real world.
I found myself doing other tasks at the same time. In addition to the fact that I didn’t actually travel to FIRST in Japan, the real-life exchange was unfortunately missing, and the contact opportunities were much more limited at a virtual conference.
3. What were the main topics for you personally at the conference, at our booth, and with our products?
The focus was clearly on incident response management.
The overall mix of topics was also very interesting. I took away some exciting ideas for our STORM SOAR product, and I was inspired by presentations on how other companies handle incident management.
4. What was the most interesting (digital) encounter for you?
The funniest situation, caused by the time difference between participants, was the moment when I sat across from an Australian at breakfast, yet it was the middle of the night for me.
Especially interesting was the contact with other exhibitors; this offered direction for possible interfaces for our product STORM. Overall, it was simply the diversity of encounters. I made new contacts and was able to talk to former customers.
5. Your biggest learning from the virtual FIRST was…?
A virtual conference is no substitute for a real conference. I think that shows in the number of attendees. I had the impression that people don’t want to have “virtual meetings” anymore.
6. What was your personal highlight moment?
My colleague Bernd from the marketing department was “on site” with his avatar. The arcade adventure style of the playground was ingenious. From a technical point of view, it was very successful to be able to create your own avatar — even with your own pet which follows you everywhere. Technically, that was very cool.
7. STORM recently received the InfoSec Award from Cyber Defense Magazine. What does the award mean to you – and what do you think was the decisive criterion for the award?
I am very pleased! It shows continuity in the quality our work to have received the award for the second time.