The first time networking at GSX can be both nerve-racking and exciting. Just walking into the registration area and experiencing the vast space filled with hundreds of people from all over the world is somewhat intimidating. Although as you stand in line, swiping randomly on your phone to look like you are responding to an email, you hear likeminded professionals speaking about familiar topics and issues they are facing within security. You slowly find the vastness of the space get smaller, the people around you are familiar, even though you don’t know them personally. Security professionals are a special breed of professionals that love to share knowledge and information; it is in our nature.
So, I say if it is your first time at the GSX conference, feel free to just jump into a conversation and share your story. While introducing yourself, you will find that you are pulled into a circle of professionals you never saw coming. I would also recommend everyone to attend the social events that happen around the event. Security professionals and vendors alike network at these events to connect on a personal level and have a good time.
Not only can meeting people feel overwhelming, but there is so much happening at the event. Your best friend will be the GSX app. A map of the event space along with a description of all the keynote speakers and other presentations will give you a sense of direction. Find events that will assist you in achieving your goals at your workplace – from giving you the tools to finalize that presentation to your C-suite level executives for enhancing that security budget, or equipping you with industry leading knowledge regarding upcoming technologies, policies, and laws, to just learning a new arm of the security industry, these events will only broaden your knowledge across the security landscape.
After a packed few days of meeting new people, newly acquired knowledge, and a whirl of events, it’s always best to keep in touch with all these new contacts. I have found that there is no better way than on LinkedIn. In today’s ever-evolving market and economy, people change companies and/or change their careers and LinkedIn is a sure way to stay connected with these newfound connections regardless of where they stay or go. Personal phone numbers are a great way of staying connected as well, as some people may not be inclined to use social media platforms. In summary, it is best to stay connected with someone outside of just their current business connection so you can make sure to keep them as a connection.
Asaf Levy has attended the four most recent GSX conferences and currently serves as the ASIS Toronto Chapter Chair.