Editorial: Come Together (Q4 2020 Issue)

At times such as these, the notion of coming together can seem rather implausible.

However, as 2020 draws to a close and we reflect on what has been a year of unprecedented challenge and change, I genuinely believe that, despite social distancing and lockdown measures keeping us apart for so long, the information security industry is more together now than it has ever been.

Of course, there is no denying the sad reality that the huge physical gatherings that our sector is synonymous with have been rendered entirely impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic for the majority of this year. What’s more, due to the ongoing nature of the crisis, it is tough for even the most optimistic-thinking individual to envisage when we will next be able to walk the aisles of a packed conference floor to physically network, collaborate and share knowledge with our infosec friends and colleagues from around the world.

Nonetheless, throughout 2020, there have been numerous examples of the industry coming together in new ways to discuss, raise awareness of – and instigate change around – some of the most vitally important and relevant issues impacting not only information security but wider society in general. This is despite the inability to meet via traditional methods. In fact, there have been certain initiatives, events and pledges within the sector this year that have sought to address or garner support for extremely important and worthwhile causes for the very first time.

These include industry-led efforts that I have mentioned in previous editorials this year such as Cyber Volunteers 19, which provides much-needed cybersecurity support to healthcare services in the UK and Europe during the pandemic and #VersusRacism, a collective of professionals seeking to communicate, educate and inspire change around racism and racial inequality in the information security industry.

Well, another fantastic initiative came to my attention more recently – Cyber House Party. I was immediately intrigued – and not just because of the word “party” in the title.

Despite restrictions and lockdowns, the infosec industry feels more together now than ever
Despite restrictions and lockdowns, the infosec industry feels more together now than ever

Well, another fantastic initiative came to my attention more recently – Cyber House Party. I was immediately intrigued – and not just because of the word “party” in the title.

Established due to the impact of the pandemic, Cyber House Party is a new virtual event series that sets out to unite the UK cybersecurity community and collectively raise money for UK charities including Mind, Childline and Age UK, organizations that have suffered from absent and vital fundraising events this year. It is organized and supported by individuals and companies within the security industry who are inspired to help bring the community together when we are physically forced apart.

The first iteration of the online event took place back in June, with a second, larger event held on Thursday October 29 to insightful, meaningful and at certain points darn right hilarious success. It featured a raft of names in the sector speaking openly and honestly about issues such as mental health, diversity and inclusion in the industry, whilst also providing some great music and memorable LOL moments courtesy of particular personalities who never seem to shy away from the opportunity to raise a few laughs for a worthy cause.

Cyber House Party is an event that only exists because of the unfortunate circumstances we have experienced this year, yet it is a brilliant new addition to the event calendar and one that looks set to remain due to its popularity. Not only that, but when was the last time you could attend a security event (physically or virtually) for free, hear from experts in the field talking about relevant and important issues, enjoy some music and laughs, with every penny raised going to charity?

Again, it is another example of how well our industry has pulled together in difficult times to keep community spirit alive and really do some good, not just for those of us in the sector, but beyond as well.

If 2020 has been anything, it’s been a year in which so many of us have been tested professionally, physically and mentally, and that will very likely be the case for the foreseeable future. However, it’s also been a time in which the infosec community has come together to not only technologically and pragmatically strengthen and streamline, but also show greater recognition of, and empathy for, issues that impact us not just as players in the information security sphere – but as human beings.

On behalf of the whole Infosecurity Magazine team, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our readers for your continued support and engagement this year. It’s not been the easiest of rides, but we have never been more dedicated to bringing you the very best content as we are as we head into next year.

As always, enjoy the issue, take care of yourselves and we’ll see you again in 2021.

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