The Future Home of Black Hat

Media worthy talks on the latest hacking techniques, big vendor parties, and rubbing up against a random 300 pound man whilst battling with the other 7,000+ pre-registered attendees to get to the room of your choice…it’s all part of the show here at Black Hat USA in Las Vegas, but maybe not for long. As depicted by signs around the conference, Black Hat will be moving out of the Ceasar’s Palace digs it has long since out grown. Next year’s Black Hat venue will be the Mandalay Bay, whose conference center features an expansive three levels that will be more conducive to the size of the crowds now attending Black Hat USA. This move is largely an effort to meet the growing number of attendees and also likely provides a more attractive venue for vendor sponsorship.
For many this will come as sad news, as the sights and sounds of Ceasar’s Palace undoubtedly serve as a portal into years past for loyal Black Hat goers. The need for larger grounds is however a welcome change for the Black Hat conference which continues to mature and grow alongside of the broader information security market. It is clear that the information security industry requires a conference with more depth than RSA USA and more industrialist professionalism than DEF CON. UBM is keenly positioned to fill that need with the Black Hat conference. However, the relative size of the Ceasar’s conference center and the somewhat convoluted access to vendors (either in a room much too small, hallways much too narrow, or in a large room removed from the conference) has limited the continued growth through vendor sponsorship.

Much of these issues, and potentially (hopefully) the issue of standstill hallway traffic between talks will largely be alleviated. This should make Black Hat an increasingly attractive target for vendors who, as some know, will find that the demographic of attendees at Black Hat is much more likely to consist of a potent population for sales lead generation versus other security conferences. With this demographic and the new venue, the only thing standing in the way of Black Hat combining both the vendor support of RSA and the professional hacker community, is the time of year. Given the typical security sales cycle, it is difficult to generate leads at Black Hat and close them before the end of the year five months later.

Regardless, enlightened vendors recognize that market leadership is a continuous cycle and not just a year-end goal. As the Black Hat community continues to grow its influence over the broader information security market, the list of vendors sponsoring the event is likely to grow as well. Moving to a larger floor plan, will assist in allowing that growth. Either way, here today, there tomorrow…

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