Alternatives in the Absence of IT Security Conferences

eWEEK NEWS: Data Connectors holds the 2020 Los Angeles Virtual Cybersecurity Summit, with more virtual events to come.


As we’re painfully finding out, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has decimated the events and conferences of businesses, among many others. The IT event world is one of the hardest hit, since there are about 250 such conferences per year in the U.S. alone. Companies such as O’Reilly Media, Gartner, Informa and others have had to lay off or furlough entire divisions of employees as a result of this 100-year-type health-hazard event.

Conferences large and small, ranging from huge vertical-industry events to church committees, are rapidly moving to videoconferencing tools such as Zoom, Adobe Connect, Cisco Webex, Skype and others to get people together to make decisions and get business accomplished. It’s never quite the same as sitting across a table and looking into the eyes of a colleague or potential client, but it’s the next best thing and better than a conference call.

Los Angeles-based Data Connectors, which represents the largest cybersecurity community in North America, is all about conferences too, but it also has a different take on the whole thing. Data Connectors, which concentrates on smaller, more regional security events, revealed this week that it will hold its first Virtual Cybersecurity Summit. The firm, which has put on physical conferences since 1999, responded quickly to keep scheduled events on track with an immersive, online experience.

The 2020 Los Angeles Virtual Cybersecurity Summit takes place today, April 2. While this is the 16th event the firm will host to serve the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, it will be the first time it does so in the virtual event environment.

Data Connectors said it augmented the usual community in that area of about 30,000 with an additional 75,000 members of the greater community across all of California and neighboring states Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. 

“Live virtual summits have been part of our roadmap for some time—this crisis encouraged us to move quickly,” Michael Hiskey, the firm’s chief strategy officer, said in a media advisory. “Rather than simply postponing events, or attempting some sort of boring, elongated webinar, we needed to offer a fully immersive, virtual event experience to facilitate collaboration for our cybersecurity community.” 

Keynote presentations from Facebook and the United States Secret Service top the full-day agenda, which will also feature nine industry expert presenters and 30 virtual exhibits from cybersecurity solution providers. 

  • Assistant Director Michael D'Ambrosio, of the U.S. Secret Service’s Office of Investigations, will discuss the agency’s role in defending critical financial infrastructure as well as in responding to financial threats during the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • Michael Husnik, head of Protective Intelligence for Facebook, will discuss how his team performs risk mitigation and investigation of nefarious actors targeting Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus and Calibra. 

The Virtual Summit will also feature an interactive panel discussion with some of the top chief information officers (CIOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs) from Los Angeles-area firms, including: 

  • E.J. Hilbert, Managing Director & CISO, CNM LLP
  • Chris McMasters, Chief Information Officer, city of Corona, Calif.
  • Mohammed Bagha, Deputy CISO, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors
  • David Hanighen, Chief Information Security Officer, Logix Federal Credit Union
  • Donny Fan, Chief Information Officer, APLA Health

Attendees from the community of over 500 cybersecurity professionals registered for the summit will ask questions and interact online with the CISOs, as well as each other and the organizations that will feature their solutions at the event. Solution providers for the LA Summit include Morphisec, Avanan, OneTrust, Aria Cybersecurity Solutions, Arcserve, Netskope, Illusive Networks, Spirion, Armis and many others. 

The Summit takes place on Thursday, April 2, 2020, and starts at 8:30 a.m. PT. Registration is free for qualified professionals, who can also obtain Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits for participation. More information can be found at

Data Connectors had 50 cybersecurity conferences planned for the rest of 2020. Virtual Summits are planned during  the next several weeks in Hartford, Detroit, Portland, Des Moines, Louisville, Chicago, Ottawa and Philadelphia. The firm will continue its physical, in-person Cybersecurity Conference Series after the crisis has subsided. At the same time, the company stated that while Virtual Summits meet the needs of the community amid the COVID-19 crisis, they will also become a permanent fixture of the firm’s strategy. 

Details for all events can be found at

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...