For a lot of security professionals like myself, GSX is like a big family reunion. Familiar faces in security from around the globe gather in one (large) space to chat. The other side of GSX is in the field of innovation. Start-ups are encouraged to bring their novel offerings to wow the security industry with innovative solutions to security problems. Some innovations are more helpful than others, but largely, security professionals agree that GSX blends the old with the new and that combination is great for the security industry as a whole.

I had a chance to ask several security thought leaders about their take on GSX 2019, and their responses did not disappoint. Check out their insight below.

Michael Brzozowski PSP, CPP, CISSP, Symcor:

As a Canadian end-user, face-to-face meeting opportunities with security vendors or products can be harder to find than down south which is why I head there primarily. In fact, my face-to-face meetings with manufacturers have resulted in at least $50K in savings through deals we made at GSX. I also enjoy learning about upcoming industry trends, networking and learning about volunteering opportunities.

I welcome initiatives like the “Startup Sector” and “Innovative Product” awards because it takes away from the “boys club” approach (in a good way); historically the big players would take up so much of the oxygen and it was hard to foster out-of-the-box thinking. These new players also look at the security function as a business function rather than a necessity and they design solutions around a business-first concept.

There are many learning tracks that I’m interested in usually, especially the CSO Center sessions. I don’t mind the ESRM emphasis but I think it may be getting overplayed a bit; we keep talking about it but it seems like no one is adopting it so there is little proof of ROI. The InfoSec is always great for nerds like me, but they were much better when ASIS was in bed with (ISC)2.

The professional development sessions would be great if it was more than a bunch of gerry’s talking about their respective life stories. The industry has changed, organizational expectations have changed, education has changed …tell me about it! The “managing organizations” sessions are incredibly important, and need to keep focus on selling the business of security to the C-Suite, but also how to effectively manage teams.

Jason Caissie, Vice President, Operations, Profile Inc.

Other tradeshows do not seem as intimate; GSX feels like a reunion of sorts, because of my involvement in ASIS. I enjoy discussions with people I know; this enhances my enjoyment of the show, as people will often point me towards a session or exhibitor based on a chance discussion on the show floor.

I would support the Startup Sector, and support any initiative that gives more attention to unique and innovative products.  Where ASIS (and other tradeshows) struggle is separating the fly-by-night products from the genuinely innovative and promising. This is where the community of ASIS members factors in, particularly with sessions that highlight the new and innovative products on the floor.

My idea for an innovative solution is that it has to solve a problem or fill a real gap in current technology. The company has to show that they’ve done something unique, have done it in a professional and ethical manner, are both prepared and equipped to bring it to market and will continue to support it. Being at an industry tradeshow is a good start; but having employees with industry experience, ASIS membership and related education/certifications would certainly rank higher in my books.

I do, and I generally look at the presenters’ names and employers to decide which sessions to attend.  I look for people that I know to be interesting, and for sessions that appeal as more than just a sales pitch for a product or service.  I also look for advanced sessions that ‘hit the ground running’. It’s often difficult to get into the advanced details of a product or theory in an hour, so it’s important that the speakers are trying to qualify the attendees in the session bio, to ensure that they are able to keep up with the subject matter.

Mike Hurst, Director, HJA Consult

First and foremost, GSX’s scale and range means that there are few tradeshows to rival it. The educational activities on offer are also unparalleled so that gives me a great opportunity to gather information on market trends and learn about interesting products.

For me, an innovative solution is something genuinely new, surprising and not just a new version of an existing technology. And since small, innovative, disruptive companies are often the lifeblood of the sector and through initiatives like the “Startup Sector,” we get an opportunity to encourage and support them.

During GSX this year, I will have various commitments around my involvement with the Professional Development Council, ESRM and Career Coaching.

Gary Kuty, Kuty & Associates, LLC

I look forward to networking. I also like the massive scale of the GSX show. For me an innovative solution is one that combines technology with manned guarding to increase proficiency and reduce costs.

Kristen Mosuch, CPP, Industrial Security

The wealth of information at GSX and the annual Women in Security Council meeting pulls me in to GSX every year.

Dwayne Hurley, Wells Fargo

Relationships—old and new. Each one brings the opportunity to learn.

Opinions may vary on GSX 2019, but it’s safe to say that everyone is looking forward to the biggest family reunion the security industry has to offer.

I attend GSX for a variety of reasons. I listen to client issues and specific problems they would like to solve. These kinds of interactions are key to helping TrackTik provide better solutions to security challenges. I also go to give presentations and on subjects I specialize in and, perhaps my favourite part, watch presentations and learn from the brightest minds in the business. And of course I can’t forget an invaluable component to attending GSX: connecting with new and old acquaintances.

If you would like to meet up at the show, come to booth #1951. Or if you’d like to chat and attend a fun evening, come to ASIS Canada Night on Monday Sept 9 at 7PM. The event is hosted at Lucky Strike at Streeterville.