I began this academic year having never stepped foot on an airplane, and here I was traveling by myself across the country. What an amazing experience to conclude my second year of schooling with. I completed my first year with the Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation (LCDI) where I was part of two research projects: one in Bluetooth vulnerability assessments and the other on application analysis. These two projects opened my eyes into security and data recovery. The amazing environment at the LCDI allows you to challenge yourself while getting hands-on experience in your field of study. When I received the email from our Director asking “Would you like to attend a professional digital forensic conference?”, I immediately began to think of how awesome it would be to attend Enfuse.
Enfuse is a conference known by many and I had heard nothing but great things. Just hearing the stories in Cybersecurity Club and reading online testimonials convinced me to apply for it. Granted I assumed that this trip was reserved for upperclassmen, so I wasn’t expecting to be accepted. I just reminded myself that the older students have more experience therefore they deserve to go; “when it’s your time, it will happen” I said. Towards our Thanksgiving Break I notice a voicemail from the Director of the LCDI, telling me to get in touch with him as soon as possible. I called right back. Just like that, I was going to Vegas. I felt bad for anyone trying to study in the Library but I could not contain my excitement. Then I began my countdown to Enfuse.
Starting the Week at Enfuse Conference
I started my week off right: I rode in a limousine from McCarran Airport to Caesar’s Palace. Not only did I get to experience this new city but I decided to give myself the royal treatment, riding a limo to Caesar’s Palace. We drove through The Strip, blasted some awesome music and enjoyed the amazing weather in Las Vegas. Arriving at Caesar’s Palace made the name apparent. This venue is massive: the first floor alone is bigger than most hotels I’ve ever seen.
Our welcome reception occurred at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis, which was home to seven pools. The pools were essentially closed for our party but provided a sense of luxury as they reflected their surroundings. I loved the ability to network with professionals alongside my peers . Everyone at this conference loves collaboration, so getting to know one another is a great way to stay ahead in our industry.
As I mingled I began to realize how many people I recognized from the news or case studies I’ve done. It was an indescribable feeling to finally meet the people you look up to. Even better, so many of them knew about the amazing program at Champlain College and couldn’t wait to hear more from me. As a tour guide I have always found small talk easy, but attending a conference where people keep looking for more information it makes it that much better. You discover a high level of enthusiasm and the night almost becomes too short.
Enfuse was full of so many different seminars and labs. Some of the ones I attended were about eDiscovery, IOT forensics, incident response, and data governance to name a few. One that I especially enjoyed was “Cyber Security and Cyber Breaches from Your Business Lawyer’s Perspective” presented by Kathy Delaney Winger. Kathy reminded us about issues regarding cyber law and compliance. She raised questions like, “Do companies have a plan in place for a breach? Are companies seeing compliance standards as a goal or a minimum requirement?” Kathy stated that she represents small to medium sized companies which caught my attention. I know many individuals with smaller businesses and I began to wonder if they are prepared for these situations.
I cannot even begin to describe the event that we all know and love as Enfuse. While the event is only three days, you have so much fun that you don’t even realize how quickly time gets away from you. I was able to attend multiple classes all in different areas of focus. I know I will be talking about this event for years. Enfuse is more than a tech conference; it is a family of knowledge that is to be shared with the world. Some lasting tips sure are to go out of your comfort zone so be prepared to talk to strangers. I just happened to be in the same elevator as a company CEO, have that elevator pitch always ready. And honestly apply to go to conferences especially Enfuse, I cannot speak any higher of this fantastic event.