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Scenes from CyberX Tampa Bay 2023 (Tuesday, October 24, 2023)

Last year’s CyberX Tampa Bay event was a big hit, and it was only natural that there’d be another one this year. Like the first one, this year’s event was packed.

The moment I walked into the venue, I saw so many people and had so many conversations that I never got the chance to take pictures until the start of the “welcome” session in the large room:

A packed main room at CyberX Tampa Bay, with every seat full and lots of people standing.

Suzanne Ricci, Computer Coach’s CEO and one of the event co-organizers, welcomed the gathered throng to CyberX…

Suzanne Ricci at the front of the main room at CyberX Tampa Bay, delivering an opening speech.

…after which we had the choice of two breakout sessions:

  1. Chronicles of an Entry-level Cybersecurity Professional
  2. The Wheel of Misfortune
Banner for CyberX Tampa Bay 2023’s “Wheel of Misfortune,” featuring headshots of Jason Allen and Jonas Kelley.

I went to the Wheel of Misfortune, where audience members got the chance to answer cybersecurity questions for Google swag. Anyone in the audience could volunteer to come up to the front, spin the wheel of topics and answer a question based on that topic.

A contestant spins the multi-colored Wheel of Misfortune and Jason Allen and Jonas Kelley look on.

Hosts Jason Allen and Jonas Kelley were pretty relaxed about audience assistance. At one point, I yelled out the acronym for remebering the 7 layers of the OSI network model — “Please Do Not Take Sausage Pizza Away!” — and no one was penalized.

The front of the “Wheel of Misfortune” room. Every seat is taken.

The room, where every seat and available spot to stand was occupied, was lively, with people enjoying themselves. The audience participation, aided by two engaging hosts, kept the room lively until the very end.

The back of the “Wheel of Misfortune” room. Every seat is taken, and people at teh back are standing.

It was then time to recognize CyberX Tampa Bay’s 2023 honoree — someone nominated by attendees as being the person who made the biggest positive impact on Tampa Bay’s cybersecurity scene. This year’s honoree was Jeremy Rasmussen!

A packed main room watching Jeremy Rasmussen being honored.

And to close the evening, there was the keynote panel on cybersecurity myths. It featured…

Banner for the 2023 CyberX Tampa Bay keynote panelists, featuring headshots of Courtney Jackson, Mark Keller, Ryan WIlliams, Joey de Villa, Ebony Pierce, and Bryson Bort.
The keynote panel: Courtney Jackson, Mark Keller, Ryan WIlliams, Joey de Villa, Ebony Pierce, and Bryson Bort.
Photo by Kasandra Perez. Tap to view at full size.

(pictured above, from left to right…)

  1. Courtney Jackson
  2. Mark Keller
  3. Ryan Williams
  4. Yours Truly, Joey de Villa
  5. Ebony Pierce
  6. Bryson Bort
The keynote panel, viewed from the side: Courtney Jackson, Mark Keller, Ryan WIlliams, Joey de Villa, Ebony Pierce, and Bryson Bort.

We covered these myths:

  • Mark: “Cybersecurity is an IT problem.”
  • Ryan: “You don’t have transferable skills.”
  • Me: “Compliance and security are the same thing,” complete with a reference to this scene from the original Jackass movie.
  • Ebony: “Cybersecurity threats are only an external issue.”
  • Mark: “Macs are more secure than PCs.”
  • Ryan: “We passed the compliance assessment so we can rest on our laurels.”
  • Me: “I’m too small to be a target,” with a story about (ahem) borrowing cable from the bar next door.
  • Ebony: “Cybersecurity threats require careful planning and really smart people.”
  • Bryson: “Security Awareness training works.”
Banner featuring the 2023 CyberX Tampa Bay organizers: Ashley Putnam, Kasandra Perez, Courtney Jackson, and Suzanne Ricci.

This amazing event wouldn’t have been possible without the organizers…

…or without the sponsors:

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