ISC West concluded yesterday, featuring three keynotes, more than 25 SIA Education@ISC sessions, virtual vendor solution sessions, discussion groups, networking and more.

Typically held in Las Vegas, the event was originally scheduled to occur in March, was then pushed back to July, and finally switched to the full virtual format.

In its in-person format, ISC West takes place over four or five days with more than 100 sessions. That scope was scaled back, with an emphasis on quality and digitally engaging programming from Oct. 5-7.

“We purposely chose to have a strong offering, but to make it digestible, knowing that nobody's going to be on the program for three straight days,” said Will Wise, group vice president of Reed Exhibitions, which plans the event. “You can pick and choose certain activities or sessions.”

Day one featured a technical keynote from Michael MacKenzie, general manager of IoT connectivity & control services at Amazon Webservices IoT. In his keynote, titled “On the Edge of Transformation: Securing a Connected Future with IoT,” MacKenzie explained the benefits and complexities of IoT, using Amazon’s Webservices IoT strategy as an example.

“Your IoT security strategy will need to look to your culture and your future,” he said.

Multiple educational sessions on Wiegand and OSDP were available for attendees on Monday.

In “Hacked in 60 Seconds: Legacy Wiegand Exposes Modern Access Control,” Director of Research for The CORE Group Babak Javadi and Cypress Integration Solutions Founder and CTO Tony Diodato discussed Wiegand’s limitations and liabilities in today’s world, and how Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) can push the industry forward with its many advantages, which include enhanced functionality, security, interoperability, supervision and affordability.

“With [OSDP], you can actually know if in fact the reader is attached to the control panel — often, if a wire were cut in the middle of the night, the next day, you can’t even get in,” Diodato said.

COVID-19 was also a hot topic during the conference. In an educational session titled, “Enabling Standoff Identification and Illness Detection in the Context of COVID-19,” Michael Joy, senior director for corporate strategy at IDEMIA National Security Solutions, laid out how social changes due to COVID-19 have led to more contactless security solutions.

“COVID-19 has become the catalyst for this frictionless convenience,” he said.

In addition to the keynotes and educational sessions, attendees were able to attend vendor solution sessions throughout the conference. “Creating Access for the Future: Resilience Through Technology and Innovation,” presented by ASSA ABLOY, explored the latest developments in door opening solutions, and three areas of opportunity: access control, workforce management and emerging growth opportunities.

“Every one of us is responsible in some way for addressing the top priority — getting businesses open in a safe and secure way — and this requires a great deal of creativity, as well as innovation,” Mark Duato, executive vice president of aftermarket solutions for ASSA ABLOY, said in the session. “Unfortunately there are still a lot of unknowns, but let’s talk a bit about what we do know and what we can do.”

Charles Burns, head of global security engagement at Uber, opened day two of ISC West with a keynote titled, “How Uber is Scaling Enterprise Risk Management at the Speed of Global Transportation.”

In his keynote, Burns addressed how the tech company has looked at risk management in the past four years and in the context of COVID-19.

“It’s very dynamic and complex,” Burns said in regards to Uber’s security threat landscape.

Also on day two, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a town hall meeting on securing digital connections and promoting cybersecurity — especially timely since October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In the meeting, DHS officials encouraged security professionals to work with the DHS and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in a collaborative way.

“Think about where we can be securing capabilities, new technologies and critical infrastructure upgrades by reaching out to CISA in development rather than after the fact,” said Karim Mahrous, senior manager for the information security sciences group at Sandia National Laboratories. “Get engaged in the conversation.”

Day three programming focused on security trends, including drones and robotics and strategic management.

Shannon Polson, author of “The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience and Leadership in the Most Male Dominated Organization in the World” and the founder of The Grit Institute, gave the final keynote on this day.

Presented by the SIA Women in Security Forum, “Leading From Any Seat: Stories from the Cockpit & Lessons from the Grit Project,” featured Polson discussing courage, resilience and leadership, using examples from her personal experience as one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter in the U.S. Army, and ideas outlined in her book.

She said that in terms of leadership and organization, grit means valuing every voice from bottom to top.

“When you’re empowering everybody in your organization, that means you honor that every single voice matters and makes the whole stronger,” she said.

In the educational session “Diversity & Inclusion in the Security Industry,” a panel of security professional answered questions about how to make security workplaces more equitable, giving everyone not only a seat at the table but a chance to eat.

According to a 2020 McKinsey report, gender diverse companies are 24 percent more like to outperform less diverse companies, and ethnically diverse companies are 33 percent more like to outperform less diverse companies.

Panelist Willem Ryan, vice president of marketing and communications at AlertEnterprise, said mentoring is incredibly important in making sure workplaces are more diverse and inclusive.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without people who have invested in us,” he said.

The conference concluded with the Mission 500 Virtual 5k/2k Awards Ceremony, where ADT was awarded the corporate responsibility award and George Fletcher was given the humanitarian award.

During the event, Tony Abou-Ganim, a mixologist who has appeared on “Iron Chef America,” “Good Morning America,” and “CNBC,” and author of “The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails,” shared three recipes for whiskey-based drinks attendees could make at home: Just For Mary, a Manhattan and Old Fashioned-inspired cocktail; Highland’s Old Fashioned; and a Boulevardier.

Next year’s ISC West conference will take place at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas from March 23-26.

ISC West sessions can be accessed on the virtual event engagement hub for up to three months after the event. Find the full event under the “ISC West Virtual Event” tab at