Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting Approval to Attend a Security Conference

One of the great things about working in Information Security is attending the various conferences that are held throughout the year. One of the biggest drawbacks is justifying the attending of the previously mentioned conferences.

I am writing this post as a guide to help the security professionals in explaining/justifying their trip(s) to their managers and bosses. Let me continue by saying that your management are not bad people for asking for justification. Contrarily, they are looking out for the business and organization which benefits everyone. It's not that they don't want you to go; it's just that they need to make a business decision and you get a chance to weigh in.

In order to help those making a decision, you have to show them how their choice to allow you to attend will benefit the company.

Draft an email stating the following:

  1. Purpose of the email (to attend the conference). Include the name of the conference, a short description, the date(s) and location.
  2. The costs associated with attending the conference. Include the registration, any travel expense (airfare, mileage, parking, etc.), lodging (don't forget taxes) and per diem (if applicable)
  3. Value to the company. This is important! This is where you justify the expense of going. Benefits like education as well as networking should be backed up by examples as to how it will benefit your company directly.
OK, so what if you do all this and are still not allowed to go? There are still some things that you can do.

Maybe there is a chance that your boss will let you go if you offer to pay your own way or some of the costs. He/she may be more inclined to let you go if they can spend less money. Perhaps they can give you the time off with pay and you pay for your tickets and/or travel? Compromise is the key here.

Another thing that may help is if you attend part of a day or the time. There may be times when your boss cannot afford to not have you at work. Take advantage of a day or two of a week-long conference or maybe pick a few sessions that you absolutely want to attend.

Lastly, if the other options don't seem to work, most conferences have either presentations or videos of sessions/talks available afterwards. Yes, this is not the best scenario, but it's better than not getting any information.

I hope that this post has been helpful to those of you looking to attend security conferences.

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