Conferences are an important part of any industry, especially in the crucial, quickly evolving landscape of cybersecurity. No matter what role you have in IT security, there are hundreds of IT security conferences to choose from each year, giving you plenty of options—which can get overwhelming!
That’s why we have compiled this guide: to help you find the top IT Security, Information Security, and CyberSecurity conferences of 2021.
Of course, conferences look a lot different this year, with many moving online entirely. But virtual conferences have plenty of advantages over in-person conferences, perhaps even giving more people to chance to access these professional development opportunities:
- Lower cost (many are free!)
- No travel
- More customizable content
- Flexible schedules
- Diversity of speakers (since location doesn’t matter)
- Content on-demand for months after the program
Our list provides both national and international options, so you can find exactly what suits your needs. Feel free to reach out if you would like to add a security-related conference to the directory. To be considered, please email all details including the conference name, dates of the event, location, and a link to the event’s website to blogs @ bmc.com.
Be sure to check out our other conference round-ups, including Top Virtual IT/Tech Conferences, Top IT/Tech Conferences, DevOps Conferences, Voice Tech Conferences, and Programming & Software Dev Conferences.
(This article is part of our IT Conferences & Events Guide. Use the right-hand menu to navigate.)
Top Security Conferences of 2021
Date: February 3-4, 2021
Cost: Professionals can apply for a free spot; General registration $395
The Ai4 2021 conference is all about artificial intelligence in the domain of cybersecurity. Over two days, attendees can hear from business leaders and data practitioners to learn about successfully adopting AI and machine learning to support your security practice. Ai4 2021 uses a unique use-case oriented approach that:
- Delivers actionable insights
- Offers a common framework for AI in cybersecurity
- Offers content at all stages of the AI journey
Ai4 will help you no matter where you are in your AI journey.
Date: February 22-27, 2021
Location: Online (live from Scottsdale, AZ)
Cost: Options starting from $799
SANS Virtual Edition 2021 is organized by the SANS Institute, the global leader in information security training. The conference features hands-on cyber security courses taught by the industry’s top professionals and instructors in the field. These courses range in levels from introductory all the way to the most advanced training. The event also offers insightful presentations by keynote speakers and plenty of unique networking opportunities.
With this year’s edition moving online, you’ll still get best-in-class training. Here’s what you can expect:
- Interactive, live-stream courses
- Hands-on labs in a virtual environment
- Cyber Defense NetWars Tournament (included w/ticket cost)
- Real-time support from virtual TAs
- Dedicated chat channels for networking
Cyber Security Digital Summit for Threat Intelligence 2021
This year’s online events will take place over two half-days, making it easier for SecOps pros to fit into their non-stop schedules. This year’s Cyber Security Digital Summit focuses on how to turn your raw security data into actual threat intelligence. After all, as the website states, “the discipline is not called Threat Raw Data”.
Security professionals as well as CIOs, CSOs, and CTOs alike can all take advantage of this Cyber Security Digital Summit. Expect to learn about:
- The limits of SIEM systems
- The potential, and shortfalls, of SOAR platforms today
- Data quality
- Using remediation, automation, and orchestration to turn your data into actual intelligence and insights
Best of all? The events are free! So even if you can only make some of the sessions, you’re still getting fantastic value.
Date: May 14-15, 2021
Location: Top secret (For attendees only!)
Cost: Sold out, but ThotCon & Lyte offer a second-hand ticketing option
The preeminent top secret hacking conference is back for 2021! ThotCon is an annual conference in Chicago started and held specifically for hackers and the local hacking culture. ThotCon is a small, non-profit, non-commercial event, with an attendance last year of about 1,000 people. In honor of its secretive nature, the specific location of the event is kept confidential until the week of the conference, when it is then released to attendees and speakers alike.
Some previous topics covered at ThotCon:
- Using, or securing against, the latest hacking methods such as side channels, physics, and low-cost tools
- Hacking Python
- Intercepting, modifying, and generating wireless signals with SD
Date: May 17-20, 2021
The RSA Conference is one of the largest security conferences in the entire world, with more than 42,000 attendees in 2019 alone. Add to that more than 700 speakers from across the globe, and it’s no wonder this event is one of the largest and most popular in the area of cybersecurity.
The 2021 RSA Conference is moving 100% online, making it an option to more Security pros around the globe. And we think this year’s conference theme—resilience—is right on time! Here’s what you can expect:
- Rich educational content across 20 conference tracks
- 300+ sessions with keynotes, partners, and sponsors
- Interactive, traditional sessions
- Regular RSAC activities like the Innovation Sandbox Content, Capture the Flag games, Birds of a Feature, and more
- Expansive Sponsor Resource Center
- And more
Full conference not your style? RSA recently launched RSA 365, an online, year-round learning initiative.
Date: May 23-27, 2021
Organized by the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Security and Privacy in cooperation with the International Association for Cryptologic Research, the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy has been the premier forum for presenting developments in computer security and electronic privacy for over 40 years.
Few details on the topical areas are available yet, but it does look like some focus will be on:
- Internet of Smart Things
- Tech & Consumer Protection
- Deep Learning & Security
Date: May 27-28, 2021
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cost: Free speakers sessions; various prices for trainings & labs
Held annually in Amsterdam, The Hack in the Box Security Conference is globally recognized for its networking opportunities and its forward-thinking views on computer security issues. Attendees can expect to develop new professional relationships and alliances while learning from some of the top security experts in the industry.
The 2021 HITB has moved online to a two-day event. We like the flexibility this event offers:
- All conference and keynote speakers are free to attend! Keynote speakers will be Jon Callas, Senior Technology Fellow, ACLU, and Zuk Avraham, Founder & CEO, ZecOps
- Labs and trainings come with a cost, so pick which ones are most useful to you
Date: June 8-10, 2021
Location: London, UK
InfoSecurity Europe is the region’s largest and most well attended information security event. The event features Europe’s most comprehensive conference program, with over 360 exhibitors showcasing the newest information security solutions and products to close to 18,000 attendees.
The 2021 edition has the theme of resilience, which is perfectly apt for the year and the industry. Attendees will have access to:
- Keynote Stage
- Information Security Exchange
- Tech Talks
- Technology Showcase
- Strategy Talks
- Cyber Innovation Showcase
- Security Workshops
- Talking Tactics
- And more!
Date: July 31-August 5, 2021
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Black Hat USA is one of the world’s biggest tech conferences, providing attendees with the latest research and trends in security. The 2019 event attracted more than 20,000 people, and has become the premier conference for researchers, security experts, vendors, and hackers.
Black Hat USA 2021 has been confirmed, but few details have been released yet. For some idea, look to previous events that have covered tracks like:
- Applied security
- Incident response
- Network defense
- Platform security
- Reverse engineering
BlackHat is also offering other events:
- BlackHat Spring Trainings, March 15-18
- BlackHat Asia, May 4-7
- BlackHat Europe, November 8-11
Date: August 5-8, 2021
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Cost: $260, cash only at the door
Another extremely popular event in Las Vegas is DEF CON, one of the oldest and largest security conferences in the world. The conference begins each year when the sister event, Black Hat USA, ends, so you can expect many similar topics and themes. Previous DEF CONs offer:
- Several tracks of speakers about computer- and hacking-related subjects
- Cyber-security challenges and competitions, including their flagship Capture the Flag game
The event features speakers, contests, vendors, workshops, demo labs, and entertainment, not to mention plenty of opportunities to network with the world’s top hackers and potentially get headhunted by government officials: federal law enforcement agents from the FBI, DoD, United States Postal Inspection Service, and other agencies regularly attend DEF CON.
Can’t wait to the actual event? DEF CON runs frequent events on their Discord.
Date: August 11-13, 2021
Location: Vancouver, BC
Cost: $790- $1,065
The Usenix Security Symposium is a three-day conference that includes dozens of refereed paper presentations and invited talks and various sessions about the latest advances in the security and privacy of computer systems and networks.
Though few details are released yet, previous editions covered tracks like:
- Wireless security
- Protecting users everywhere
- Hardware security
- Machine learning applications
- Mobile security
- Side channels
- Intelligence and vulnerabilities
Date: September 20-22, 2021
Location: Orlando, FL
Cost: Starts at $3,250
The Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit is one of the largest gatherings for security, risk management, and business continuity management leaders.
Few details for the 2021 version have been released yet, but the 2020 edition offers some clues. Last year’s attendees prioritized five topical areas for security and risk management:
- Acceleration of existing trends
- Remote/mobile workforce
- Migration to cloud delivered and service led products
- Migration of data center to cloud
- Expansion of digital channels
Date: September 27-29, 2021
Location: Orlando, FL
The ASIS Global Security Exchange has been one of the leading conferences for security professionals worldwide for more than six decades. Organized by ASIS International, this event covers the full spectrum of security topics, with presentations and sessions in areas like data and infrastructure security, cybersecurity, counterterrorism, loss prevention, and facilities security.
Currently, few details are posted for the 2021 edition beyond a save the date.
Date: September 27-29, 2021
Location: You choose: online or in-person in Lake Buena Vista, FL
Cost: Options start at $1,705
InfoSec World has been a world-leading conference for “business of security” for more than 25 years. Bringing together expert speakers, security practitioners, and industry leaders, InfoSec World addresses ways to manage today’s threats to cultivate business while preventing, detecting, and responding to security challenges that arise.
Few details for the 2021 conference are announced yet, just know that even if you choose not to attend in-person, you can still gain all the valuable insights with their virtual opportunities.
Date: Ongoing events
The KNOW Identity Conference is a leading industry event focused on identity, trust, and the data economy. It’s a uniquely differentiated, powerful, and immersive event where the leading edge of identity gets sharper.
In the last year, KNOW Identity has pivoted from a single event to frequent, ongoing virtual events throughout 2021. Take part in KNOW Identity Digital Forums, Digital Roundtables, and Investor Digital Forums. You can still expect industry experts such as:
- David Birch, Consult Hyperion
- Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence
- Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
- Brittany Kaiser, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower
- Roger Dingledine, TOR Project
The International Cryptographic Module Conference brings together global experts in commercial cryptography. ICMC20 moved online last year, as will ICMC21. According to the website, attendees should expect a 2021 conference, but few details have been released yet.
Who should attend ICMC? Pros involved with data security based in commercial encryption, especially those who develop, manufacture, test, specify or use certified commercial off the shelf cryptographic modules. Frequent attendees include:
- Cryptographic module developers
- Testing labs
- Government standards organizations
- Private schemes
- Embedded systems OEMs
- Side channel research community
Join AWS re:Inforce, the leading security event for everything AWS. Attendees can expect hours of content on cloud security, compliance, and cutting edge developments.
AWS re:Inforce 2021 is confirmed, but few details have been released. Sign up for updates on the website.
As the world’s largest community of cyber protection professionals, the Acronis Global Cyber Summit provides the insights, strategies, solutions, and industry connections needed to improve the protection of critical data assets and systems. For CIOs, IT infrastructure managers, managed service providers, resellers and ISVs, the Acronis Global Cyber Summit is an annual, must-attend event.
Even though no details have been released for a 2021 Acronis Global Cyber Summit, we kept them on this list to highlight their frequent live events, perfect for a dose of learning every few weeks.
Top Security Conferences of 2021
Whether you are looking for something small and familiar, or large and exciting, these conferences are guaranteed to:
- Bring you closer to some of the biggest experts in the world
- Provide opportunities to learn about the latest research
- Offer networking with other security and IT professionals
It doesn’t matter which of these top IT security, information security, and cybersecurity conferences you choose—you will not be disappointed.