FIRST gets record sponsor list for Kyoto Conference

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Sponsors are signing up in record numbers for this year's annual conference of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams

Not only are previous sponsors returning, but we are enrolling new support - an astonishing and encouraging trend at a time when one might have supposed prevailing economic conditions would have been a deterrent.

The world's economic woes haven't stopped unprecedented levels of sponsorship being pledged for the 21st Annual Conference of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, with six months still to go before proceedings open on June 28, 2009, in Kyoto.

"Never in our history has there been such overwhelming support from sponsors so early in the conference cycle," said FIRST's Steering Committee chair, Derrick Scholl. "It shows that even during troubling financial times, companies recognize the need to support our work in preserving global information security.

"We're very proud and grateful to have attracted so much sponsorship so soon, and believe it reflects recognition of the crucial role FIRST is playing in protecting the Internet at a time of increasing threat during the worldwide economic recession."

Recovery from disaster, and the lessons and crafts that can be learned in the process, are the major themes of this year's Kyoto conference, which runs until July 3 at the Hotel Granvia, Kyoto Station.

Masato Terada, representing sponsor Hitachi said: "Our incident response team are sponsoring FIRST's conference in Kyoto because we want all Internet users to understand the vital work that FIRST performs in fostering collaboration between Computer Incident Response Teams throughout the world."

And Gavin Reid, CSIRT Manager at sponsor Cisco Systems added: "It's both unique and essential that FIRST is a non-commercial organisation, and by supporting FIRST through sponsorship we help the organisation to remain non-partisan."

Peter Allor, who is IBM Internet Security Systems' Senior Security Strategist, Cyber Incident & Vulnerability Handling, Program Manager Office of the CTO, said he believes there is mounting realisation of the impact FIRST has on the corporate bottom line. "As a transnational organisation FIRST works on a non-profit basis, but the interventions of its teams add real-dollar value on an enormous scale because they are saving huge sums of money each year by tackling and preventing fraud, data and identity theft, intrusion, sabotage and virus attacks."

Mr Allor, who also serves voluntarily as FIRST's Director of Conference Liaison and a Steering Committee member, added: "Businesses recognise the extent of that value, which is why they're so keen to send delegates to FIRST'S open conference in Kyoto to learn new skills. Now here's clear evidence that big-ticket sponsors know it too, which is why they're happy to part with funds to help FIRST stay ahead of the game."

The leading British commentator David Lacey wrote in Computer Weekly: "Of all the security clubs and associations, the one that impresses me most is FIRST, the Forum for Incident Response and Security Teams. Why? Because it's focused, born out of real business requirements and it's highly selective, i.e. you have to be sponsored and audited to gain membership. FIRST is not a club that exists to make an income for its organizers. It's an international community that serves a real purpose: helping Government, Industry and Academia to respond quickly and effectively to new security threats. So I have no hesitation in recommending that you book a space in your busy diary to attend their Annual Conference."

Founded in 1990, FIRST consists of internet emergency response teams from 194 corporations, government bodies, universities and other institutions from across the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. It leads the world's fight-back against cyber-crime, sabotage and terrorism, and also promotes co-operation between response teams and law enforcement agencies.

Sponsors who have come on board so far for 2009 Kyoto are: Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Google, BT, Hitachi, NRI Secure Technologies, Secunia, BFK, JPCERT/CC Japan, CERT/CC, USA, & FIRST Japan Teams.

"We thank our sponsors for their assistance in making Kyoto what promises to be our best and most significant conference ever," said Mr Scholl. "Not only are previous sponsors returning, but we are enrolling new support - an astonishing and encouraging trend at a time when one might have supposed prevailing economic conditions would have been a deterrent."


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