GSX18 – The Best of…


GSX, better known as Global Security Exchange….and still much better known as the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits (sorry, couldn’t resist) is happening in Vegas this week.

It’s a production of ASIS, which many of us still pronounce as “As Is.” It seems that only the new staff and younger crowd within the security industry have been brow-beat into referring to it as A-S-I-S, like enunciating it at the local spelling bee. And, God forbid, anyone should answer the question of “What does ASIS stand for?” with the truth. It stands for The American Society of Industrial Security. Nope. Not for a long time if you press the issue with ASIS officials… just stands for A-S-I-S–no words. But, I digress.

Quirks aside, it remains an amazing–albeit work in progress–event that is a combination of the latest in security education along with showcasing security solutions from hundreds of industry vendors. I may critique aspects of ASIS, yet there is none better.

For me, day one of the Expo (The Exhibit Hall portion of the event), had one element that stood out as “The Best of….”

The Best of GSX18 is that solitary individual in their very early 20’s navigating the exhibits alone. Sometimes, yet rarely, engaging booth staff in conversation about a product being showcased. More often, quietly standing back and absorbing demos being done for the more forward–even obnoxiously so–dark-suited middle-aged attendee wanting the undivided attention of booth staff.

That lone young person also stands out from the oft-seen posse approach–you know those groups of 4-5 attendees who swarm a booth at once? Like birds flying south, navigating from booth to booth in unison–one leading, three following. Yet, that one young individual is quietly present. No, they are MORE than present.

They are invested. In some cases they weren’t sent here by their employer. They don’t have an expense account covering every meal, beer, hotel room, or travel. They may have even used vacation time to be a part of the industry’s biggest security event. That person, THEY are the best of GSX18.

They are driven. They are absorbing, learning, observing–and excited about taking back some knowledge from their experience in Vegas and using it to improve their value as a Security Professional–or an aspiring Security Professional. They are the “Best of GSX18” because they are the future of this industry.

Forget all the awards at luncheons, all the new ASIS staff who feel they have created some amazing new experience, all the Triple Crowns, all the official “Young Professionals” who are mostly life-long networkers, all the “Best of Show” products, and all the latest in drones, AI, GIS, and the rest. In a security world where we create all kinds of hoopla and false excitement about people, products, and solutions, we need to get real.

All of that pales in comparison to that young self-motivated, aspiring Security Professional who is quietly seeking knowledge of this industry–on their own terms, in their own way. We need to celebrate THAT young individual–THEY will make this security profession hit new highs and solve new challenges. THEY are the best of GSX18.
About the author: Don’t get me wrong. I am a member of, and love, ASIS. It is why I address industry topics with passion. I attended my first ASIS event over 35 years ago and still get geeked about cool security solutions–including many I saw today at the show–and those I will see tomorrow (if they let me in!). I eschew much of the pomp and circumstance (the fluff) of the event, but am thrilled to see genuinely motivated young people in attendance and quietly working on their security skills and career.
Photo credit here