AWS Cancels re:Inforce Security Conference In Houston Due To COVID-19

A scaled-down, free version of the event will be held virtually on Aug. 24.


Amazon Web Services has cancelled its in-person re:Inforce security, identity and compliance conference that had been planned for Houston next week due to COVID-19, but will hold a free, virtual event on Aug. 24.

“We’ve been closely monitoring the evolving situation with COVID-19 in the Houston area,” a post on AWS’ re:Inforce 2021 web page said. “Because of the elevated COVID-19 threat level in Houston, we have had to carefully re-assess our plans for AWS re:Inforce 2021. We have made the very difficult decision to cancel AWS re:Inforce 2021.”

Badge-holders who already paid registration fees for the in-person Aug, 24-25 event will be issued full refunds via their original payment methods “within the next five business days,” according to the AWS event post. A full conference pass was priced at $1,099.

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“If you reserved a hotel during registration, that reservation will be cancelled and, if applicable, your deposit will also be refunded,” the AWS post said.

It is unclear how many people had registered for the event. AWS is advising them to contact the cloud provider at [email protected] with any questions. Those registrants -- and those who had already registered to watch it remotely -- don’t need to re-register for the free virtual event and will receive an email with details.

The free virtual event on Aug. 24 will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include live streams of the keynote address and leadership sessions. A full event schedule will be announced in the coming days, according to AWS, and recordings of the keynote and leadership sessions will be available on demand for 48 hours after the live stream broadcast.

Stephen Schmidt, an AWS vice president and its chief information security officer, is scheduled to deliver the virtual event’s keynote address from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. with guest speakers including new AWS CEO Adam Selipsky and Brian Lozada, HBO Max’s chief information security officer.

Leadership sessions will feature a data protection and privacy session by Ken Beer, general manager of AWS Key Management Service, and Jenny Brinkley, an AWS security director focused on the future of security and compliance. AWS security director Anil Markose, who leads all third-party security audits and security certifications for AWS globally, will lead a governance, risk and compliance session. An identity and access management session will be led by Karen Haberkorn, director of product management for AWS Identity, while the network and infrastructure session will be led by Temi Adebambo, senior manager of security and network solutions architecture. Leading the threat detection and incident response session will be Hart Rossman, director of AWS’ professional services global security and infrastructure practice, and Ryan Holland, senior manager of AWS’ GuardDuty security response team.

At least one security company that was slated to participate in the in-person re:Inforce conference is planning to offer its same content online.

New York’s Sonrai Security, which specializes in public cloud security and governance, will hold a virtual session on Aug. 24 at 2 p.m. with Jeff Moncrief, its field CTO and director of sales engineering, will give a live demonstration of a live hack and show participants how to secure data and identities in their environment.

“While AWS re:Inforce is on hold, our team would like to help you understand how you can identify and manage risk, increase security and improve operations while innovating within your business,” the company said on its website. ”With recent headlines around misconfigurations, data breaches, and unintended governance consequences, this is your chance to learn more about your cloud and improve your strategy.”

In a June blog post, Schmidt had noted AWS wanted in-person re:Inforce participants to feel safe if they decided to attend the now-cancelled AWS event. AWS had posted a “health measures” page on the conference website with information about steps it was taking to protect attendees that‘s subsequently been removed.

AWS also had cancelled re:Inforce 2020, which was scheduled for June 30-July 1, 2020, in Houston, due to the coronavirus pandemic. AWS launched re:Inforce, its first conference dedicated to cloud security, in Boston in June of 2019.

The cloud provider is scheduled to hold its annual partner and customer conference, AWS re:Invent 2021, in person in Las Vegas from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3. A virtual version of that cloud computing conference also is slated for Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.