Editor's Note: This post has been updated for 2017.
As many of us know, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (also known as NCSAM or #CyberAware). This is the month many organizations use to promote their internal security awareness efforts, to include bringing in speakers. If you are looking for speakers for this year or for a future event, here are some suggestions on how to find the best speakers, and some different options to consider. Keep in mind, often the best speakers charge speaker fees. In addition, some of these speakers are in such high demand that you may have to book them 3-6 months in advanced. One approach that may help is consider using a speaker agency. One that Cathy Click from FedEx recommends is Keppler Speakers.
- Law Enforcement: Try your local law enforcement, such as local FBI or Secret Service. People will often come to your events just to meet a real agent. In addition, these people can bring fascinating, real world stories that people will want to hear. Best of all, they are usually free (though I highly recommend you take them out to lunch).
- Vendors: Quite often your vendors will be willing to provide a speaker, perhaps even include free security handouts at their talk (Anti-virus software, mobile device software, etc). One concern you will have to address though is making sure they do not turn this into a sales pitch. If they are a good vendor, this should not be an issue.
- Infragard / ISACs (Information Sharing and Analysis Center): These are organizations that coordinate cyber threat intelligence and various cyber security lessons learned. If you are part of either forum connect with others for suggestions on speakers.
- Alicia Kozakiewicz from the Alicia Project. Alicia was stalked online and abducted at age 13, only to be rescued by the FBI several days later. She shares her powerful story to help promote protecting children against predatory crime. If you want to hit people at an emotional level, I can't think of a more powerful speaker.
- Brian Krebs. Not only is he an amazing speaker but I can't think of anyone more qualified to talk about cyber criminals, how they will target you and why. After his talk take him out to dinner and buy him the best vodka the bar has to offer.
- Frank Abagnale of Catch Me if You Can fame. Yes, the same con-artist who works with the FBI and the movie was based on. While I have not personally seen him speak, I've heard from numerous people that he is an outstanding speaker and a huge draw for security awareness events.
- Theresa Payton: The ex White House CIO. She comes highly recommended.
- Internal: Don't forget your own people. Have someone from your information security team talk on how people can secure themselves homes, their mobile devices or their kids. Another great hook is have one of your security members present a hacking demo, a great way to engage. Or have an employee who can share their own story about getting hacked and how they handled it (this works best if the story comes from a senior leader). Finally, why not have an senior executive talk about why cyber security is important and give employees the opportunity to ask any questions they want about cyber security.
If you can't get a speaker to physically attend your event, see if you can have them remotely speak through solutions like GoToMeeting. In addition, be sure to check out all the great resources and events with the National Cyber Security Alliance folks. This team is overall responsible for National Cyber Security Awareness Month and is headed by Michael Kaiser. If Michael can find the time, he is another amazing speaker who I highly recommend. However be warned, as the face of NCSAM, his calendar may already be booked this year. If you have any suggestions for speakers please share them in the comments!