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Hosting virtual conferences used to feel daunting. However, this was only until circumstances in 2020 pushed the world to understand the high-value experience they get with a virtual conference.
One such case is that of the FAIR Institute. The FAIR community would normally get together at in-person conferences every year. However, due to the pandemic, they decided to shift their efforts and their community online by hosting FAIRCON2020 on the 6th and 7th of October, 2020.
FAIR Institute is a non-profit community of over 10,000 professionals worldwide that is dedicated to enabling better practices in risk management through risk quantification and the FAIR (Factor Analysis of Information Risk) model. They help organizations assess business risks by thinking through different risk scenarios and then quantifying them into dollars and cents.
This time, the organizer had to switch to a virtual event – something they had never done before.
While partnering with vFairs, the organizer had very clear goals in mind. They wished to hit a predetermined number of participants, just like at their annual physical conference. The team at the FAIR Institute also wanted to make sure they were able to get the content across as easily and as quickly as possible. They decided to pre-record all the sessions beforehand and play them back over the course of two days. These sessions were complemented with the live chat feature with the presentation speakers, to allow attendees to get all the information they required, and at the same time, have their questions answered in real time.
This was primarily important as they invited esteemed presenters including C-Level experts in the industry, Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies (both US and international), analysts and practitioners from all across to share their knowledge and case studies with attendees.
Historically, in case of physical conferences, the organizer had to record, edit and then make their sessions available. With virtual events, the sessions were seamlessly recorded and promoted after the event for those who were not able to watch.
“The good thing about a virtual event is that all of the work was done up front for us”, said Luke Bader (Director, Membership and Programs)
1) Sponsors who used FAIR in their platforms and services were shortlisted, validated, and approved to participate in the virtual conference. Playing a significant role in the community, these sponsors put forward different software tools, training opportunities, and consulting services – offerings based around quantification primarily.
The virtual event allowed them to reach global leads that were interested in implementing their practices into their organizations.
2) Members of the community including Chief Information Security Advisors (CISOs), Directors of risk management and information security, as well as risk analysts attended the virtual conference organized by the FAIR Institute. The attendees belonged to a number of different industries – from government, healthcare, financial services, technology to ecommerce – ultimately coming together to learn better risk management practices. Since this is the only conference that does what it does in terms of risk quantification specifically, attendees were able to get premier knowledge of cyber risk quantification from experts in the space at FAIRCON2020.
Out of the many features that made this conference a smashing success, the organizer was commended mostly for the chat feature that they chose to run next to the sessions – something that vFairs was able to execute flawlessly.
Moreover, while functionality played a huge role in FAIR Institute’s event strategy, they were also concerned with the design of the event. The team had a very simple, yet insightful approach in this case. They wanted to ensure the least amount of clicks required to drive people towards the sessions – inside the virtual auditorium as well as in the exhibit hall. This is something they were able to achieve, along with presenting a virtual-reality based environment to everyone visiting online, instead of in-person.
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