Throughout 2023, I was thrilled to organize #RuneTalk – a signature meetup series providing an inside look at the technology behind our breakthrough Runecast platform.
From the very beginning of my time at Runecast, I felt that a sense of openness and a genuine willingness to share knowledge was part of the company's culture. The decision to launch a series of meetups was driven by a strong belief that, despite all the uncertainty and challenges, an effort to spread knowledge and connect with the tech community would be not only valuable but essential.
The Key Meetups Highlights
This year we brought our vision to life by organizing five tech meetups in the city of Brno, Czech Republic. In total, there were around 200 attendees combined. In the winter and spring, we organized two meetups about Kubernetes Security and Operations. For each of those meetups, we had about 35 participants who showed up at the cozy venues, which became too small for us. However, the speakers’ talks were great and attracted curious Kubernetes geeks from the second-largest Czech city of Brno.
In June, we hosted a community talk on Kubernetes and added a talk on cybersecurity based on the feedback we received from attendees at the previous meetups. This meetup was special because it was followed by an outdoor barbecue party. This meetup attracted nearly double the number of people that the first ones had. We were delighted to see some Runecast partners and customers from Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. We were a bit nervous at first as the audience was quite varied, but it proved that when you have similar interests in technology you can openly communicate with people from across various teams, job positions and countries.
In autumn, we cooperated with a local AI community called brno.ai to host our own AI meetup as part of AI Days, a whole week of events about AI for various audiences. The meetups were seen by hundreds of people who visited the AI Days website. We raised the bar a little, managing to attract 60 participants. Many people stayed after the presentations to socialize and network. It was great to have a chat with past attendees who by that time started to come regularly. This meetup was the time when we began to feel a strong sense of community building in the air.
To wrap up the year, we organized a special game meetup for the RuneTalk community. Set in Brno's Christmas atmosphere, teams embarked on a journey through the city, solving puzzles and ciphers. It was a great way to thank everyone for their support throughout the year and to celebrate our community with a bit of friendly competition and lots of fun.
Speakers and Presentations at RuneTalk
The key topics of our meetups ranged from the complex world of Kubernetes and cloud services to the critical base of cybersecurity methods and practical applications of artificial intelligence. RuneTalk has brought together enthusiasts, professionals, and beginners alike to delve into these transformative fields.
Runecasters took up the challenge, as seven R&D colleagues were presenters, plus we managed to bring in six guest speakers, among them Oleg Matskiv from LoftLabs, Petr Muller from RedHat, Jaroslav Muller from Artin, Alexey Voinov from Veeam, Katarína Galanská from AEC and Thales, and Jan Cizmar from Tolgee.
Let me highlight a few speakers and their presentations…
Tomáš Odehnal addressed a basic yet critical aspect of Kubernetes security, emphasizing that, contrary to popular belief, Kubernetes is not inherently secure by default. In his insightful presentation, he outlined an investigation into the default Kubernetes cluster setup, provided insights into potential vulnerabilities, and suggested measures for improvement.
Constantin Ivanov's presentation provided an important perspective on securing CI/CD pipelines. Focusing on the use of the Kubernetes Admission Controller, he highlighted the need to prevent Kubernetes clusters from running vulnerable code or deviating from established best practices. Constantin emphasized the role of platforms such as Runecast and other systems.
Vasile Papp presented an industry-first breakthrough at RuneTalk – agentless scanning for VMware and cloud (AWS) workloads. Traditionally, vulnerability and compliance scans require agent installations or risky remote access. Vasile discussed Runecast's mission to pioneer secure agentless scanning, an industry milestone that so far encompasses AWS and VMware.
Michal Trněný delved into the complexity of applied NLP (natural language processing) and gave us a behind-the-scenes look at Runecast and its RAIKA (Runecast AI Knowledge Automation). Runecast's small but strong data science team tackles the constant influx of new NLP challenges to improve security and visibility in hybrid IT environments. Michal highlighted the importance of problem framing and prioritization, emphasizing their impact on model selection. While acknowledging the transformative influence of ChatGPT, he posed the question: What if a more effective solution is required?
Last but not least, the only woman presenter (hopefully we will get more female participation in 2024!), Katarína Galanská delved into the often overlooked human factor in cybersecurity and explored how human error plays a significant role in cyber attacks. Katarína highlighted the importance of simulated attacks in raising cybersecurity awareness and reducing the risk of human error. Katarína shared real-life scenarios and the latest techniques used by cybercriminals to exploit human vulnerabilities.
All presentations are available in the private LinkedIn group Kubernetes and Cloud Security (Czech Republic RuneTalk Meetups). Also, anyone can join the group Kubernetes and Cloud Brno (RuneTalk) on meetup.com to receive announcements about future meetups.
Attendees Feedback and Reflections
At RuneTalk, the feedback from attendees has been a cornerstone in enhancing our meetups. Participants highlighted "a fantastic experience" with positive remarks on "the venue, great time, moderator, speakers and food," applauding the overall atmosphere. Others noted the "interesting topics and people" and the "great vibe" they encountered.
One attendee praised the speakers, saying, “Speakers all deserve a special mention. Tom's opening was perfect, because it showed how to think about security before [you] even start messing around with K8s. Jarda's talk was great to show noobs like me how to do stuff simply just to start getting the experience. Honza's and Kuba's presentation was the cherry on the top. Witnessing these two talks was for me like watching a natural phenomenon.”
Elevating our standards with each event, RuneTalk continued to set the bar higher. We incorporated interactive elements like live demos, engaging Q&A sessions, and a quiz with prizes for exclusive RuneTalk merchandise and stickers.
What do we plan for RuneTalk in 2024?
As the first year of RuneTalk has ended, we see it has become more than just a series of tech meetups. RuneTalk is about the community coming together after the workday, sharing what they know, and helping each other – an information exchange. It's a place where people can talk about technology and make new friends. This year, we made some good new relationships and we're excited for next year.
In 2024, RuneTalk is planning to do more than just normal tech meetups. We want to include talks about cybersecurity to help people learn and stay safe online. We're also looking to work with other communities, companies, and experts. We'll try new ways and formats of running meetups to make them more creative and innovative. Plus, we want to provide opportunities for technology professionals to present their knowledge and skills and help build their personal brands. Our main goal is to keep making meetups that help the RuneTalk community learn and grow together.
Join Us as a Speaker for RuneTalk in Brno!
We're excited to invite speakers to our RuneTalk Tech Meetups. We’re not limited to technologies; it's a stage for innovative ideas! It’s your turn to showcase your knowledge, connect with industry leaders, and contribute to our growing community.
How to Get Involved:
- Connect with me on LinkedIn: Lucie Hruzova
- Message me there to submit your proposal or idea for your talk. We'll match you with the perfect meetup theme.
Looking forward to your inspiring contributions!