You can't secure what you don't acknowledge.SM

Monday, May 23, 2011

Recap of TechEd 2011: more of the same, but you need to go

Given that TechEd was held in my neck of the woods this year I couldn't resist the opportunity to check it out. It's funny, I've been working with/around Microsoft products for some 22 years now and I've *never* attended this show. Maybe it's my ingrained Novell bigotry that I've yet to shed.

My main goal was to catch up with some clients and see the latest happenings with Security Compliance Manager (SCM). I say that because I'm working with Microsoft on the development of this product and wanted to see/hear the team cover the new version 2.0 currently available as a CTP. If you're not familiar with SCM, you really should check it out....it's a good tool/resource that can help you fine tune your configuration baselines for various Microsoft products (Windows, SQL Server, IE, etc.). I know security standards are boring and unsexy but, seriously, how are you going to support your policies, please your auditors and manage your risks otherwise?

I also spoke with some other clients and colleagues at/after the show who said they grew tired of Microsoft's cloud push all week. Oh well, TechEd is as much about marketing Microsoft than anything else, no? And given the money they must drop on such an event, can you blame them? That said I did hear from a few people that they loved the technical detail of some of the sessions. It reminded me of when I used to do network administration/management early on in my career and attended Novell's BrainShare conference. Going to that show every year and hearing/seeing the technical details of Novell's software that weren't available otherwise no doubt made me a sharper IT guy. The same goes for TechEd - if you're hands-on with Microsoft products on a daily basis (really who isn't in IT?) then you really need to check it out.

Overall, the conference was not all that different than other IT/security shows. You know how the marketers and bloggers often make things out to be new and exciting and then once you're there you see that's not really the case...? TechEd was the same old type of show we've all attended: tons of vendor glitz, tons of sessions (some good, some bad) and tons of information that the human brain is really not capable of absorbing in such a short period time (at least not my feeble brain)....but it was still worth it.

Attending TechEd made me realize that I need to keep attending TechEd. If anything just so I can keep up with the current tools, products and trends from Microsoft and see everything up close. The vendor chachkis aren't bad either. Maybe I'll see you there next year?

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