Sparking the Future at Microsoft Ignite 2015

MSIgnite200471249Global Knowledge has been a long-time Microsoft training partner, but amazingly I’ve never been to a Microsoft event. For one reason or another whenever Microsoft TechEd rolled around in years past, I was already booked or we were already well represented. But this year is different.

This year there is no Microsoft TechEd, or SharePoint conference or Microsoft Management Summit for that matter. Instead Microsoft has created a unified technology event geared toward developers and enterprise end users combining all those past annual events. Talk about perfect timing!

Seeking to “spark the future,” Microsoft chose Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center as the site of its inaugural Ignite event. Though I’ve travelled a lot in the past five years, this will be my first time visiting Chicago, other than a few layovers in its fine international airports.

Ignite 101
Despite my tech conference travels, as far as Microsoft is concerned, I’m an event “newbie.” That’s their term, not mine. No worries, I’ve been called worse. So as soon as I land Sunday, I’m definitely heading over to Ignite 101 at McCormick Place to get the inside scoop. Since this is the first Ignite event ever, you might want to consider doing the same. Hosted by Joey Snow and Rick Claus, Ignite 101 covers all the learning, networking and social opportunities available throughout the week at Ignite 2015. They’ll also talk about the “must-see” activities at the Expo, the great sessions and labs, Microsoft certification testing and everything else you’ll need to know to make the most of your week in Chicago. If you’re more confident in your Microsoft conference abilities, then you can dive right into some of the awesome sessions lined up next week.

Project Spartan
Being a social media guy who’s constantly looking for the better browsing experience, I’m more than intrigued with Microsoft’s Project Spartan. Between Microsoft senior product marketing manager Fred Pullen and Project Spartan program manager Prem Mathiyalagan, Ignite will have four different sessions on Project Spartan, including a general overview of the browser’s features and functionality, how to manage Project Spartan in an enterprise environment and, of course, enhanced browser security. I’m so there!

Detecting the Undetectable
If cybersecurity is more to your liking, you might want to check the “Detecting the Undetectable” session lead by Roger Grimes. Nearly 80 percent of data breaches could be detected if victims looked at readily available data. A principal security architect at Microsoft, Grimes will discuss ideas, tools and techniques that will reveal the hidden advanced attacker, as well as the rogue insider, using intrusion detection techniques that have worked for many of the world’s best security companies. Come prepared to be challenged to use your creative juices to design the right early warning traps.

Pass the Hash
One of the most widespread and damaging attack techniques affecting Microsoft customers is Pass the Hash (PtH). While the Microsoft PtH workgroup has continued to work on mitigations in many forms, including providing technical guidance and platform modifications, this session includes guidance on mitigation strategies that integrate new features and address common customer scenarios. Lead by Microsoft’s cybersecurity solution architect Mark Simos, senior security PM manager Patrick Jungles and consultant Aaron Margosis, this session will cover PtH mitigation features introduced in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, as well as availability status for previous platforms. The guys will also provide guidance mapped to the functions in the recently released NIST cybersecurity framework.

Last But Not Least
Global Knowledge is sponsoring the onsite study hall at Ignite 2015. Every Microsoft conference veteran knows the study hall area is the place to be, and you other newbies will want to take advantage of all the complimentary learning resources to be had there. Located on Level 2 of the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place, the study hall area will feature access to MCT Ambassadors, unlimited free practice tests, free 30-day access to Safari Books Online and a “virtual backpack” of your favorite certification and training resources to review later or share with a friend via email or SMS. Don’t forget that all MCP exams are half price during Ignite 2015, so you can get certified onsite for just $75 per exam.

If you are lucky enough to get an invite to the MCP Community Party Tuesday evening at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, be on the lookout for the Global Knowledge sponsored signature cocktail. Since it will be Cinco de Mayo, we went with a blue Global Knowledge Expert Margarita!

Microsoft Ignite 2015 is going to be huge including the Expo Hall. Make sure to stop by Global Knowledge Booth #263 in McCormick Place where we will be unveiling our new T-shirt designed by artist Tom Whalen.

For updates from Ignite 2015 next week, follow our Microsoft-focused Twitter account @GKonMicrosoft and #MSIgnite hashtag.

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