Symantec Event: Gaining Confidence in the Cloud

I was fortunate this week to get an invitation to a Symantec sponsored event in Calgary dealing with Cloud Computing and all the products and solutions Symantec offers inside of the cloud.  It’s been a while since I’ve taken time to start attending conferences and the like (I repeatedly say that it’s something I need to do more often) and I had a great time.

The event started early (8:30am) which meant I had to be on the road by about 7am to get there on time.  I was glad I’d double checked where I was going the day before and it clicked in my head that it was right in the center of downtown Calgary at 8 in the morning, so I’d have to leave some extra time for traffic.

There was parking right across the street (OMG how expensive it was – next time I’ll find somewhere cheaper) which was good because even with the extra time I’d left I was almost late.

Front Desk area of the Hyatt Regency

If you haven’t been to the Hyatt Regency downtown I’d recommend just walking inside to take a look around.  I love the insides of large buildings so I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.  I even managed to snap a few pictures with my new Playbook that I was blogging about previously.  The pictures were actually an afterthought on my way out, but I got them all the same.

So – arriving, I had no idea what I was doing or where to go.  I always hate being put in those situations because I don’t want to look foolish by doing something I shouldn’t be doing.  Fortunately, right across from the main entryway was a sign listing all the conferences.  I went straight there to double check that I was in the right place.  I didn’t see my conference listed – great.  Though maybe it wasn’t listed, there was lots of other stuff going on and they might have run out of room.

After taking a quick survey of the area I decided to head up the escalator to the second level (the internal pedway) and maybe find a map or something there that had more information.  I found both a map, and another screen showing the events of the day.  Someone was using the events screen when I arrived (I realized at this point it was touch sensitive) so I went in behind him when he left and found the scroll arrow to show the rest of the conferences.  Happily mine was listed and I found it without further problems.

At registration I got a cool leather notebook embossed with Symantec and their logo.  I’ve been looking for a decent notebook, the notepad I carry around gets pretty ravaged after a short period of time.  It was also great to have for the conference itself and I found myself taking copious notes.

Heading upstairs at the Hyatt Regency

Normally I’m not a breakfast person, but the breakfast they served for this event was far from your usual continental.  There was 5 different kinds of cereal, juice (orange and apple), some type of potato casserole, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage.  When I was awake enough to appreciate the bacon I served myself up a plate just in time for the keynote speaker to get things started.

It was also an interesting table that I found myself at.  When I arrived there were two other guys, one on a laptop, one on a tablet.  I sat down and pulled out my Playbook, another fellow arrived with a tablet – then another.  I think in the end our table was full of tablet users, and we didn’t really chat much.  I guess this just proves that we all live more in the virtual world than the physical.  Unfortunately for me, I’m never off the clock, so I was actually doing work and not messing around – maybe the rest of the guys were too.

I’m still new to the whole Cloud Computing everything, so most of what I heard was new to me.  Including the Gartner Hype Cycle (which is actually a good graph for life as a whole) that shows how new trends in technology rise and fall before plateauing somewhere in the middle.

I was also happy to learn that in my quest to begin virtualizing some clients I was well on my way to entering the cloud computing world.  I was also pleased to discover that I didn’t have to jump in anywhere with both feet, that you can easily both consume services or extend current service into the cloud and integrate it with your current infrastructure without any major changes.

Further breakout sessions delved more into the ways that you can extend into the cloud, as well as focusing on security concerns (which were a big thing for me).  One thing that was mentioned that caught me a bit off guard were some services that I had noticed in passing installed on user’s computers (dropbox, box, office 365).  I hadn’t really thought of those programs as ‘cloud computing’ but they are, and should be treated that way.  Really the bottom line was “cloud computing is already here, what do I do now?”  My brain has been working in circles wondering what I need to do to make sure that my clients aren’t being opened up to risk by using these services and what recommendations I can make to keep them safe and secure.

One of the major points that was repeatedly spoken about was Symantec’s web gateway and Data Loss Prevention software.  Both of which I’m going to be further researching in the coming weeks to see if it’s viable for me to work in as tech plan suggestions for the near future.

Alas, the conference was over much too quickly and it was time to get back to the real world.  I did learn about the next conference later this month which I’ll try to attend as well.  On my way out I saw an interesting sculpture which actually prompted me to take the pictures that I’ve posted here.  I was admiring it with a smile wishing I had a camera, then I looked down at my Playbook and realized that I did!  My Playbook takes decent pictures when I can hold it still enough, they’re huge (both in scale and in size) but I actually find that a benefit.

The sculpture that caught my eye

Those of you I met there – it was a pleasure – and I hope to see some of the rest of you at the next events nearby.

What did you think?