On April 24th Leighton sent me to the IPEXPO in Manchester Central to aid in my Quest for Knowledge. The IPEXPO Manchester was absolutely packed with Nerds and Geeks alike, everyone went with an agenda. Whether you were there to find out what was the latest technology or find out more about specific products to resolve a solution, they had it all (Along with plenty of swag for everyone!). With the company value "Improve, Improve, Improve" my agenda ("quest") was to find out what technology is out there and how we could be using it to be more effective as an organisation. So, to put it simply I was there for everything! Below, you will find a recap of some of the presentations that stood out to me!
Faster, Better, Stronger by James Akrigg from Microsoft
If you are an IT systems engineer that works with Active Directory you will know the pain of having to manage machines that are off site. The solution for this is normally having your employers connect to the network via VPN, this allows the computer to access the domain. This has always been a good solution because, in most instances, for an employee to do their job they need to access network resources such as file server and other on-prem services. This would normally allow a systems administrator to piggy-back on the VPN connection to be able to control and monitor company devices. Now that everything is in the Cloud there is no need for an employee to connect to the network and asking an employee to connect to the network just for system maintenance is like drawing blood from a stone. The solution that was covered was Azure AD, James Akrigg went through some features of Windows 10 which would not only allow Azure users to authenticate to the machines but also demonstrated how easy it would be to provision equipment for employees.
It wasn’t me, it was Bennet Arron by Bennet Arron
Bennett Arron’s presentation was one of the best presentations of the day, thoroughly enjoyed it. He went through the importance of your data and how easy it is to be a victim to fraud. Although the presentation was very light hearted it highlighted some major truths today around how easy it is to become a victim of fraud, I know this got me thinking about how important my own data is.
Unfortunately, Bennett Arron was a victim of identity theft and goes on to share his experience and how it has damaged his life. He explained that he moved to a new house and didn't have all of his post forwarded on to his new address. The person who moved in managed to get enough information to start opening accounts in his name, this included but was not limited to bank accounts, credit cards and some mobile phones. Years later he applied for credit but was declined because of this, it turns out that Bennett’s credit was drastically damaged due to unpaid bills and overdrawn accounts. Even today he is still working with the police to rectify the issue.
Understandably this subject is now close to his heart and using his experience he is working on bringing awareness to people and trying to educate others on how important their data is. He even goes on to explain how easy it was for him to go and get a driving license in someone else's name. Stealing the identity of Home Secretary Charles Clarke, this documentary is below and is worth a watch.
GDPR: Why you won’t be Fined - Dia David from Percy Crow Davis & Co
As you would expect with GDPR on the horizon everyone was doing a last-minute dash for as much information as possible as it was the main subject on everyone’s minds. There were many presentations but this one had to be the busiest presentation on that day. Naturally most companies were worried about what fines they could incur if they were not GDPR compliant. It was refreshing to hear another company discussing reasons we should not be worried about GDPR instead of putting the fear of god into people. The fact of the matter is that it is mostly an extension of the Data Protection act which everyone should have down to a T.
During this presentation Dia went through the breaches that would get a you a fine. Naturally there was nothing too surprising, but it was useful to see what was regarded as important and unimportant, and the reasons why. Dia went on to explain why the penalties have been built up and put some of the legislation from a realistic approach to GDPR from a Data Protection prospective.
I’m afraid I did not get to see the presentation from Holly Grace Williams however I did manage to catch an impressive display at their stand. At the stand they were demonstrating how easy it was orchestrating a phishing or malware attack. One demonstration was a convincing email which looked like an email you would get from Amazon because of email spoofing it also looked like the email was received by Amazon! This email contained a link that if clicked on it would simply turn on your webcam without warning. Ironically there were a lot of stands giving away webcam privacy stickers which physically covered the webcam.