2018 AWS Public Sector Summit – Day 1 Summary

Hello all!  I’m writing to you from Washington D.C.  I’m here attending the AWS Public Sector Summit and as you might imagine, a day full of sessions leaves one feeling as if they have been “drinking from a fire hose”.  Nonetheless, it’s been great and you could also say its far from over as the Opening Reception and various VIP get-togethers are still to come.

I’ve not attended a two day AWS summit previously so I really didn’t know what to expect.  I was surprised to hear that there are approximately 14,500 attendees, which I believe not only illustrates the growing interest in the cloud in general, but with AWS specifically.  Would there be 14,500 attendees at a two-day Azure summit?  I’m not trying to be smart necessarily, but there is so much excitement here as attendees considering the seemingly endless possibilities for organizational transformation, but they truly exciting prospect to consider is how our individual lives will be impacted through applications created using the tools provided by AWS.  If Azure generates the same excitement, I’d love to hear it so please leave a comment or two.

Here are some of my highlights from the keynote:

  • AWS has topped $22 billion run rate
  • #WePowerTech initiative
    • engaging underrepresented communities with initiatives such as Girls Who Code and launching summer camps
  • The #1 barrier to moving to the cloud is not security, but the need for a cloud enabled workforce.  Seeing this need, AWS and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) partnered to develop the first ever Cloud Associate Degree
  • GameChanger Charities is using AWS to revolutionize hospital care by using VR to take patients “beyond the hospital”, to get them to see beyond their illness.
  • Sean Roche, Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation, discussed how the CIA is using AWS to provide field agents vital information as quickly as possible, in fact, AWS allows personnel to develop solutions/applications IN the field!  He also said, “The cloud, on its weakest day, is more secure than a standard client/server application.”

I could summarize the sessions I attended with a single word, “automate”.  In more detail, the sessions discussed AWS’s security solutions which are as follows:

  • Threat Identification
    • IAM
    • AWS Organizations
    • AWS Cognito
    • AWS Directory Service
    • AWS SSO
  • Detective Control
    • AWS CloudTrail
    • AWS Config
    • Amazon CloudWatch
    • Amazon GuardDuty
    • VPC Flow Logs
  • Infrastructure Security
    • EC2 Systems Manager
    • AWS Shield
    • AWS Web Application Firewall
    • Amazon Inspector
    • Amazon VPC
  • Data Protection
    • AWS Key Management Service
    • AWS CloudHSM
    • Amazon Macie
    • AWS Certificate Manager
    • Encryption
  • Incident Response
    • AWS Config Rules
    • AWS Lambda

The ideal security solution is one that would use these tools to automate system security alarms and responses to ensure quick remediation while also providing information to allow security professionals a means to analyze anomalous behavior at their leisure.  Meaning, let the system deal with the security emergency at 2AM and then you as the security administrator can come into the office the next day with a ticket in your queue describing the attack and remediation that took place so as to allow you the opportunity to investigate without panic.

There’s my Day 1 summary and with that, I bit you good night from Washington, DC….there’s a Pac-Man arcade machine in the AWS Certification Lounge calling my name!


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