All of our various IT/Dev Connections tracks do extremely well and the attendance for the overall conference has always been partitioned pretty evenly. We’ve seen over the past couple years, though, how all of the topics for the products and services covered during the conference week have become blurred because, for most everything these days, there’s the “Cloud Factor.” The Cloud has definitely started to inject itself into every area of development, DevOps, and IT.

Even the Enterprise Management, Mobility, & Security Track has been affected. This track has been predominately considered a strict “on-premises” track for years until recently. We’ve seen how this track has taken on new shapes and focus due to businesses utilizing hybrid opportunities. What was once “us vs. them” or “server vs. cloud,” the cloud has enabled a partnership between IT and the developer, and created new directions for professional growth, including DevOps. This area has seen an amazing transformation.

This year, we’ve enlisted, Ami Casto as the track chair. Ami’s vision, frontline expertise, and in-the-trenches experience gives her very valuable insight into this rapidly changing area. I can say that I’m truly excited to see how this track takes shape this year. And, I’m positive you will be, too, after reading through Ami’s strategy below…

With security in the national headlines, businesses and even users are being forced to think about authentication practices and security hardening not only in the workplace but at home as well.  Dynamic Lock (available in Insider Preview builds) allows you to pair your phone with your computer via Bluetooth and will lock your computer when you walk away with your phone.  It is a great example of a big change coming to enterprise security this year.

In terms of management and mobility, we are seeing more and more businesses move infrastructure and corresponding services to the cloud.  For example, businesses are actually performing successful implementations of ConfigMgr using cloud IaaS.  Another big change is that we can now do cloud-based Operating System deployment.  Both of these topics would have been laughed at just a few years ago.

I believe over the course of the next few years, we will see IoT in the hot seat as more and more businesses adopt the use of IoT as business tools.  Unfortunately, IoT is a collection of poorly secured devices that go online and have the potential wreak havoc on a large scale.  We have already seen this happen last year.  I believe there will become a need to standardize on security in this area and to enforce stringent policies on the devices and we will see a lot of changes because of it.

I think as Microsoft Intune matures we will see it become a more viable replacement for traditional options.  I believe the days of traditional deployment are numbered and we will see more developments in cloud provisioning.  I believe that as the workplace continues to evolve, solutions will become more lean in favor of portability to match the ever-growing mobile workforce.

The track this year will feature experts across the three areas.  I hope the track shows the attendees how each of the three pieces fit together and that really none of them can successfully exist without the other.  I think in the past there has been a large focus on just enterprise management, and I hope to change that this year.  Workforces are becoming more and more mobile and non-traditional and we need to start thinking about portable, secure options rather than relying on “the way we always do it”.

IT/Dev is a unique conference because it is just the right size to attract great speakers and intimate enough to allow attendees to network with each other.  I believe IT/Dev Connections does a great job keeping attendees connected with each other not only during the conference but well after as well.  Bottom line is you can’t accomplish the same kind of networking at a larger conference and still learn from industry experts.