The lights are off, the debris cleared away, and the Identity Experts team are finally over their jet lag: yes, Microsoft Ignite is over for another year.
Microsoft’s biggest annual event has been lighting up the calendar since 2015, showcasing all the technology giant’s latest innovations and providing like-minded people with an opportunity to meet and learn from one another.
With so much on offer, there’s still plenty for our Florida-bound team – Paul Green, Paul Kew, Matt Fernandes and Chris Swales – to reminisce over, so they’ve been hard at work filling us in on everything Ignite 2018 had to offer.
Great Tech on Offer
Top of the agenda for any Ignite attendee is the plethora of exciting technology on offer – and this year was no exception. Microsoft didn’t make it easy for our team to choose just one technology highlight, but some reveals of note were:
- Password Free Sign-in with Microsoft Authenticator
Microsoft has been promising to end the era of passwordsfor some time now, and with good reason: if credentials are compromised for one site, anywhere it’s been used is compromised too. To combat this security risk, Microsoft announced into public preview the use of the authenticator app for login – just the authenticator app.
- Zero Trust Controls
As remote working continues to grow in popularity, it becomes less convenient to rely on the physical network as the security boundary. Microsoft announced the extension of the capabilities of Azure and integration with Office 365, assuming that every service is treated as though it were on the open internet. Now, a managed device will allow users to access documents, while an un-managed device won’t be trusted.
- More Multi-Factor Options
Microsoft’s research has shown that turning on MFA has helped users to block 99.9% of identity attacks. Previously, however, MFA has only been possible via a one-time telephone call, SMS or via the Authenticator app. From October, Microsoft will be adding integration with hardware tokens too, offering more options.
- Identity in Secure Score
For a while, Microsoft has had Secure Score, giving a single-page view of how secure an organisation is considered based upon the options enabled. Identity is now one of the featured options with recommendations as to how to improve the score.
- Azure Digital Twins
One of the most intriguing revelations at this year’s event was perhaps the possibility of creating a digital twin – a virtual representation of systems to allow users to test and probe capabilities – using Azure.
As well as a roster of educational sessions and the unveiling of new innovations, Ignite 2018 also featured hundreds of opportunities to learn first-hand about different Microsoft systems. The lab learning opportunities were a highlight for Identity Experts team’s Chris Swales.
For Chris – as with many attendees – the opportunity to get hands-on with systems proved to be invaluable, offering a different perspective to the talks and sessions available. For the attendees who didn’t get a chance to learn from the labs, Microsoft have generously made them available for a limited time post-Ignite.
As a global tech giant, it’s not easy to have partners and product leaders in the same room – or even on the same continent. Despite working closely with Microsoft as a valued Gold Partner, our team more than often finds the Pond sitting between us.
That’s where Ignite comes into its own, bringing people together to speak face-to-face and allowing them to build upon the relationships developed over the screen.
Identity Experts’ Matt Fernandes saw particular value in this aspect of Ignite, enjoying the opportunity to receive one-on-one feedback and talk with like-minded people. That’s the kind of interaction that’s invaluable.
Ahead of the Curve
Something all of our team could agree on was how reassuring it was to see that some of the new innovations being discussed are already on offer to Identity Experts’ customers. By keeping our ear to the ground and remaining receptive to Microsoft’s developments, we’ve enabled our customers to stay ahead of the curve – refreshing to know!
Same Time Next Year?
Overall, the team had a fantastic time, taking advantage of all the opportunities on offer to sneak a peek at Microsoft’s roster, as well as investing time in strengthening Identity Experts’ relationship with various members of the Microsoft team.
But just because Ignite 2018 is over, doesn’t mean the experience has to be: with Ignite going on tour and resources from the main event being made available to attendees, the legacy of Microsoft Ignite 2018 can linger for a little longer.
As for 2019…well, it won’t take much convincing to get our team back on the plane!
Thank you to Microsoft for hosting yet another fantastic Ignite event, and to our team on the ground for providing Identity Experts with a first-hand account of Ignite.