On the Road Again to Talk About Azure AD at NCTech State of Tech

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When I was a kid, I had this constant daydream that somehow one day I’d be the only one in my class to show up for school. The things I could learn! Unfettered access to my teachers! Coached exploration of topics that were interesting to me without any risk of embarrassment about making mistakes!

That never happened, but I got as close as anybody could hope when attending Microsoft Partner Airlift events before the pandemic. My last one was my absolute favorite as it centered entirely on identity. Three days of a fire-hose torrent of access to engineers, product leads, other IT experts, and tracks for administration, dev, and just so many amazing sessions.

This was September 2019, and Microsoft had just recently introduced Identity Governance into the Azure AD P2 offering, and I had just begun to explore the concept of decentralized identity. I cornered an engineer and asked pointed questions about where Microsoft was taking their identity strategy: was Identity Governance being built to accept 3rd party identity to support decentralized identity? Would it go beyond just claims and actually support BYO Identity? They couldn’t directly answer the questions but told me that DID was definitely on their radars and that I was asking the right questions. After all, they already had support for external identities and could directly consume Google accounts as SSO.

A year later I found myself presenting on exactly that concept at a virtual event for nctech.org: Microsoft had since created a very rudimentary implementation for providing claims and was showcasing decentralized credential-verification in some early case-studies. I got to co-present for an hour on a potential future of BYO-ID in a converged EIAM/CIAM marketspace where Azure AD would be a theoretical convergence of internal ID management and B2B and also B2C. It was dream-scape stuff at the time—IAM conferences still distinctly identified Enterprise IAM as a wholly separate product from Consumer IAM.

But those separations have begun to erode through the pandemic. Self-service capabilities have continued to improve in all areas of identity management, and I still firmly believe that one day there will simply be Azure AD, and we’ll abandon all the extra bolt-on letters that define the source of identity. And now the pandemic itself has begun to erode, or at least interest in addressing it, and so it is with great excitement that I’m presenting as a panelist at that same venue, but this time in person!

I’ll be on stage with other industry veterans talking about the state of hybrid cloud on Thursday, May 12 at the NCTech.org State of Technology event in Raleigh, NC. I get to pick up right where I left off: talking to the same folks about the challenges and opportunities that come with expanding our digital footprints and the importance of managing risk in the cloud.

I cannot wait to see other human beings outside the office. I’m also super excited that we’re starting to ramp up for in-person events around the Richmond, VA area.



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