The 2017 TechShowcase Top Takeaways

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Whether or not you were able to join us at this year’s CCB TechShowcase, we’re more than happy to share what our event attendees thought were the 2017 TechShowcase top takeaways so that you can benefit from them in your organization.

Our fourth annual CCB TechShowcase, held at Miller Park on April 13, brought together:

  • 588 attendees from multiple states
  • 35 leading IT companies
  • 115 industry experts
  • 37 breakout sessions
  • 42 outstanding tech giveaways (including a Surface and high-end Dell laptops!)
  • …and 6 Miller Park Tours that 240 attendees thoroughly enjoyed!

How do you top that? We have some definite ideas, which I’ll reveal a little later, but first, here is the “latest and greatest” from the CCB TechShowcase you need to know about now.

“There are no hackers – only spies”

Cybersecurity is the top concern for businesses and organizations of all sizes, and individuals as well, so to share with us the state of cyber theft and how to combat it, we brought in Eric O’Neill as our keynote speaker. O’Neill, former FBI operative who helped capture Robert Hanssen (the most notorious spy in US history!), is now a cyber-security expert who runs The Georgetown Group, an investigative and security services firm. O’Neill’s role in capturing Hanssen is depicted in the movie Breach.

O’Neill shared thrilling espionage stories while illuminating the scary reality of what is happening in the fast-paced rise of cybercrime. Here are a few facts that will raise your heart rate:

“99% of breaches occur because of a vulnerability that wasn’t patched.”

“Spies aren’t attacking systems. They are attacking people.”

“One of the biggest dangers is attacks from within. The spies often recruit people from within your organization to help them.”

See what I mean by scary? The threats aren’t just coming from the outside and they are continuously evolving. As experts figure out how to solve the current threat, cyber spies are already delivering the next one!

O’Neill went on to describe the latest and especially insidious threat: non-malware, also known as a fileless malware. The chilling part about it is that it doesn’t require that you actually download a malicious file – control is gained through existing software, allowed applications, and authorized protocols. Yikes!

In order to defeat these bad guys, O’Neill stresses that you have to try to think like them and adapt a mindset that will help you make security an ongoing priority. He emphasized the importance of training end users to be aware and watchful of cyber threats, and having company policies and tools in place that will allow you to respond immediately and effectively to an attack.

Thanks to Dell EMC for sponsoring our keynote speaker Eric O’Neill who was a great addition to the lineup this year!

Time for playing in the sandbox

This year we debuted the “CCB Technology Interactive Center” where several key technology partners provided TechShowcase attendees the opportunity to “play” directly with their latest technology. The center was a TechShowcase hot spot! In fact, it was so busy that many attendees said they went back to the area several times to be able to explore everything.

The Microsoft Store brought the entire family of Surface products including the amazing new Microsoft Surface Hub. At 55″, the Hub was easy to move on its well-built stand and could be raised and lowered at the push of a button for the perfect viewing height. The Hub’s 100-point multi-touch sensor screen allows a finger to create a marker-like line or a stylus to create a fine point line.

Mark Malone and Matt Halpert from the Microsoft Store ran demos of the Hub continuously throughout the day, showing how powerful it is for meetings and white boarding. With the simple touch of a call button, you can connect users through a Skype account and video conferencing comes to life. It’s obvious that Microsoft has created a powerful tool for both local and remote collaboration as it has withstood the test of hundreds of TechShowcase attendees. One demonstration even ended in applause!

TechShowcase-interactive-centerAnd there was more…
Dell EMC was the largest part of the Interactive Center, bringing in products and people from all of their business units. The booth was packed all day with attendees getting their hands on Dell/EMC products, including the five latest editions of the Latitude, several desktops including the Optiplex Micro, and the Dell Canvas hooked up to the Precision 5520. These new Dell products are worth looking into if you haven’t checked them out yet.

Cisco Meraki had an entire VoIP phone system with nine stations set up for test driving, complete with voice and video capabilities. This brings to the industry a cloud managed, easy to deploy system that completely integrates with your entire network, not to mention the phones are just really cool to look at.

Cisco also set up their interactive Spark Board, which is cloud based and has no cables nor compatibility concerns. With up to 70″ of surface screen, Spark allows for collaboration, touch screen drawing, and HD video conferencing and has amazing audio. Yes, I’ll take one please.

Last, but by no means least in the Interactive Center, was Kaspersky Labs. Having a large format screen was not a requirement to be in the center, but Kaspersky put theirs to the most unusual use – they visually displayed live hacking attempts from all over the world.

You could actually drill down on specific threats and hacks as they happened to see what type of attack it was and how it was being handled. It was visually mesmerizing to watch the colored lines, bursts, and streaks flying across the globe until the sobering moment you realized they were all hacking attempts! They did not leave attendees in this state of concern, but provided tips on how to protect your data from ransomware and what to do if you are a victim of it.

Deep dive discussions

Breakout sessions are always one of the highlights of the TechShowcase, and this year we again had two tracks: IT Pro and Business Leader. Topics included everything from product introductions, IT planning and management, and security. You can check out the complete lineup on our TechShowcase website.

Some of the sessions were a panel discussion, including the popular, “Did You Try Rebooting? What Your SysAdmin Wants You to Know.” For this breakout, we brought together a great group of IT admins, including some from the Spiceworks community, to share their stories, helpful tips and tricks and words of wisdom on how to make our IT worlds run smoothly. They revealed what makes System Administrators happy and frustrated, and how you can bribe them for help! Watch the replay above to find out what your SysAdmin wants you to know. If it doesn’t work – did you try rebooting? 🙂

One of the business leader sessions included “Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce,” led by CCB Technology Vice President of Marketing Melody Bernhardt. She dared to pull together three generations of attendees to discuss how they can supportively work together and do so to a company’s competitive advantage. As one attendee said in their feedback, “I now feel like there is hope.” (Now no speculating on what generation that was from!)

We did have one overwhelming complaint about the breakout sessions on our follow-up surveys however: people wanted to attend more of them! That’s not a bad problem to have – we can work on that.

Plans for next year

How do we follow a great year like this? How can we make it better?

We have some ideas based on feedback from this year’s attendees:

  • Add an IT Deep Dive track to the breakout sessions. This would be for all of you who geek out about knowing how solutions work from the ground up.
  • Offer sessions at more than one time slot. This will help attendees catch all of the topics they want to see without sacrificing one over another.
  • Expand the Interactive Center. It seems the whole “playing with technology” was just that much fun!
  • Add IT Roundtable discussions. Attendees wanted more opportunities to connect with others in their role or industry. Roundtables will be a great way to participate in topic and solution focused discussions.
  • Make it a longer day. This one surprised us at first, but attendees are asking for more, and since they are already at the event, they want to maximize the day.
  • Bring in more subject matter experts. Topics like the multi-generational workforce and culture changes were well received, so we are looking at how we can expand topics that will help provide more all-around business IT wisdom.
  • Keep doing what you’re doing. We can do that! 100% of respondents to our survey said it was worth taking time out of the office to attend and we received several comments like “well-organized” and “fun and” This make us feel good about getting the important things right!

When is the next one?

Stay tuned! Since the event is at Miller Park, we have to wait for the Brewers 2018 schedule to come out before we can set a date (hint – it will be in April)! I guess when we aren’t hosting the TechShowcase, they play major league ball there – who knew? 🙂 Watch for the release date to come in January of next year.

Don Wynia
I’ve been working in the IT industry since the mid-nineties and CCB is a really special place. I appreciate the family atmosphere and management truly cares about the welfare of their employees and clients. I love that we get to help our customers find the right technology solution that meets their budget and empowers them to achieve their goals.

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