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Peer Insights: Wisconsin IAM User Group

We’re always looking for ways to get involved with local colleagues in the IAM space. In a recent session, we met with some of our peers at the Wisconsin IAM Meetup group in Waukesha, WI. I wanted to share some detail on these local Meetups, as there is benefit for technical, business and sales roles within the IAM space.

If you’re not familiar with the IAM Meetups, initially these began as a place for Ping Identity customers to get together. But after several meetings, the groups emerged as partnerships between multiple vendors. Now the goal is to create local communities focused specifically on Identity and Access Management (IAM), and strive to be vendor agnostic and educational to better serve the attendees. They’re also a great forum to get to know other colleagues with similar IAM roles and challenges.

The meetings typically work like this: we start with networking time, beverages and snacks, and then move to presentations, panel discussions or other interactive discussions. There is also plenty of time for one-on-one discussions and networking. Axiomatics works in partnership with other IAM vendors to help plan and host these events. In particular, the group in Wisconsin was created in 2015 through partnership with Radiant Logic – Al Cocconi and I have been cohorts in building it since that time.

We’ve since gained traction and great participation from local IAM professionals around the country. Our Wisconsin group boasts a member list of nearly 200 attendees and regularly draws Wisconsin-based companies such as Aurora Health Care, Brookdale Senior Living, Harley-Davidson, Kohl's, Manpower, Northwestern Mutual, ProHealth Care, and SC Johnson (to name a few).

We had a great line-up of contributors for this session. Keith Kunkel, Senior Information Processing Consultant at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Lubar School of Business, led the meeting and started the introductions. Our first scheduled speaker was Guarav Sheth, Senior Manager Cybersecurity with Ernst & Young. Unfortunately, his travel to Milwaukee was cancelled due to Winter Storm Niko. Thankfully our second presenter, Dan Beckett, Managing Partner and Executive Advisor at Security Architects Partners was happy to step up and extend his talk.

Dan led a dynamic and engaging presentation with the theme, "Time is Not on Your Side: Leading IAM Practices to Avoid Catastrophe." Focusing on five main tenants of good security practice, he encouraged deeper discussion and real world examples of information security. One of our attendees, Jane McCormick, an Information Security Analyst at Associated Bank, remarked that "These detailed discussions around best practices are exactly why I find this group so beneficial."

The talk sparked some meaningful sharing of ideas for everyone in the room, and plans for follow-up meetings and discussions after the event. Talking with Dan afterward he explained, "This meeting was one of the most interactive sessions I've had the pleasure of moderating. I thought the attendees were very engaged and really contributed some great anecdotes and experiences that benefitted everyone, myself included."

The Wisconsin IAM User Group has already scheduled our next meeting for Wednesday, May 17, 2017, and I hope you can join us. We strive to find locations that are between Madison and Milwaukee for convenience. You can find more information about the group and links to past meetings at our Meetup page here: https://www.meetup.com/MilwaukeeIAM/. A full listing of the cities, upcoming dates, and Meetup sites for the IAM User Groups can also be found here: https://www.radiantlogic.com/learning-center/events/user-groups/ 

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