Last month, AWS Public Sector Summit DC took place. An actual, in-person conference! It felt like things were getting back to normal, or rather, that we were finding our new normal — masks and proof of vaccination were required for admission.
Attendance was lighter this year than it’s been in previous years, but it’s always great to get a chance to hear about the cool stuff people are making and doing in the cloud. While the sessions from DC aren’t available just yet, we wanted to share some of our favorite sessions from Public Sector Summit Online from July.
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1. Adopt modern application lifecycles and DevOps with AWS
AWS SA Leo Zhadanovsky takes us through Amazon’s own journey into microservices and pipeline-based deployments. It’s a good reminder that, in DevOps, as in many things, small, incremental changes can lead to big changes.
2. Use lessons learned from the field to build for security
AWS Security Specialist Brad Dispensa goes over common configuration mistakes users make when bringing AWS’s security suite to bear. Security in AWS — on any public cloud — is one of those things everyone agrees is important. But for a variety of reasons, it doesn’t always get treated as such.
While it’s great to have engineers with deep knowledge of AWS security tooling, this talk touches on a lot of the services, some common mistakes when setting them up, and, most importantly, how to correct the mistakes to improve your security posture.
3. Build trustworthy ML detection and monitor bias in ML models
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more and more common in everyday business, but the ‘black box’ nature of many ML models is fast becoming the elephant in the room.
For Public Sector organizations especially, the need to be able to explain how an ML system came to a decision is sine qua non-kind of a dealbreaker. As AWS Sagemaker matures and becomes a one-stop ML platform, AWS ML Specialist Aaron Sengstacken introduces Sagemaker Clarify — a new tool to identify bias and provide explainability.
We love to see Machine Learning Practitioners thinking about how the tools they create impact users, and what accountability these systems need to earn wider trust.
4. Prepare for ransomware
Another security session? Well, it is a Public Sector event, besides, can you really have too much security? With cybercrime like ransomware attacks on the rise, and more and more sensitive data being stored in the cloud every day, organizations should have ransomware playbooks, just like they would for outages, DDoS attacks, and insider threats. And like those other crises, the worst time to be writing the playbook is during the crisis.
In this session, AWS SA Abhi Singh walks us through the latest NIST guidance, and how to translate that guidance into action in AWS.
I hope you found these sessions interesting and helpful — either they gave you an idea for a new project, helped you solve a problem with a project you’re working on now, or caused you to ask new questions that you can explore and find the answer to!