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Achieving 20/20 Vision on Network Security: Reflections from AlgoSummit 2020

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Gili Kimel, Director of International Field Marketing at AlgoSec, reflects on her experience transforming the hotly anticipated AlgoSummits into virtual events 

No one could have anticipated the events of the last few months, and the impact it would have across the world. One consequence of the global pandemic was the cancellation or postponement of all major in-person conferences, and AlgoSummit would have faced a similar fate without some ingenuity from our team. We knew we had to deliver a positive and engaging experience for our partners and customers, and that is why we decided to embrace the new way of working and take our AlgoSummit conferences virtual this year. 

As a field marketer, I rarely engage in digital activities, and we have certainly never planned and executed a digital event of our own. However, we knew how important it was that we showed appreciation for our customers and partners over what has been a turbulent year.  

Turning our idea into a reality was not without its challenges, and we spent a considerable amount of time evaluating what would be possible and more importantly, most valuable, in an online medium. While we had to forgo some of our regular sessions, we were proud to successfully deliver our User Forums, Channel Partner Forums and Technology-focused Workshops in a digital format.  

Channel Partner Forum 

We knew from our own experiences that we had to create content to fit the virtual medium. It had to be crisp, fast, and dynamic, which is why we only selected the most appropriate sessions.  

Our Channel Partner Forums offered attendees an unprecedented opportunity to hear from our top global channel partners including Accenture Security, Orange Cyberdefense, World Wide Technology (WWT), Logicalis, AMT group, Gulf Business Machines (GBM), Netpoleon Solutions, and Trustwave, who all shared their experience and successes with AlgoSec. The forums were also a chance for our partners to learn about the available tools and training on offer to help them create unique value propositions and succeed in their respective regions. 

We also wanted to continue the tradition of honoring our top partners based on their revenues with AlgoSec in 2019, we held a virtual ceremony in the style of the Oscars, which proved to be great fun for all involved.  

AlgoSec User Forums 

During the User Forum, attendees had unbridled access to the AlgoSec roadmap and vision, gaining insights on market trends and best practices from our leading technology partners, all in the convenience of their home or office. The forums featured presentations from leading enterprises who described the security policy management challenges they faced and how they addressed them using AlgoSec solutions. They were also able to listen to our strategic technology partner Cisco, who shared the better together value proposition in a shared session with one of our joint customers – CSI Web. In APAC, we featured a testimonial from Yes Bank.  

Technology-focused Workshops 

The Technology-focused Workshops at this year’s AlgoSummits took a deep dive into the world of Cisco ACI, micro-segmentation, and the cloud. During the sessions we welcomed Roxana Diaz and Justin Cooke, WW Technical Solutions Architects from Cisco, who discussed network security within Cisco ACI and multi-vendor environments. We also heard from Roy Rodan, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect for AWS, who covered the challenges of managing hybrid network environments that extend to the cloud and Douw Steyn, Tetration PSS at Cisco, who spoke about the role of application visibility in micro-segmentation.  

Connecting with our audience 

We felt it was important to show the realities of working from home, with all the quirks and unforeseen challenges that may present. While we could have mocked up well positioned and polished backgrounds for our speakers, we decided it was a nice opportunity to show everyone how we are all experiencing the same thing, and we need those authentic interactions professionally and personally. And so, we asked our speakers to use their own home or office backgrounds as it was an important aspect for us to connect more meaningfully with our virtual audience. 

Although AlgoSummit was delivered online, we still wanted to engage with all registrants offline. Ahead of the events, we sent everyone a 20/20 Perfect Vision Survival Kit which included several items to help you cope with the new normal. We challenged the registrants to take a picture with the items in their current office situation, and the picture with most likes got a Nintendo Switch to help with downtime away from the conference sessions.  

While we were anxious about hosting our conference in an unfamiliar way, the feedback from the sessions has been overwhelmingly positive and we cannot thank our partners and customers enough for their attendance and participation. We don’t know what next year holds, but I am confident we can deliver excellent virtual events in the future. 

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