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Microsoft Inspire 2020

Last month, Microsoft hosted their annual partner community conference, Microsoft Inspire, formerly known as the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Since 2003this has been an in-person event, drawing thousands of partners from around the world to various North American cities. While the 2020 version was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was offered to partners for free and was a great opportunity to learn about the company’s roadmap and product innovations and share best practices and success stories.   

In Microsoft’s early days, Bill Gates declared a bold mission of “A computer on every desk and in every home.”  Forty years later, that mission has been accomplished for most of the world; especially if we change the statement to say “a computer in every pocket” – which was only a science fiction dream at the time.  

Today, Microsoft has a broader, more human-focused mission that strives to connect technology with people to help them achieve their goals and dreams:  

Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

Many hours of the conference were dedicated to sharing Microsoft’s values and showing these values in action. There were many sessions on Diversity and Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility.  Microsoft clearly believes technology is a powerful force for good and that the company as well as the huge partner community are in a powerful position to work together to make this happen.  

Microsoft understands that computing is becoming embedded in the world – in every place and everything.  This means continuous innovation in cloud computing and intelligent systems and experiences that enable organizations to access information when they need it, from any device, with the best productivity and collaboration tools; all while providing a trusted security framework to keep people, data and systems secure. 

Therefore, many of the conference sessions covered the topic of security. With the prevalence of remote first work enablement, security is top of mind for technology providers 

Microsoft outlined their Zero Trust framework based upon three principles: 

  1. Verify Explicitly – Make sure everything is authenticated. 
  2. Use least privilege – Make sure identities have the least amount of privilege assigned to accounts as possible. Utilize escalation techniques for users to request higher access when needed. Then the access is downgraded after a period. 
  3. Assume breach – Design the safeguards within an environment that help ensure bad actors cannot move across your network.  

For more information on Zero Trust security, visit the Microsoft website: 

Or use the Zero Trust assessment tool to assess your organization’s security maturity level. 

Microsoft also shared their vision to become a carbon negative company by 2030 with the goal to eliminate carbon pollution by their data centers.  They offered a preview of their Sustainability Calculator which give their cloud customers the opportunity to see their total carbon emissions resulting from their cloud usage.