March is Women’s History Month, to celebrate the PASS Women in Technology Virtual Group (@PASS_WIT) held a webcast featuring prominent woman in the Data Platform community. I had the pleasure of being one of five panelists alongside these amazing women Lori Edwards (B|T), Malathi Mahadevan (B|T), Kellyn Pot’Vin-Gorman (B|T), and Catherine Wilhemsen (B|T).
Discussion ranged from direct technical topics to what it’s like being a woman in tech. Women took turns providing advice around having a degree and/or certification to succeed in tech. We discussed how to keep up with advances in the field and skills that technologists should have. Specific to being a woman in tech, we talked about having impostor syndrome, having a mentor, being a mentor and how that helped our career. We talked about what question we’re tired of being asked on these panels and what we need to do so we’re never asked that again. We wrapped up with a great question that I’d love for you to answer, “If you could go back in time & speak to yourself before you entered IT, what would you say?”
If you missed the discussion, no worries, you can see it here.
The PASS Women in Tech Virtual Group, lead Rie Irish (@IrishSQL) and Kathi Kellenberger (@auntkathi), highlights all the great work women are doing in the data platform speaking, writing, educating and building great products. They encourage, empower & energize women to succeed in the tech field. Their mission is to lift as we climb. You can join the group https:/wit.pass.org. Join the mailing list to receive the monthly newsletter that highlights the great work women are doing in tech along with topics important to women in their daily lives.
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Traveling in today’s age of technology is a lot easier than in the past. You can start your journey in the morning of one country and be half way across the world by nights end. When traveling, data security is usually always at the forefront of my mind. I recently traveled to a conference. While this isn’t all that usual (I travel about once a month on average) this time it was different. I was traveling internationally to England to speak at SQL Bits. It was a glorious conference and I was really excited to go, however while preparing to travel, I made sure to review my security measures so that I could enjoy my trip and not be worried.
Full Disk Encryption
If your laptop (or laptops in my case) don’t already have hard drive encryption enabled, you are doing it wrong. As a user of both Windows and Apple hardware, enabling this security feature is painless and just easy to do. Hard drive encryption happens behind the scenes and should not cause any type of performance hit when it is enabled.
FileVault for Apple – FileVault is the way to go if you are Mac user. It’s built into the operating system and does not have any restrictions (that I know of) in terms of versions. If you have been using your laptop for a bit without this enabled, when you do enable it, it may take some time to get everything encrypted appropriately. I had been using my laptop for years without encryption enabled so when I made the switch, I did so over a weekend where I could let it sit. However, you can enable it and continue to work just keep in mind that it might be slower as it’s encrypting all the bits.
Bitlocker for Windows – Bitlocker is the way to go if you are in the Windows eco-system. It’s easy to enable and does not introduce any type of performance overhead. My Surface (provided to me by my employer) already came encrypted. Bitlocker, unfortunately, is not available for the Windows Home version, however you pay $99 to upgrade your operating system to Windows Pro which would then come with Bitlocker. In my opinion, having that full disk encryption is worth every penny of $99 however if that is above your price point there are other alternatives on the market such as VeraCrypt. Make sure that you research those alternatives closely and understand the process on how to encrypt/decrypt your hard drive. If done wrong, the data that you could loose could be yours.
In short, having the peace of mind knowing that if my laptop is stolen, most likely nobody is going to be able to retrieve any sensitive information that I might have on the laptop. Even when traveling domestically, just enabled it and have that peace of mind.
You’ll thank me later.
Password Managers such as 1Password, LastPass, or KeePass should be a part of your daily routine. If you are continuing to utilize the same password for all of your accounts (both online & offline) you are begging for a hacker to break in. Once they have been able to brute force your password, your kingdom is now theirs. I personally use 1Password (and have for years) simply because they offer up several features that I really like.
One of these features is the Travel Mode. Travel Mode is pretty simple in that it removes any password vault marked as “not safe for travel” from your devices. It does not hide them or mask them, it removes them completely. Once you reach your destination, you can simple turn off Travel Mode and the vaults will then be sync’d once again. This really helps to ensure that any unwarranted search of your device will not find any passwords which could be then used against you. You can mark certain vaults as “safe for travel” and those will not be removed from your devices.
If you are traveling to a country where unwarranted searches of your device might happen, this is a great way to elevate those concerns.
Note: Microsoft MVP & Security Expert Troy Hunt uses 1Password so take that into consideration.
I consider my passport as sensitive information thus I want to protect it as best as possible whenever I travel. In addition to my US Driver’s license, I also travel with my passport so that I have a secondary method to authenticate my identity. The United States passport (as well as many other countries) has an RFID chip built into the cover. This means that someone with a RFID scanner and who is near my passport could scan it. While the amount of information contained on the chip is most likely limited, I don’t like to give anybody any type of personal information unless I absolutely must. Especially if I don’t even know that it’s happening
One way to protect your passport against RFID scanning is to purchase a sleeve for it. These are inexpensive sleeve’s which your passport would slid into and be shielded from a RFID scanner. They are easy to use and gives me peace of mind when I travel.
Another consideration when it comes to your passport, is have a secondary copy available somewhere, preferably off site. In my case, I use a cloud provider (like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google, etc) with an encrypted copy of my passport in which certain family members have access to. If my passport is stolen or mis-placed, I can either access it directly from my Cloud provider or I can contact a family member to get me a copy of my passport. While this copy will not be enough to gain access to air travel or cross borders, it would at least give the local US Embassy information that can be used to authenticate who I am.
Whenever I am away from my home network, data security concerns are always present. I work with a number of clients and I always want to ensure that I am protecting their data as well as mine as best as possible. Therefore, when I am traveling anywhere and I need to access the internet, I use a VPN service. In my case, I use my own VPN server that I stood up in Azure. Having a VPN service available makes sure that all of my internet traffic is encrypted and secured away from any prying eyes. Depending on where you are traveling too, you might look at various 3rd party VPN services to ensure that they have a VPN endpoint as close to your destination as possible. In my case, my VPN server is located in the East US region in Azure and even across the Atlantic Ocean the speed was sufficient for what I needed.
My VPN solution also allowed me to use a VPN connection on my phone. I have a newer iPhone but with OpenVPN I was able to get a secure connection when utilizing the hotel Wifi.
It is really exciting to be able to travel, especially when that travel takes you across borders and around the world. These simple items I’ve listed above will help to secure your data. Unauthorized access to your data can really ruin your travel plans, so take a few moments to go over them as well as anything else that might be critical for you. Remember, the data that you might save could be your own!
If you are a frequent traveler, what do you do to secure your data? I’d love to know so that I can be more secure!
© 2019, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.
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OCEANSIDE, Calif., Feb. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting announced that renowned Microsoft MVP Meagan Longoria is joining the company as a consultant.
A Microsoft Data Platform MVP with over ten years of experience, Meagan specializes in business intelligence, data warehousing, and database development. Her areas of expertise include dimensional modeling, data integration design patterns, and data visualization, a topic she recently spoke about at the Power BI World Tour in Dallas.
CEO and Principal Denny Cherry commented, “Meagan is positively innovative in creating solutions in Azure and SQL Server that make data useful for decision makers. She’s particularly gifted as a Power BI consultant and innovator and has been influential in shaping the product with feature suggestions and feedback to Microsoft’s product team. With Power BI becoming such a critical tool in Azure solutions, she’s a perfect fit with our clients and team.”
Longoria responded, “I’ve known the consultants at Denny Cherry & Associates for years through the SQL Server Community. My chats with them at conferences and on Twitter demonstrated their incredible SQL and Azure knowledge, and I’m excited to learn from them. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that values and encourages participation in the technical community.”
About Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting
Award-winning Microsoft Partner and Gold Platform certified Denny Cherry and Associates Consulting assist companies with reliably attaining IT goals such as Azure Migration, HA, scalability, SQL Server virtualization and acceleration, while finding ways to save on costs. With clients ranging from Fortune 50 corporations to small businesses, their commitment to each is the same: to provide a deft, high-speed IT environment that maximizes every aspect of their platform: from architecture, to infrastructure, to network.
SOURCE Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting
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Several weeks ago, while on a flight traveling home from San Francisco, I received an exciting email. I had submitted to speak at SQL Bits and during my flight I was notified that one of my submitted sessions had been selected. This means that I’ll be traveling to Manchester, England for my first international conference. I am extremely honored to have been selected to speak at this prestigious conference. It has been a goal of mine to one day be able to present outside North America and that achievement is finally realized.
SQL Bits is the largest Microsoft SQL Server conference held in Europe, having 4 days of sessions. This year the conference starts on Wednesday February 27th, 2019 running through Saturday March 2nd 2019. The first two days, Wednesday and Thursday, are all day long sessions that are given by some of the world’s foremost experts on SQL Server and related technologies. Regular sessions will be held on Friday and Saturday following the training days.
I’ll be giving my presentation on database internals, which is one of my favorite subjects!
SQL Server Databaseology: Deep Dive into Database Internals
Have you ever taken apart a toaster or an alarm clock just to see how it worked? Ever wondered how that database actually functions at the record level, behind the scenes? SQL Server Databaseology is the study of SQL Server databases and their structures down to the very core of the records themselves. In this session, we will explore some of the deep inner workings of a SQL Server database at the record and page level. You will walk away with a better understanding of how SQL Server stores data and that knowledge that will allow you to build better and faster databases.
This session will be held on Saturday March 2nd, 2019 @ 4:10PM in Room 8. It will be the last session of the day and the conference. I’m excited to present at this conference and share my passion for database internals with attendees.
I will also be traveling with two of my colleagues, Joey D’Antoni (B|T) and Monica Rathbun (B|T), who are both speaking as well. Be sure to check out their sessions as well!!
Joey D’Antoni –
Azure Managed Instances—Your Bridge to the Cloud – Friday March 1st @ 2:25pm in Room 9
Many organizations would like to take advantage of the benefits of using a platform as a service database like Azure SQL Database. Automated backups, patching, and costs are just some of the benefits. However, Azure SQL Database is not a 100% feature compatible with SQL Server—features like SQL Agent, CLR and Filestream are not supported. Migration to Azure SQL Database is also a challenge, as backup and restore and log shipping are not supported methods. Microsoft recently introduced Managed Instances—a new option that provides a bridge between on-premises or Azure VM implementations of SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. Managed Instances provide full SQL Server surface compatibility and support database sizes up to 35 TB. In this session, you will learn about migrating your databases to Managed Instances, developing applications for managed instances. You will also learn about the underlying high availability and disaster recovery options for the solution.
Monica Rathbun –
Performance Tuning SQL Server on Crappy Hardware – Friday March 1st @ 4:50pm in Room 3
Many of us must deal with hardware that doesn’t meet our standards or contributes to performance problems. This session will cover how to work around hardware issues when it isn’t in the budget for newer, faster, stronger, better hardware. It’s time to make that existing hardware work for us. Learn tips and tricks on how to reduce IO, relieve memory pressure, and reduce blocking. Let’s see how compression, statistics, and indexes bring new life into your existing hardware.
So if you happen to be in Manchester, England on Saturday March 2, feel free to stop by the conference. There is still time to register!
© 2019, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.
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