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AWS re:Invent 2017 is right around the corner. For the past 5 years, re:Invent has drawn the masses of the IT world to Las Vegas for the latest and greatest in news, education, and entertainment in the cloud industry. This year, AWS is expecting the largest turnout yet, with events taking place in hotels across the entire strip—and with that comes an extensive list of things to do, sessions to attend, etc.

Having attended re:Invent for a few years now, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks, and I’ve figured out which sessions to attend to get the most value out of the event. Of course, you should absolutely attend my session – Security and DevOps: Agility and Teamwork – co-hosted by Joey Peloquin, director of cloud security operations for Citrix. You should also attend Deep Dive on Amazon S3 & Amazon Glacier Storage Management with Alert Logic’s Paul Fisher.

Here are my top three picks—organized by day—of “must-see” sessions and workshops at this year’s conference:


  • SID206 – Best Practices for Managing Security Operation on AWS: Explore options for managing AWS access logs and Amazon EC2 system logs using Amazon CloudWatch Logs. Learn how to use these logs to implement an audit and compliance validation process using services such as AWS Config, AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon Inspector.
    • William Bengtson – Senior Security Engineer – Netflix
    • Armando Leite – Principal Security Architect – AWS
      • 12:15 – 1:15pm, MGM Level 3, Ballroom 316
  • SID207 – Feedback Security in the Cloud: Learn how we use the internal RFC process, the built-in features of AWS that help provide better security by default, our approach to developer education, and tools we developed, and those from the community, to provide visibility into the security posture of AWS.
    • Mark Hillick – Player Security Lead – Riot Games
    • Vlad Vlasceanu – Principal Solutions Architect – AWS
      • 1:00 – 2:00pm, MGM Level 3, Ballroom 319
  • Re:Invent 2017 Industry Day: Learn how companies in different industries, from life sciences to developers, are utilizing AWS to innovate their offerings and bring their solutions & services to ever growing communities.
      • 10:00am – 6:00pm, The Venetian


  • ARC201 – Scaling up to Your First 10 Million Users: You will learn how to best combine different AWS services, how to make smarter decisions for architecting your application, and how to scale your infrastructure in the cloud.
    • Benjamin Thurgood – Principal SA – AWS
      • 8:30 – 9:30am, Venetian Level 2, Venetian E
  • GPSTEC306 – GPS: Continuous Compliance for Healthcare and Life Sciences: In this session, we will discuss common compliance principles, demonstrate how to translate from policies to technical controls, and highlight how our partners are building for GxP and HIPAA.
    • Aaron Friedman – Partner SA – AWS
    • Chris Walley – APN Compliance Lead – AWS
      • 3:15 – 4:15pm, MGM Level 1, Ballroom 122
  • ARC207 – Monitoring Performance of Enterprise Applications on AWS: Understanding the Dynamic Nature of Cloud Computing: We’ll share best practices we’ve learned working with New Relic customers on managing applications running in this environment to understand and optimize how they are performing. Session sponsored by New Relic.
    • Lee Atchison – Sr. Director, Strategic Architecture – New Relic
      • 3:15 – 4:15pm, Venetian Level 4, Delfino 4002


  • SID315 – Security and DevOps: Agility and Teamwork: In this session, you learn pragmatic steps to integrate security controls into DevOps processes in your AWS environment at scale.
    • Joey Peloquin – Director, Cloud Security Operations – Citrix Systems, Inc.
    • Misha Govshteyn – Founder & SVP of Products – Alert Logic, Inc
      • 11:30am – 12:30pm, MGM Level 1, Ballroom 124
  • SID313 – Continuous Compliance on AWS at Scale: Through code examples and live demos, we show tools and automation to provide continuous compliance of your cloud infrastructure.
    • Peter Meister – Sr. Director, Product Management, Marketing – 2nd Watch
    • Lars Cromley – Director, Engineering, Automation – 2nd Watch
      • 1:45 – 2:45pm, MGM Level 1, Ballroom 122
  • SID306 – How Chick-fil-A Embraces DevSecOps on AWS: This session goes over the tools Chick-fil-A uses to ensure their security posture and how they were built on AWS.
    • Robert Davis – Manager, Security Engineering & Operations – Chick-fil-A, Inc.
    • Andrew Baird – SA – AWS
      • 4:00 – 5:00pm, MGM Level 1, Ballroom 111


  • SID342 – Protect Your Web Applications from Common Attack Vectors Using AWS WAF: Key learning goals include understanding the breadth and complexity of vulnerabilities customers need to protect from, understanding the AWS tools and capabilities that can help mitigate vulnerabilities, and learning how to configure effective HTTP request filtering rules using AWS WAF
    • Heitor Vital – SA – AWS
    • Vlad Vlasceanu – Principal SA – AWS
      • 11:30am – 2:00pm, MGM Level 1, Ballroom 120
  • SID216 – Defending Diverse Applications Against Common Threats: There are many ways to build secure, high-availability applications in the cloud. Services such as API Gateway, Amazon VPC, ALB, ELB, and Amazon EC2 are the basic building blocks that enable you to address a wide range of use cases.
    • Venkat Vijayaraghavan – Principal Product Manager – AWS
      • 1:45 – 2:45pm, MGM Level 3, Ballroom 316
  • SID340 – Using Infrastructure as Code to Inject Security Best Practices as Part of the Software Deployment Lifecycle: In this chalk talk, T. Rowe Price, a financial asset management institution, outlines how they built their security automation process in enabling their numerous developer teams to rapidly and securely build and deploy applications at scale on AWS.
    • Cesar Rodriguez – Security Architect – T.Rowe Price
    • Prahlad Rao – SA – AWS
    • Rob Robinson – Manager, Solutions Architecture – AWS
      • 2:30 – 3:30pm, MGM Level 3, Premier 301


  • DEV306 – Embrace DevOps and learn how to Automate Operations:  In this session, you will learn how to use Amazon EC2 Systems Manager to troubleshoot common issues, detect and remediate configuration drift, and automate common actions. You will learn how to author common actions and about community driven features of Systems Manager.
    • Tyler Jones – Cloud Infrastructure Engineering Team Lead – Ancestry
    • Amjad Hussain – Senior Manager – AWS
    • Narayanan Lakshmanan – Software Development Manager – AWS
      • 9:15 – 10:15am, Venetian Level 4, Marcello 4405

*All sessions are subject to change time & location.

Of course, there are hundreds more awesome sessions, boot camps, hackathons, and other activities to attend while you’re at re:Invent. that didn’t make this list. Feel free to use these as a jumping off point to help you get the most out of the event. If you have any suggestions or recommendations for sessions, events, or activities, let us know in the comments below.

Re:Invent can be daunting—especially to newcomers—so just remember to pace yourself and wear comfortable shoes! Be sure to stop by our booth (#1222) to discuss your security posture in AWS with one of our Alert Logic experts. See you in Vegas!

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