Well, it’s been a while since I have written a blog, and there are several changes that have happened since then. The first one you will notice is the new look I have been wanting to update this for a while now and have finally taken the leap in faith and pulled a finger out and done it.
The new look is not the only thing to change, I also a new job, having recently changed roles and have started to work for Open Systems, for those who are not aware of who Open Systems are I will explain a bit more about them in a bit. But this move has shifted my focus from more of a technology all-rounder to a dedicated cloud specialist, looking at the Microsoft cloud suite. Covering both Microsoft 365 and Azure technologies, but with a heavy focus on security and compliance. I have touched on security and compliance in previous blogs but previous roles have restricted this to the capabilities of M365 Business Premium, which is always a good starter, but now the focus will be looking at beyond Business Premium and into the M365 E5 Suite.
The change in the role has given me a bit of breathing space to concentrate on a couple of exams as well, this has seen me get 3 new certifications in the last few months, with a couple more being worked on at present. I now have my Azure Security Engineer Associate, Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate, and Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty. These have been ones that have been on my to-do list for a long long time (apart from the AVD Speciality, it’s only been on since it was launched a few months ago).
Over the next few weeks, I hope to write a couple of blogs on my experience of these certifications with some guidance on how I achieved them and what I used to study for them. On top of this, I am currently working on my AZ-104: Azure Administrator and SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator certifications, which I hope to be able to get done in the next couple of months.
The New Job – Who are Open Systems? and Why did I decide to join them?
Let’s start with the easy bit… Who are Open Systems? Well, when I was first approached I didn’t know who they are, they have little presence in the UK market at the moment but with a big presence in the EU and US markets. They are co-headquartered out of Zurich, Switzerland, and Redwood City, USA, providing Crazy Good Cybersecurity, focused on SASE and MDR services but also professional services across Azure and the Microsoft 365 stack, with recognition from Microsoft as a Gold Partner and also a member of Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISP). They have recently grown through the acquisition of Born in the Cloud, who was also a Microsoft Gold Partner and a member of MISP.
Now that’s all really good but why did I join? Well after chatting to several people, reading into what they do, what their future plans were, and how they were perceived by clients and employees, I came away feeling excited and driven by the organisation. It felt very special for me and led to one of the most difficult decisions I had to make in my career to date. I had only been with ITEC UK (Xerox) for a few months and was starting to build some great services, had a good relationship and backing from my boss, but fundamentally it came down to thinking about what was best for my career and that was the opportunity and challenge that Open Systems presented to me.
With my blog, I still have a few more things to complete on it to finish the rebrand and design, so that will be happening in the background over the next few weeks. But I will be starting to aim to write a blog a week to start with, with COVID restrictions now starting to ease in the UK, I am looking forward to trying to get to a conference in October and also looking at building my own confidence in making some videos, podcasts and potentially looking to speak at a User Group. I have never been a fan of public speaking but it’s something I would like to overcome. As well as this I will be looking to get my AZ-104 and SC-300 exams completed and may even attempt the new AZ-700 exam when it is launched.