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VMworld 2016 is right around the corner, and this year’s list of IT thought leaders heading to Vegas to talk cloud has more likes on it than a top-rated Instagram post.

From industry trends, to cutting edge technologies, to tips you can take home and use, VMworld 2016 has something for every IT professional.

And speaking of professionals, we recently had the privilege of chatting with Sandeep Poonen, a VMworld veteran speaker who will be co-presenting the session Seamless Security and Compliance in a Hybrid Cloud Architecture along with his VMware colleague, Shandria Pinckard. Following are some highlights from our interview.

Q: Sandeep, security is a top-of-mind topic for business and IT leaders with on-premises, cloud or hybrid infrastructures. People have been asking, what does “seamless security and compliance” really mean?

A: Cloud architectures are clearly very different than those of traditional infrastructures ¾ how they are consumed, how apps are developed and deployed, and also how security is maintained. So our session will focus on the core elements of a consistent security approach, and how to build them out from what they have in their traditional data centers, to their growing cloud infrastructure. We’ll be drawing from experiences and the lessons I’ve learned.

Q: That sounds great. Tell us, what at the key takeaways attendees can expect from your session?

A: At a minimum, we hope attendees walk away with:

  1. An understanding of how they can seamlessly manage compliance policies and controls for private and public cloud, and
  2. A deeper grasp of the technical security capabilities of vCloud Air, which is both extremely granular as well as easy-to-use and manage.

Q: I’m sure attendees will find the session to be hugely valuable. Can you     share a bit about your role at VMware and the experiences you’ve had?

A: I have been responsible for cloud services security for VMware, reporting to the CISO. And I recently also took on the responsibility for the Information Security Risk Management function. These dual functions help me manage the information security risks that VMware faces throughout the enterprise, but also ensure that our cloud investments maintain the same security hygiene and best practices as the rest of the infrastructure.

Q: Being on the forefront of all things security, what do you see as the biggest trends in the industry?

A: Security is clearly top-of-mind among all stakeholders, from the C-level down, and in all types of organizations. But how people think about security and the impacts of security policies is evolving. Security is no longer a subject merely restricted to technical and compliance magazines.

Think about the recent email hacks of political parties and private email servers, or the concerns people have about the reach of the NSA, or Apple’s recent case regarding unlocking an iPhone. Security now gets front-page coverage in all the major media outlets.

So everybody is aware of the need for security, but also the appropriate ethics of security. Enterprises have these same challenges for their data, their customers, and their employees – with different types of users accessing numerous systems for various reasons and from all over the globe. So security is ubiquitous, and especially in this flat and cloudy world.

Q: One last question, in between sessions, are we more likely to see you playing poker in the casino or seeing a show at the Coliseum?

A: I have discovered that “my heart will go on” just fine even without a Coliseum show. And I don’t gamble, but I do hope to try out some new cuisines. So please come to my session and then let’s find some good food together!

VMworld attendees: catch Sandeep’s session Seamless Security and Compliance in a Hybrid Cloud Architecture on Tuesday, August 30 at 1:00 PM