25 Scenes From Symantec's 2008 PartnerEngage Conference

This year's Symantec PartnerEngage conference was held in Washington D.C. at the J.W. Marriott in the heart of the city. During the 24-hour conference, partners were treated to a whirlwind of receptions, keynotes and panel discussions while being within blocks of numerous historic sites like the Washington Monument.

It might look like something out of the movie "War Games," yet it's oddly real. Symantec kicked off its 2008 PartnerEngage conference with a media tour of its Security Operations Center in Washington D.C. Inside the center, Symantec Security researchers scan for all forms of Trojans, botnets, executables and other malicious attacks for clients all over the world. Altogether, Symantec operates four SOCs around the world protecting more than 800 customers globally.

"To them this is no joke," said Grant Geyer, Symantec vice president of managed security services.

At Symantec's Security Operations Center, researchers are busy working on top secret malware detection. This often entails sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end and meticulously reviewing and analyzing lists of code for anomalies, such as sudden copious amounts of e-mail coming from one client, possibly indicating compromised computer systems integrated into a botnet.

Symantec researchers monitor threats round the clock. When they detected a particularly alarming incident, researchers are instructed to immediately notify the customer.

Did we mention this work was long and laborious? Researchers at Symantec's SOC in Washington D.C. go through thousands of security alerts and incidents per day to provide comprehensive threat detection and analysis for the company's hosted services that include security monitoring, log management, managed threat analysis, and DeepSight vulnerability assessment.

"We're trying to add another layer of protection so that they have experts watching 24 hours when something bad happens," said Geyer.

Symantec partners began the 2008 PartnerEngage with a bang with an opening reception at Newseum, a museum in the heart of Washington D.C. dedicated entirely to the history of the news.

As a museum for some of the most high profile media events in the last two centuries, Newseum exhibits also included notable artifacts, such as these pieces of the post Glasnost Berlin Wall.

Partners peruse exhibits analyzing current political and election news coverage.

During the PartnerEngage opening reception at the Newseum, Paul Kerr, CEO of Scalar Decisions, based in Toronto, Ontario, checks out the exhibit, featuring newspapers from all over the world. The museum exhibit illustrated how different news organizations around the world offered different perspectives and interpretations of the same events.

From the left, Partners Thomas Lee, vendor sales specialist, and Brent Nohl, Symantec sales specialist for Toronto, Ontario-based Softchoice, and Jaysen Palmer, business development manager for Fremont,Calif.-based Synnex, all kick back with a few beers at the PartnerEngage opening reception.

Partners laugh, hang out, and network while hovering over the open bar and plates of hors' d'oeuvres at Symantec's opening reception, held at Washington D.C.'s Newseum.

From the left, Steven Carey, partner development specialist, and Scott Wooten, product line director for Merrimack, N.H.-based PC Connection Services, ease into the fun as well.

From left, Partners Dave Schechtman, Symantec product specialist for Skokie-Ill.-based Forsythe Solutions; Symantec business development managers Jason Walker and Jay Jellis of Westminster, Colo.-based Avnet Technology Solutions; and Avnet Sales Associate Marie Johnson, said they were having a great time at Symantec's opening party.

Did we mention there was an open bar at the opening reception?

Partners strain their necks to get a glimpse of a demolished twin tower antenna at Newseum's 9/11 gallery.

Housed not far from Symantec's home of Cupertino, San Francisco's The Examiner newspaper has its own interpretation of the events of September 11, 2001.

Symantec Chief Operating Officer Enrique Salem kicks off the back-to-back keynotes with a speech that addressed company challenges that ranged from improving product quality to a gloomy 2009 economic forecast.

Partners enjoy trays of food and desserts for a quick boost, as well as all the coffee they can drink, outside of the general session during lunch time.

Sheri Atwood, Symantec senior director of strategic product marketing, speaks to hundreds of partners about SymBrain, the intelligent technology powering the company's new Symantec University online training program and enablement tool for partners. Incorporating intelligence based technology and collaborative platforms, the new tool is aimed at reducing the sales cycle and helping partners offer more strategic solutions for their customers.

Ever on the go, Symantec partners charge out of a general session to take a quick break -- and talk on their cell phones -- before the next session begins.

Partners mingle while waiting outside the J.W. Marriott in the balmy D.C. evening air for the buses to take them to Symantec's final party at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Symantec partners Joe Sierra, relationship manager, and Matt Scherocman, vice president of sales and operations, PCMS IT Advisor Group, follow the arrows that point to twin engine Cessnas and Russian space crafts at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

After a full day of keynotes and sessions, partners wind down with finger food and drinks at Symantec's PartnerEngage final party, held at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

In light of the challenging economy and rapidly changing IT security market, Symantec partners consider new SaaS opportunities in the lunar space pod industry.

Following the 2008 Symantec PartnerEngage conference, many partners opted to do a little sightseeing, upon hearing that there was some cool stuff in the area.