I fondly remember the MEC, when Microsoft had an entire show dedicated to Exchange Server. My first broad exposure to the Exchange community was at MEC 1998 in Boston, at which I learned a lot from experts such as Tony Redmond, Pierre Bijaoui, and Charles Eliot. Microsoft has since absorbed the MEC's Exchange content into the company's annual TechEd and IT Forum conferences. That's a shame, because the total number of session slots for Exchange material is much smaller than the number available with a dedicated conference.

That's why I'm so excited about Exchange Connections, coming up October 31 to November 4 in San Diego. This Exchange-focused show features expert speakers with a deep knowledge of Exchange, and the show is small enough to allow for more interaction between attendees, vendors, and speakers, of which I am one. The sessions cover the areas of Exchange that administrators are interested in, not just the hot buzzword of the week. The show also has substantial participation from Microsoft, with expert speakers sharing their detailed knowledge (plus plenty of interesting demos).

Each speaker typically presents three sessions. However, because one of the scheduled speakers had a family emergency that will prevent him from appearing, I'll be presenting five sessions:

- "Deploying Rights Management Services with Lessons Learned"-- Microsoft's rights-management approach offers additional protection against some types of security flaws; however, you have to design and deploy it with security in mind. In this session, I will explain how to deploy Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) and what to watch out for when doing so.

- "Exchange Security: Tips and Tricks"--This session has historically been very popular. This year, I expect to spend most of the session talking about security improvements in Exchange Server 2003. I will also have a demo set up to show off some Service Pack 2 (SP2)-specific features.

- "Multi-Forest Deployments"--Exchange is designed to operate within a single Active Directory (AD) forest, but sometimes you need to set up operations that span two or more forests. In this session, I will talk about how to set up coexistence between Exchange deployments in separate forests.

- "Layered Anti-Spam with Exchange"--Exchange has a powerful built- in set of antispam tools, but are they enough? In this session, I will discuss how Exchange's built-in tools work and what you can do with them.

- "Fun With Global Settings, Message Limits, Recipient Policies, and Connectors"--You can do a lot of things with Exchange's built-in limits and connector settings. I this session, I will explain how to use them to have fun. (OK, not really, but I will explain how to use them to better control how messages flow into and out of your organization.)

My favorite part of the show is talking to you, the readers. If you're planning to attend, I encourage you to drop by one of my sessions or look for me in the exhibit hall. I'll be the one hounding vendors about their security policies.