Colloquium - From Bubble Forms to Botnets: Scaling High-Stakes Online Testing Platforms in the Cloud

October 11, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
110 MLH
Jim Sherlock

Hundreds of accounts, thousands of instances, and millions of end-users... This presentation will focus on how Pearson is providing governance at-scale while also encouraging innovation with our software development teams in the "Cloud."

As the market leader in the delivery of high-stakes online assessments in the US K-12 market, Pearson has delivered more than 250 million online tests in Amazon's AWS cloud since 2014. Pearson currently provides the online testing services for more than 17 state customers in the US -- including the state of Iowa as the new provider for the Iowa Statewide Assessment for Student Progress (ISASP) developed by the Iowa Testing Program at the University of Iowa.

This talk will focus on some of the larger themes in cloud computing today (building resiliency, scalability, and security into cloud services) as well as broader topics around organizational transformation and the shifting demands in skills and talent that moving to the cloud has brought.  This presentation will be of particular relevance to anyone with an interest in building high-performant systems in the cloud to support significant seasonal user volumes typical of an event-based online model (e.g.: Black Friday in the eCommerce world, April 15th for online tax preparation companies, Hallmark and FTD websites for Mother's Day). Finally, the presentation will touch on how Pearson is leveraging machine learning and big data analytics to provide security and governance in the cloud.


// Sherlock is the Director of Information Security and Data Privacy for Pearson.  An Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate, Jim began his career in Washington DC supporting the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) before returning to Iowa to work for Pearson as a Level II Technical Engineer.

Jim was instrumental in building out Pearson's Operations teams and led the Application Security and Performance Optimization groups at Pearson through 2014.  In his current role, Jim oversees the Assessments Information Security Office at Pearson with responsibilities over Security Operations in AWS, it’s Application Security and Vulnerability Management program, and all Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) work for Pearson's US K-12 Market and Clinical Assessments division.