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President Bill Clinton Set to Keynote Autotask Community Live 2017

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2016/04/11: Bill Clinton rallies for Hillary in Lefferts Gardens. (Photo by Louise Wateridge/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is set to keynote Autotask Community Live 2017 in September, the software company confirmed this morning. Rumors about Clinton's appearance at the conference have been swirling for about a month.

No doubt, politicians can sometimes polarize IT audiences. But they also know how to draw a crowd from both sides of the aisle. ChannelE2E has not seen a topic description for Clinton's keynote. But he's certainly well versed in key issues that strongly interest IT service providers.

During Clinton's presidency, which ran from January 1993 until January 2001, the U.S. experienced 4 percent annual economic growth and created 22.7 million jobs -- a record for a two-term president, Wikipedia notes.

With an eye toward entrepreneurs, Clinton backed the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 -- which reduced small business taxes. He also signed legislation that increased the tax deduction for self-employed business owners from 30% to 80% by 1997, Wikipedia adds.

Clinton also has a lengthy history in the cybersecurity sector. Long before his wife's email server controversy emerged, Bill Clinton was working to overhaul the government's approach to cyberterrorism, though clearly those early steps didn't go far enough to anticipate or address future threats.

Right Policies -- or Lucky Timing?

Still, critics say President Clinton largely benefitted from major technology waves during his presidency. Indeed, the PC revolution shifted toward LANs, the Internet and e-commerce during his years in The White House. Software like Windows 95 and Netscape's web browser further accelerated those trends, setting the stage for strong economic growth that extended even beyond the IT sector.

Moreover, some critics say Clinton's support of the Financial Services Modernization Act  of 1999 set the stage for the great recession roughly a decade later. The 1999 act allowed banks, insurance companies and investment houses to merge, and also blocked further regulation of certain risky investments. 

Fast forward to present day, and Clinton could address a range of topics during his time at Autotask Community Live (September 18, noon to 1:00 p.m. ET) -- everything from cybersecurity to IT talent and training the next-generation workforce for local and global opportunities. Will he touch on hot-button topics including the Trump Presidency; Russia's alleged influence on the election; Hillary's email server; and more? We'll be listening...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.