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Microsoft Fortifies Security, Takes AI to Customers at Ignite 2018

Microsoft has announced the release of security programs and products at Ignite 2018. Among them are Microsoft Secure Score, a dynamic report card that assesses Microsoft 365 customer environments and makes recommendations that can reduce breaches up to thirtyfold, and Microsoft Authenticator, which helps make secure sign-on easier for workers with features like password-free login.

“In this era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, businesses in every industry are looking for a trusted partner to help them transform,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “We are pushing the bounds in AI, edge computing and IoT, while providing end-to-end security to empower every organization to build its own digital capability and thrive in this new era.”

Key focus at Ignite 2018 

Cybersecurity is the central challenge of the digital age:

Microsoft shared ways it is empowering IT to unlock the security capabilities of the intelligent cloud. To tip the scales in the cyberwar, Microsoft focuses on three things:

Security operations at a global scale that work for our customers: The company’s global security infrastructure protects customers by securing data centre’s, running a Cyber Defense Operations Centre, hacking its own defenses (red-teaming), hunting down attackers, and blocking more than 5 billion distinct malware threats each month.

Enterprise-class security technology: Microsoft is using the cloud to secure organizations broadly with new security features in its products that protect against a wide range of threats, secure the network and protect sensitive information.

Cybersecurity partnerships in a heterogeneous world: It takes more than the right technology and operations to make the world as secure as possible. It takes work to strengthen the broad ecosystem, bring the entire tech sector together, and partner directly with governments and democratic institutions. In close partnership with others, Microsoft recently made significant advances in this work.

The new additions include:

Password less login via the Microsoft Authenticator app or the hundreds of thousands of Azure AD connected apps that businesses use every day.

Microsoft Secure Score by which organizations get assessments and recommendations that typically reduce their chance of a breach up to thirtyfold with steps like enforcing multi factor authentication for both administrators and end users and ensuring trusted access to the right applications.

Microsoft Threat Protection service uses AI and human research to speed up investigations to eliminate threats faster, saving thousands of hours for overstretched security teams.

Azure confidential computing, making Azure the first cloud service to provide a secure platform for protecting the confidentiality and integrity of data in use.

Data and AI transform the intelligent enterprise

Furthering the company’s commitment to democratizing access to AI and ensuring that the benefits are widely shared,
the company today launched AI for Humanitarian Action, a new $40-million, five-year program aimed at harnessing
the power of AI to aid efforts such as disaster recovery, protecting children, refugees, and and displaced people, and promoting respect for human rights.

Microsoft is also continuing to deliver AI-infused products and services that will be available to billions of people
through the next generation of applications, experiences and personal assistants.

Microsoft announced new products and services to help enterprises get the most value from their data: They include

Azure Machine Learning updated to automated machine learning

SQL Server 2019 preview unveiled which will redefine the relational database with new big data capabilities that enable users to take on any data project.

Azure SQL DB hyper scale a, highly scalable service tier that adapts to your workload’s needs, auto-scaling up to 100 TB per database.

Azure Data Explorer public preview accelerates discovery and insight from large volumes of event data.

Updates to Azure Cosmos DB Multi-master enable customers to easily build their mission-critical, globally distributed apps.

Microsoft unveiled new AI experiences in Microsoft 365 that make it easier for people to find information, create content, analyse data and collaborate with others:

These include:

Microsoft Search, that makes it easier to find a variety of documents and data from both inside and outside the organization without leaving the flow of work.

Ideas in Office help people tap into the power of AI with one click of a mouse to launch intelligent recommendations in Office applications. Rolling out first for Excel and PowerPoint, the Ideas engine simplifies the user experience and helps people save time performing everyday tasks.

New intelligent enhancements in Excel are generally available, giving users
the ability to turn data into insights.Insert Data from Picture, a new feature that’s available in public preview on Android, allows users to take a picture of a table from their phones and quickly convert those pictures into an Excel file that can be edited, analysed and shared. Enhancements also include major improvements to the performance of existing Excel functionality.

With the ability to connect Office 365 and LinkedIn accounts, users can send emails and share documents with LinkedIn first-degree connections directly from Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Background blur will  use facial detection to blur your background during video meetings, and meeting recording provides speech-to-text transcription generating a searchable transcript and automatically applying captions to the recording. Customers will be able to create and stream live and on-demand events in Teams, Microsoft Stream and Yammer.

The new Cortana Skills Kit for enterprise an end-to-end solution will allow enterprises to build custom skills and agents, test them with users, and fully manage deployment to their organization.

Capturing value from IoT and edge computing

Computing is becoming more ubiquitous and simultaneously more distributed across the edge — connected devices, endpoints and geographies. With the power of AI, these devices can predict, learn, speak and more. Microsoft is delivering powerful IoT and edge solutions that unlock new opportunities for customers to bring cloud intelligence to new scenarios and to areas where connectivity is unreliable:

Azure Digital Twins, announced a new offering in IoT platform that enables customers and partners to create a comprehensive digital model of any physical environment. Azure Digital Twins leverages the full power of the Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge to provide a foundation for partners to build custom digital solutions that stay up-to-date with the physical world, as well as use advanced analytics to understand the past and predict future states for scenarios such as predictive maintenance, energy management and more.

Azure Sphere, the first holistic solution designed to secure and power IoT devices at the intelligent edge. Azure Sphere is designed to secure connected microcontrollers  of which there are 9 billion shipping every year  from the silicon to the cloud.

With Azure Data Box Edge public preview, Microsoft added more products to the Azure Data Box family to help customers analyse, process, and transform data before uploading it to the cloud. Azure Data Box Edge is a physical network appliance, shipped by Microsoft that sends data in and out of Azure with AI-enabled edge capabilities. It uses advanced FPGA hardware natively integrated into the appliance to run machine learning algorithms efficiently at the edge.

(Image Courtesy: www.visualstudiomagazine.com)

 

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