Microsoft is fortifying its enterprise offerings while cybersecurity comes to the fore as the digital age’s central challenge.
Microsoft Ignite, the company’s annual IT event, kicked off today (24 September) in Orlando, Florida. The tech giant unveiled some major new products and features that will pique the interest of IT professionals across the globe.
Given the increased awareness of cyber-threats and the growing need for solutions that can adapt as fast as bad actors, Microsoft has announced some new cybersecurity tools to help concerned IT leads and teams.
Microsoft places security at the core
With its Digital Crimes Unit and Cyber Defense Operations Center, Microsoft is a major player in the security field, both in the enterprise and geopolitical spheres.
Today, the company is announcing support for password-less login via the Microsoft Authenticator app for the hundreds of thousands of Azure AD-connected apps. Microsoft Secure Score now includes enterprise mobility and security (EMS) and Azure Centre.
Secure Score gives organisations recommendations that reduce chances of a breach, such as enforcement of multifactor authentication and ensuring trusted access for certain apps.
Microsoft Threat Protection is an end-to-end solution that brings advanced threat protection and automatic remediation across email, PCs, identities and infrastructure into a single Microsoft 365-based experience.
Protecting the cloud
The company is beefing up cloud security tools and announced its public preview of Azure confidential computing, making the platform the first cloud service to provide a secure platform for data confidentiality.
Shirley Finnerty, Microsoft Ireland Windows business group lead, told Siliconrepublic.com: “To stop modern cyberattacks, organisations need threat protection at multiple points across their digital presence. Email, identities, devices and infrastructure can all be targeted by attackers.
“If those threat protection points are not integrated and coordinated, the defenders are more likely to miss an important alert or fail to recognise an attack pattern. And they will be less efficient when they respond to incidents.”
Finnerty noted the company’s focus on the devices that now make up a lot of modern workplaces. “When considering the future direction for cloud computing, it’s also important to not discount the edge – the devices that connect to the cloud, such as PCs, mobile devices and internet of things [IoT] devices.
“We’re focused on partnering across the industry to secure the future for that full cloud and edge ecosystem, which is why we are building security into everything we do, from Azure confidential computing to Windows to Office 365 to Azure Sphere [an IoT security and power solution for the edge].”
AI boosting collaboration and efficiency
AI is another major element of the unveilings at Ignite 2018, particularly when it comes to cloud computing tools. Azure Machine Learning (ML) now has an automated ML feature to identify the most efficient algorithms. Azure SQL Database Hyperscale adapts to your needs, scaling up to 100TB per database, expanding the potential for app growth.
New AI tools in Microsoft 365 will boost efficiency. Microsoft Search is a cohesive capability that makes it easy to locate documents, powered by the Microsoft Graph and AI technology from Bing. Ideas within Office will offer intelligent recommendations, while intelligent enhancements in Excel are now generally available. New Excel data types will turn references into stocks and geographies for richer, interactive spreadsheets. Linking of Office 365 and LinkedIn accounts makes emails between LinkedIn connections through Outlook possible.
For Mac users, the Mac and Windows versions of Office are now on a single codebase, with new updates and features arriving monthly. A new Touch Bar integration for Mac users is available, and users can also see all of their OneDrive files in Finder, but only download the ones they need.
Microsoft Teams now has intelligent speech-to-text transcription and uses facial detection to blur the background during meetings. More than 329,000 global organisations use Teams.
Teams who are tasked with legal compliance will be happy with the Compliance Manager expansions in Microsoft 365, including different industry templates all in one place.
As Ignite continues, it’s clear that security and intelligence are the two prongs of this latest roll-out from the company.