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Microsoft and AzureCon delivers! Love it! – #Azure, #AzureCon, #EnvokeIT, #IoT, #SaaS, #PaaS

I really love the way that Microsoft and Azure delivers! It’s so amazing with all the PaaS and SaaS offerings they now have on top of the traditional IaaS delivery. There is no other cloud provider out there that delivers anything near it! I’m amazed and so happy to be a part of this journey!

If you didn’t have the time to look at AzureCon you have a lot of great videos and topics to go through!!

Here is a short overview of the many great things released and presented:

  • General Availability of 3 new Azure regions in India
  • Announcing new N-series of Virtual Machines with GPU capabilities
  • Announcing Azure IoT Suite available to purchase
  • Announcing Azure Container Service
  • Announcing Azure Security Center

Watching the Videos

All of the talks presented at AzureCon (including the 60 breakout talks) are now available to watch online.  You can browse and watch all of the sessions here.

Announcing General Availability of 3 new Azure regions in India

Yesterday we announced the general availability of our new India regions: Mumbai (West), Chennai (South) and Pune (Central).  They are now available for you to deploy solutions into.

This brings our worldwide presence of Azure regions up to 24 regions, more than AWS and Google combined. Over 125 customers and partners have been participating in the private preview of our new India regions.   We are seeing tremendous interest from industry sectors like Public Sector, Banking Financial Services, Insurance and Healthcare whose cloud adoption has been restricted by data residency requirements.  You can all now deploy your solutions too.

Announcing N-series of Virtual Machines with GPU Support

This week we announced our new N-series family of Azure Virtual Machines that enable GPU capabilities.  Featuring NVidia’s best of breed Tesla GPUs, these Virtual Machines will help you run a variety of workloads ranging from remote visualization to machine learning to analytics.

The N-series VMs feature NVidia’s flagship GPU, the K80 which is well supported by NVidia’s CUDA development community. N-series will also have VM configurations featuring the latest M60 which was recently announced by NVidia. With support for M60, Azure becomes the first hyperscale cloud provider to bring the capabilities of NVidia’s Quadro High End Graphics Support to the cloud. In addition, N-series combines GPU capabilities with the superfast RDMA interconnect so you can run multi-machine, multi-GPU workloads such as Deep Learning and Skype Translator Training.

Announcing Azure Security Center

This week we announced the new Azure Security Center—a new Azure service that gives you visibility and control of the security of your Azure resources, and helps you stay ahead of threats and attacks.  Azure is the first cloud platform to provide unified security management with capabilities that help you prevent, detect, and respond to threats.

Azure_Security_Center

The Azure Security Center provides a unified view of your security state, so your team and/or your organization’s security specialists can get the information they need to evaluate risk across the workloads they run in the cloud.  Based on customizable policy, the service can provide recommendations. For example, the policy might be that all web applications should be protected by a web application firewall. If so, the Azure Security Center will automatically detect when web apps you host in Azure don’t have a web application firewall configured, and provide a quick and direct workflow to get a firewall from one of our partners deployed and configured: Read more…

Microsoft Ignite 2015 summary – #MSIgnite, #EnvokeIT, #Azure, #Office365, #OneDrive, #EMM, #PaaS, #IaaS

Hi all,

We at EnvokeIT participated and collaborated at Microsoft Ignite 2015 in Chicago. And it was one of the most intense events I’ve visited in years with a lot of happening in the business and Microsoft really showed that they are the leading innovator in many areas!

I hope that you enjoy my report and that it gives you a condensed overview of what happened and please contact us at EnvokeIT if you want assistance within any area below! And thank you Microsoft for such a great event and also all you bloggers out there that I’ve linked to in this material.

I must say that this event was positive and a bit scary at the same time. Microsoft is for sure pushing as visionairies and innovators in a lot of areas, and I think that competitors will have a hard time competing in the coming years.

These are the areas where A LOT have been released already and where Microsoft according to my oppinion will increase its market share significantly:

  • Cloud and Mobile services, and with this I don’t mean IaaS service for just running a VM in their public Azure cloud or building a hybrid cloud with connectivity to on-premise datacenters. They are delivering so many capabilities now as PaaS and SaaS services. Just look at the sections below, it’s everything from Enterprise Mobillity Management (EMM), Business Intelligence, Database, Storage, Web Apps/services, Service Availability services (DR, Monitoring/Reporting, Backup etc.), Development, Source Control, Visual Studio Online etc. It’s amazing!!
  • Open Source/Linux support – It’s so cool how much Microsoft have shifted to become an adopter to support more open source technologies and way of thinking than just a couple of years ago! Just have a look at all the Linux support they have in Azure, the Linux support they now have in System Center, Docker support to deliver more DevOps capabilities and all the other services in Azure. It’s amazing and so fun! So now both Microsoft have opened their eyes and realized that they can’t ignore this anymore just like Citrix has with their addition of XenDesktop for Linux with SuSE and RedHat support!

The first day kicked off and was a bombarding of product announcements aimed at helping IT pros secure and manage the new Universal Windows Platform.

CEO Satya Nadella presided over a three-hour keynote, which focused on how Microsoft’s new wave of software and cloud services will enable IT and business transformations that are in line with the ways people now work. Nadella talked up Microsoft’s focus on “productivity and platforms” and how it’s tied with the shift to cloud and mobility. He also highlighted the need for better automation of systems and processes, and better management of the vast amounts of data originating from new sources such as sensors and other Internet-of-Things-type nodes.

As mentioned there where a lot of updates and below I’ve tried to gather these and I hope it gives you a good insight on the infromation we received and also guidance on how you can get more information about the topics.

Included below are links to detailed overviews of each of the demos (from Microsoft blog post) – including information about how to use them, where to learn more, and what you’ll need to get started.

The following picture is a sketch of the keynote and is also quite good at summarizing the message of Mobile and Cloud first!

 

vNiklas also created a great powershell script that automates the downloading of all MS Ignite content with PowerShell and Bits from Channel 9 that you can find here!

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) – MDM, MAM, MCSM/MIM etc…

Microsoft’s next chapter in Enterprise Mobility, great blog post on where Microsoft is going etc. http://blogs.technet.com/b/enterprisemobility/archive/2015/05/04/ignite-microsofts-next-chapter- in-enterprise-mobility.aspx …

Windows 10 Continuum – this is cool, think about docking your smartphone to your external screen, keyboard and mouse! That’s try mobility of youre device, this looks really cool and something that I’d like to try out once released!

Have a look at the feature demo at Ignite in the video below.

What’s New and Upcoming with Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager | Microsoft Ignite 2015

This session outlines the latest enhancements in enterprise mobility management using Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager. See the newest Microsoft Intune improvements for managing mobile productivity without compromising compliance, and learn about the futures of Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK3861/player

In the CloudEnterprise Mobility Management table of content:

Office 2016 public preview available!

Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web. We’ve even added new apps to the Office family with Sway and Office Lens. All designed to keep your work moving, everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten where we came from. While you’ve seen us focus on tuning Office for different platforms over the last year, make no mistake, Office on Windows desktop is central to our strategy.

In March we introduced an IT Pro and Developer Preview for the 2016 release of our Office desktop apps on Windows, and now—as a next step—we’re ready to take feedback from a broader audience. Today we’re expanding the Office 2016 Preview, making it available to Office users everywhere in preparation for general availability in Fall 2015.

Office 2016 previewers will get an early look at the next release of Office on Windows desktop, but more importantly they’ll help to shape and improve the future of Office. Visit the Office 2016 Preview site to learn more about the Preview program and if it’s right for you.

New in Office 2016

Since March, we’ve shared some glimpses of what’s to come in Office 2016. Today, we’d like to give a more holistic view of what customers at home and work can expect in the next release. In Office 2016, we’re updating the Office suite for the modern workplace, with smart tools for individuals, teams, and businesses.

Read more…

Highly critical “Ghost” allowing code execution affects most Linux systems – #Vulnerability, #Security, #Linux

January 29, 2015 Leave a comment

And here it continues, another critical vulnerability that affects most Linux systems. Ensure that your system is updated and rebooted!!

More information about Citrix affected systems can be found here:

Citrix Security Advisory for glibc GHOST Vulnerability (CVE-2015-0235)
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200391

Here is a great article on the vulnerability itself from arstechnica.com:

An extremely critical vulnerability affecting most Linux distributions gives attackers the ability to execute malicious code on servers used to deliver e-mail, host webpages, and carry out other vital functions.

The vulnerability in the GNU C Library (glibc) represents a major Internet threat, in some ways comparable to the Heartbleed and Shellshock bugs that came to light last year. The bug, which is being dubbed “Ghost” by some researchers, has the common vulnerability and exposures designation of CVE-2015-0235. While a patch was issued two years ago, most Linux versions used in production systems remain unprotected at the moment. What’s more, patching systems requires core functions or the entire affected server to be rebooted, a requirement that may cause some systems to remain vulnerable for some time to come.

The buffer overflow flaw resides in __nss_hostname_digits_dots(), a glibc function that’s invoked by the gethostbyname() and gethostbyname2() function calls. A remote attacker able to call either of these functions could exploit the flaw to execute arbitrary code with the permissions of the user running the application. In a blog post published Tuesday, researchers from security firm Qualys said they were able to write proof-of-concept exploit code that carried out a full-fledged remote code execution attack against the Exim mail server. The exploit bypassed all existing exploit protections available on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, including address space layout randomization, position independent executions, and no execute protections. Qualys has not yet published the exploit code but eventually plans to make it available as a Metasploit module.

“A lot of collateral damage on the Internet”

The glibc is the most common code library used by Linux. It contains standard functions that programs written in the C and C++ languages use to carry out common tasks. The vulnerability also affects Linux programs written in Python, Ruby, and most other languages because they also rely on glibc. As a result, most Linux systems should be presumed vulnerable unless they run an alternative to glibc or use a glibc version that contains the update from two years ago. The specter of so many systems being susceptible to an exploit with such severe consequences is prompting concern among many security professionals. Read more…

Google + Microsoft = Process Explorer 16.0 – #Google, #VirusTotal – via @lseltzer

February 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This is kind of cool!

The latest version of Process Explorer, one of the top tools in Microsoft’s popular Windows Sysinternals suite, has incorporated support for the popular VirusTotal service run by Google.

The Sysinternals tools were written by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell before Microsoft bought their company many years ago. Russinovich continues to develop the tools in his spare time at Microsoft while working on their Azure cloud service.

To quote the “What’s New” section on microsoft.com:

    Thanks to collaboration with the team at VirusTotal, this Process Explorer update introduces integration with VirusTotal.com, an online antivirus analysis service. When enabled, Process Explorer sends the hashes of images and files shown in the process and DLL views to VirusTotal and if they have been previously scanned, reports how many antivirus engines identified them as possibly malicious. Hyperlinked results take you to VirusTotal.com report pages and you can even submit files for scanning.
Check.VirusTotal.Menu

VirusTotal was created and built up by Hispasec Systems, a Spanish security consulting firm. Over the years it became wildly popular to the point where it needed a cloud infrastructure on the scale that a company like Google could provide. Google took the service over in 2012 [Corrected from 2007]. Read more…

#Windows 8.1’s #BYOD enhancements ready for business adoption – via @kenhess

This is actually great news and a great article by Ken Hess! Microsoft is finally understanding the new BYOD use cases and scenarios! Interesting reading…

Summary: Microsoft understands, better than any other software company, that BYOD is actually a thing. It’s a thing to be dealt with at the source, which is exactly what they’re doing.

Everyone has weighed in on Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 update due at the end of the month, but few have highlighted the finer points of this significant update. Personally, I see Windows 8.1 as the new business operating system for desktop computing. Microsoft has listened to its critics and has made some super improvements on its much-beleagured new operating system.

Some of the more exciting improvements come in the form of BYOD enhancements. I believe that it is these features that will propel Windows 8.x onto corporate desktop systems and out of critical oblivion.

Excerpt from Stephen L. Rose’s Springboard Blog on Windows.com.

B.Y.O.D (Bring Your Own Device) Enhancements

  • Workplace Join – A Windows 8 PC was either domain joined or not. If it was a member of the domain, the user could access corporate resources (if permissioned) and IT could control the PC through group policy and other mechanisms. This feature allows a middle ground between all or nothing access, allowing a user to work on the device of their choice and still have access to corporate resources. With Workplace Join, IT administrators now have the ability to offer finer-grained control to corporate resources. If a user registers their device, IT can grant some access while still enforcing some governance parameters on the device to ensure the security of corporate assets.
  • Work Folders – Work Folders allows a user to sync data to their device from their user folder located in the corporation’s data center. Files created locally will sync back to the file server in the corporate environment. This syncing is natively integrated into the file system. Note, this all happens outside the firewall client sync support. Previously, Windows 8 devices needed to be domain joined (or required domain credentials) for access to file shares. Syncing could be done with 3rd party folder replication apps. With Work Folders, Users can keep local copies of their work files on their devices, with automatic synchronization to your data center, and for access from other devices. IT can enforce Dynamic Access Control policies on the Work Folder Sync Share (including automated Rights Management) and require Workplace Join to be in place.
  • Open MDM- While many organizations have investments with System Center and will continue to leverage these investments we also know that many organizations want to manage certain classes of devices, like tablets and BYOD devices, as mobile devices. With Windows 8.1, you can use an OMA-DM API agent to allow management of Windows 8.1 devices with mobile device management products, like Mobile Iron or Air Watch .
  • NFC tap-to-pair printing – Tap your Windows 8.1 device against an NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print without hunting on your network for the correct printer. You also don’t need to buy new printers to take advantage of this; you can simply put an NFC tag on your existing printers to enable this functionality.
  • Wi-Fi Direct printing – Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and any Wi-Fi enabled printer.
  • Native Miracast wireless display – Present your work wirelessly with no connection cords or dongles needed; just pair with project to a Miracast-enabled projector through Bluetooth or NFC and Miracast will use Wi-Fi to let you project wire-free.
  •  Mobile Device Management – When a user enrolls their device, they are joining the device to the Windows Intune management service. They get access to the Company Portal which provides a consistent experience for access to their applications, data and to manage their own devices. This allows a deeper management experience with existing tools like Windows Intune. IT administrators now have more comprehensive policy management for Windows RT devices, and can manage Windows 8.1 PCs as mobile devices without having to deploy a full management client.
  • Web Application Proxy – The Web Application Proxy is a new role service in the Windows Server Remote Access role. It provides the ability to publish access to corporate resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as apply conditional access policies to verify both the user’s identity and the device they are using…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#Windows #Azure Active Directory steps out of the shadows

I’ve blogged about this release before with some info but here is another good article about how it can assist you in managing user authentication in the cloud.

Microsoft recently announced the general availability of Windows Azure Active Directory, a cloud-based service that lets admins manage multiple user identities and access. Although it’s been lurking in the background of other Microsoft products for some time — and still requires work to make it a fully useful tool — it’s a step in the right direction.

At its core, Windows Azure Active Directory is essentially a copy of Active Directory held in the cloud that provides basic authorization and authentication when users access cloud services. Ideally, admins use it to centralize the database of authorized users for cloud services, which then lets them authorize employees and contractors to work in certain applications. This allowance includes both Microsoft and third-party applications that accept authentication through common industry standards.

Through synchronization with an on-premises Active Directory deployment, you can also deploy single sign-on, so users don’t have to remember multiple passwords or enter them more than once to access cloud applications. More importantly, it provides a better way to remove access to cloud services for users who have left the company — a previous weak link in the cloud identity management story.

Windows Azure Active Directory: Not exactly new

True to Microsoft’s history of dogfooding its own products, Windows Azure Active Directory had been in use for nearly a year before its current general release. Few actually knew that all Office 365 accounts have been using a preview release of Windows Azure Active Directory for some time. Users of the general Windows Azure service, Dynamics CRM andWindows Intune also have their details stored in private Windows Azure Active Directory accounts.

According to Microsoft, since just after the beginning of the 2013 calendar year, “Windows Azure AD has processed over 65 billion authentication requests while maintaining 99.97% or better monthly availability.” Windows Azure Active Directory is a distributed service running across 14 of Microsoft’s data centers all over the globe.

User interface improvements

One improvement that happened between the preview release of Windows Azure Active Directory and the Web version release is the user interface, which was basically nonexistent before. Now you can access a clean section of the modern-looking Windows Azure control panel to create and manage instances of Windows Azure Active Directory (Figure 1).

Create and manage instances of Windows Azure Active Directory

You can add these instances to your Windows Azure subscription by logging into your Microsoft account, which…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

Latest Security Intelligence Report Shows 24 Percent of PCs are Unprotected

Interesting and scary facts from Microsoft… why not just add a simple cloud based solution like Webroot to your PC’s and Mac’s? Read more about Webroot that I think is a great product here from one of my earlier posts: 1st Test of Webroot SecureAnywhere – #Webroot, #SecureAnywhere, #BYOD

Today, Microsoft released new research as part of its Security Intelligence Report, volume 14, which takes a close look at the importance of running up-to-date antivirus software on your computer. The research showed that, on average, computers without antivirus software are 5.5 times more likely to be infected.

Antivirus software from Microsoft, McAfee, Symantec and others helps to guard against viruses, remove infections and protect your privacy. It can help protect your computer from malware trying to steal your credit card information, e-mail address book or even the files you’ve saved to your computer. It is one of the most crucial defenses computer users have to help protect against cybercriminals.

If you have been using computers as long as I have, long before almost every device was constantly connected to the Internet, you’ll recall the days when viruses were typically spread via sneaker-net, through infected floppy disks. Read more…

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