Dell Technologies and Microsoft expand partnership with new VMware Solutions

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The cloud is enabling organizations of all types to innovate and move faster toward their business goals. It has enhanced productivity and security and opened up new opportunities for companies to tap into the potential of technologies like artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT). The cloud is helping businesses in every industry transform: Retail is becoming more personal, banking is becoming more seamless, and healthcare is becoming more predictive and preventive.

This digital revolution demands that technology vendors be open and flexible to help address a wider range of customer needs. Over the years, we’ve worked with partners to create solutions that are customer-centric and enable easier adoption of technology. Some great examples include our partnerships with SAP, RedHat, Adobe, Citrix, and more. These partnerships are enabling customers to take advantage of Microsoft cloud solutions with the tools and technologies that already exist in their environments. Today, we are excited to continue this trend by announcing an expanded partnership with Dell Technologies to provide customers with a native, supported, and certified VMware experience on Microsoft Azure. Additionally, we are welcoming VMware into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem to extend the management and security capabilities of Microsoft Intune, as well as extend the capabilities of Windows Virtual Desktop.

 Azure VMware Solutions

Azure VMware Solutions deliver a comprehensive VMware environment in Azure allowing customers to run native VMware-based workloads on Azure. Customers can now seamlessly run, manage, and secure applications across VMware environments and Microsoft Azure with a common operating framework. Customers will be able to capitalize on their existing VMware investments, skills and tools, including VMware vSphere, vSAN, NSX, and vCenter while leveraging the scale, performance and innovation of Azure.

Azure VMware Solutions enable customers to extend and redeploy their VMware workloads natively on Azure dedicated hardware without having to refactor their applications. This integration also enables organizations to tap into Azure’s massive scale, security, andVMWare logo fast provisioning cycles to innovate and modernize applications while improving performance. Some of the more common customer scenarios include datacenter reduction or expansions, disaster recovery and business continuity and modern application development.

VMware workloads on Azure can be easily modernized via integration with a broad range of Azure services such as Azure Active Directory, Azure AI and IoT enabling new, intelligent experiences. Customers can also take advantage of unmatched Azure pricing and benefits for Windows Server and SQL Server hosted on Azure VMware Solutions including Azure Hybrid Benefits and free Extended Security Updates.

Shifting to a modern workplace

As customers embark on their digital workplace journey, Microsoft 365 provides organizations with a complete, intelligent solution to empower employees to be creative and work together, securely.

We are excited to welcome VMWare Workspace ONE into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Customers will be able to use Workspace ONE to manage and secure the powerful productivity features of Office 365 across devices via integration with Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory Premium as part of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security suite. VMware Workspace ONE will be updated to integrate with APIs provided by Intune to deliver device status and health data to update the Azure Active Directory conditional access policy resolution status. Configuration of conditional access policies for Office 365 and Azure-based apps will continue to be done in the Azure Active Directory administration portal. This integration will provide additional technology choices for customers as they accelerate their digital transformation.

We also recently announced Windows Virtual Desktop, the only service that delivers a multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) desktops and apps. The excitement for the public preview has been incredible, and thousands of customers have already previewed the Windows Virtual Desktop experience. As a part of today’s agreement, VMWare will extend the capabilities of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop to enable customers to further accelerate their cloud initiatives. Initial capabilities are expected to be available as a tech preview by the end of calendar year 2019.

Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. And we’re committed to realizing this mission through technology innovations and strategic partnerships that unlock shared value.  This collaboration is a great example of our ongoing commitment to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

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From finance firms to factories — technology powers industry innovation

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Judson Althoff joins in the Redmond opening of the new Bank of America on Microsoft’s campus. The branch is testing new technologies powered by Microsoft Azure and AI.
Judson Althoff joins in the Redmond opening of the new Bank of America on Microsoft’s campus. The branch is testing new technologies powered by Microsoft Azure and AI.

Recently, I joined a ribbon-cutting at the new Bank of America location on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington. The financial center is a great example of co-innovation with our customers. It features some test technology only available at this location, like a holographic greeter, with capabilities in English, Spanish and American Sign Language. The bank’s associates are equipped with Surface Pros to help stay connected and deliver customer service.

Like Bank of America’s example, businesses around the world are transforming. Our customers across finance, health and manufacturing are partnering with Microsoft to power solutions across cloud, AI and IoT, including companies like Neiman Marcus, Albertsons Companies, TomTom, Goodyear, ExxonMobil, Schneider Electric, Telefónica, AT&T, Razer, Emirates, Daimler AG, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Electrolux, Airbus Defense and Space and Siemens Gamesa. We also announced new details about the Open Data Initiative, our partnership with Adobe and SAP that will enable mutual customers like Unilever, among others, to unify their business data across lines of business applications and unlock new AI-driven insights.

There are innovation stories behind each of the diverse brands with which we have partnered over the last quarter. What I find most inspiring are examples of how customers are using our IP to innovate faster than ever. Here are just a few examples:

A year ago, we announced a $5 billion investment in IoT. Fast forward to today, where customers like Starbucks, Chevron, Walmart, Walgreens, BMW, Volkswagen and Toyota Material Handling Group are leveraging Azure as their cloud platform with IoT and AI services to accelerate their digital transformation. In fact, IoT is creating a big impact in industries you encounter daily. For example, Ohio-based GOJO Industries, the inventor of PURELL Hand Sanitizer, is a growing digital innovator in public health. The company is using Azure IoT to power its PURELL SMARTLINK Technology solutions. It has about 25,000 connected dispensers that help more than a hundred healthcare facilities streamline hand hygiene compliance through motion sensors, Internet-connected dispensers and a cloud platform that collects and analyzes data.

Two GOJO Industries employees
GOJO Industries, inventor of PURELL Hand Sanitizer, helps hospitals monitor hand hygiene with secure IoT dispensers and hand hygiene data from a PURELL SMARTLINK Technology solution running on Azure IoT.

In the manufacturing sector, digital transformation from the top floor to the shop floor continues to reshape how customers and partners run their businesses. At Hannover Messe 2019, for instance, we partnered with BMW Group to launch the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) built on the Azure Industrial IoT cloud platform and designed to break down productivity-slowing data silos by creating an open technology framework and cross-industry community. The OMP’s goal is to significantly accelerate future industrial IoT developments, shorten time to value and drive production efficiencies while addressing common industrial challenges.

BMW Group factory
Microsoft’s Azure Industrial IoT cloud platform powers the partnership announced with BMW Group.

A long-standing challenge for manufacturers is how best to boost productivity while simplifying employee training and development. Commercial truck designer and manufacturer PACCAR shows digital solutions can be applied to manufacturing and across other industries as well. Thanks to its adoption of Dynamics 365 Guides and HoloLens 2 — our next generation  wearable holographic computer that enables businesses to take advantage of out-of-the-box applications — PACCAR employees can access step-by-step holographic instructions to guide them through unfamiliar tasks like assembling a truck door or follow lighted arrows from each instruction card to the precise hole where a wire needs to be threaded or to the location of the correct tool on the factory floor. Holographic drawings superimposed on the actual door demonstrate how to perform that task and brighten structures behind the steel panel that normally cannot be seen.

Worker using HoloLens 2 on assembly line
PACCAR is exploring Guides and HoloLens 2 to improve manufacturing productivity and employee onboarding. PACCAR employee Chelsey Potts works on a Kenworth truck assembly line.

Toyota Material Handling Group offers an additional manufacturing example. The company is the largest forklift maker in the world, but its customers require much more than warehouse trucks and equipment. By providing solutions with artificial intelligence, mixed reality and the IoT, Toyota Material Handling Group is helping customers meet the global rise in ecommerce, and move goods quickly, frequently, accurately and safely. With Microsoft technologies, the solutions range from connected forklift and field service systems available today to AI-powered concepts that pave the way for intelligent automation and logistics simulation – all designed with Toyota’s standards for optimizing efficiency, operation assistance and kaizen, or continuous improvement.

Toyota workers in factory
Toyota Material Handling Group innovates forklift, factory, service and logistics solutions with digital transformation, and Microsoft Azure AI, IoT and mixed reality.

Customers looking to accelerate the digital evolution of their business need partners who can collaborate, co-create and co-innovate with them. That was the impetus behind the February launch of the Accenture Microsoft Business Group, a venture created by Accenture and Microsoft, in conjunction with Avanade, that brings together more than 45,000 professionals — the world’s largest group of Microsoft solution experts — to advance organizations’ digital transformation agenda.

When it comes to collaboration and the modern workplace, Razer is a global phenomenon in a multibillion-dollar industry that boasts 2.3 billion customers worldwide. Razer has 15 offices and is recognized as the leading brand for gamers. Today, the company uses Microsoft 365, a complete, intelligent solution that supports creative teamwork, to achieve the same rapid communications, fast decision making and real-time collaboration required to win a game, while using these same attributes for a competitive advantage in the business world.

Razer employees using virtual teamwork
Virtual teamwork that happens regularly in the Teams collaboration environment inspires creative problem solving at Razer where stakeholders in product development weigh in on design issues, despite time zones and geographies.

In the airline industry, Virgin Atlantic wants employees to have the tools and information they need to make each travel step as smooth as possible. Using Microsoft PowerApps and Dynamics 365, Virgin Atlantic now has a better view of its customers and can quickly and easily develop apps that help its business and field workers excel at their jobs and create an enjoyable travel experience.

Two Virgin Atlantic workers in front of plane
Virgin Atlantic turns to Microsoft PowerApps to help increase customer satisfaction, boost employee engagement, and reduce costs.

Digital is also changing how public sector agencies help families and children. For example, New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) caseworkers are using Microsoft  365 security, Office apps, and Surface Pro devices running on Windows 10 to investigate more than 50,000 cases a year of suspected child abuse or neglect. That time-sensitive work used to involve hours of typing reports and multiple trips between families’ homes and the office to retrieve documents. Now, from anywhere in the field, they can instantly access critical resources and capture notes to focus on protecting and advocating for children and families.

New York City children's caseworker with a Surface Pro
New York City children’s services caseworkers are using Surface Pro devices enabled with LTE to help manage their digital files and notes securely. Shown here: Eric Blackwood, Child Protective Specialist.

No matter the industry sector or geography, digital continues to drive how companies and organizations are reimagining their business models — from how they generate new data and insights, to how they engage customers and enhance workplace experiences for employees. We look forward to extending our collaboration with our customers and partners as they unlock new capabilities and pursue new markets thanks to their digital transformation.

Microsoft acquires Express Logic, accelerating IoT development for billions of devices at scale

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IoT sensors are being infused into just about everything, from industrial equipment to consumer devices, and increasingly these devices are connecting to the cloud. By 2020, Gartner predicts there will be more than 20 billion connected devices*. In April 2018, we announced we’re investing $5 billion in IoT and the intelligent edge over the next four years. Since then, we’ve been making a number of investments from product innovation – including Azure Sphere, Azure Digital Twins, Azure IoT Edge, Azure Maps and Azure IoT Central – new partnerships with DJI, SAP, PTC, Qualcomm and Carnegie Mellon University for IoT and edge app development, and programs to help drive the next wave of innovation for our customers.

Express Logic logoToday, I am incredibly excited to share we have acquired Express Logic, a leader in real time operating systems (RTOS) for IoT and edge devices powered by microcontroller units (MCUs). Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS has over 6.2 billion deployments, making it one of the most deployed RTOS in the world per VDC Research. This widespread popularity is driven by demand for technology to support resource constrained environments, especially those that require safety and security. Manufacturers building products across a range of categories – from low capacity sensors like lightbulbs and temperature gauges to air conditioners, medical devices, and network appliances – leverage the size, safety and security benefits of Express Logic solutions to achieve faster time to market. Even highly constrained devices (battery powered and having less than 64KB of flash memory) can use Express Logic solutions. Over 9 billion of these MCU-powered devices are built and deployed globally every year, many of which can benefit from Express Logic solutions.

With this acquisition, we will unlock access to billions of new connected endpoints, grow the number of devices that can seamlessly connect to Azure and enable new intelligent capabilities. Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS joins Microsoft’s growing support for IoT devices and is complementary with Azure Sphere, our premier security offering in the microcontroller space. Our goal is to make Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS available as an option for real time processing requirements on an Azure Sphere device and also enable ThreadX-powered devices to connect to Azure IoT Edge devices when the IoT solution calls for edge computing capabilities. While we recommend Azure Sphere for customers’ most secured connections to the cloud, where Azure Sphere isn’t possible in highly constrained devices, we recommend Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS over other RTOS options in the industry because of its additional certifications and out-of-the-box connectivity to Azure IoT Hub.

As we’ve stated consistently in the past, our primary goal is to simplify IoT – from the cloud all the way down to the smallest MCU based devices. We do this by meeting our customers where they are with the right developer tools, software and intelligent cloud services to manage their solutions at scale. Express Logic’s technology and team will be an incredible addition to Microsoft in our quest to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions.

 

*Gartner, Inc., “Leading the IoT: Gartner Insights on how to Lead in a Connected World”, by Mark Hung https://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/books/iot/iotEbook_digital.pdf

Building for the future: Helping students become global innovators

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Every year, professionals from around the globe join us at Build, our premier developer conference, to learn about new technologies, gain hands-on experience, and level-up their development skills. It’s one of my favorite events, and this year, it’s getting even better as we extend these opportunities to students.

For the first time, Build attendees are invited to bring up to two family members aged 14-21 to participate with them—for free. We’ll also bring in local Seattle-area high school students to participate in some of these learning opportunities. The newly created Student Zone at Build is designed to provide an immersive educational experience for the students and attendees, with access to a Surface-equipped lab, on-site experts, a career center, workshops, tech talks and live co-coding opportunities. Naturally, there will be Minecraft—and so much more. Students can talk to cloud engineers, explore data with Azure Cognitive Services, learn about how to code on GitHub and use Visual Studio Code. There will be opportunities to learn more about AI and explore the most important technologies and skills developers of tomorrow will need.

Microsoft is committed to empowering the next generation of creators to pursue their dreams through access to technology, resources and learning opportunities. One way we encourage students to break boundaries and address real problems is through the Imagine Cup, which has seen students from around the world continually raise the innovation bar through teamwork. Now in its 17th year, the competition empowers tomorrow’s talent to use their creativity, passion and diverse perspectives to solve the world’s most pressing issues.

Momentum for the Imagine Cup continues to grow—more than 2 million students from 190 countries have competed in Imagine Cup since it started—and this year, I’m excited the World Championship will be held during Build. In fact, the Imagine Cup champion will be announced to kick off Day One of the event and will be immediately followed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote.

Returning host, Corey Sanders, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Solutions, is especially fitting for the Imagine Cup—he holds four patents and was the creator of the Infrastructure-as-a-service offering for Azure, so he’s deeply familiar with the innovation cycle on many dimensions. Last year’s MC, Kate Yeager, is also making a return appearance to call the action.

Corey SandersKate Yeager

To get to the World Championship, teams must win their highly competitive regional competitions, which are wrapping up soon. These finalists have developed truly life- and world-changing ideas, like last year’s winning concept, smartARM, a robotic hand that uses a camera embedded in the palm to recognize objects and calculate the most appropriate grip for the object.

This year’s champion will take home $100,000 USD, $50,000 USD in Azure credits, mentorship from the team at M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) and a mentoring session with Satya Nadella. A team of business and technology professionals will collectively decide the 2019 winning team, and you can watch the championship via live stream on the Build site on Monday, May 6 at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. If you are interested in attending Build and haven’t signed up, there is still time to register.

Judges include:

  • Amy Hood, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who leads Microsoft’s worldwide finance operations, including acquisitions, treasury activities, tax planning, accounting and reporting, and internal audit and investor relations.

Amy Hood

  • Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, who built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. Her firm is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBTQ.

Arlan Hamilton

  • Amjad Masad, CEO and founder of it, who has dedicated his career to making programming more accessible. A founding engineer of Codecademy, he helped build the platform that introduced tens of millions of people to coding. He later joined Facebook to lead the JavaScript Infrastructure team to build and maintain developer tools like React.js. With Repl.it, he’s focused on building collaborative developer tools that lower the barriers to entry for building and shipping software.

Amjad Masad

Each year, I’m more and more impressed by the solutions created by Imagine Cup students. And I’m thrilled that hundreds of students will be joining us at Build this year to form lifelong memories while exploring what could become a future career in tech. The future is in their hands, and I’m confident they’re up for the challenge!

One Year In: How our $5B investment in IoT and intelligent edge is accelerating customer, partner and solution innovation

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One year ago, we announced our commitment to invest $5B in IoT (Internet of Things) and intelligent edge – technology that is accelerating ubiquitous computing and bringing unparalleled opportunity for transformation across industries. Our commitment is to a build trusted, easy to use platform for our customers and partners to build solutions – no matter where they are starting in their IoT journey.

Our customers are embracing IoT as a core strategy to drive better business outcomes, improve safety and address social issues – from predicting and preventing equipment failures, optimizing smart buildings for space utilization and energy management and improving patient outcomes and worker safety. From the intelligent cloud to the intelligent edge, this year has been one of tremendous growth – in IoT technology portfolio, partner ecosystem and customer momentum – and we are only just beginning.

Accelerating customer innovation in IoT from cloud to edge across industries

What’s truly exciting is seeing our customers achieve real business outcomes with Azure IoT and intelligent edge-based solutions. Our IoT platform is powering customer solutions with thousands of devices, at scale, and the number of devices supported has grown nearly 150 percent year-over-year. This year, many customers such a Starbucks, Chevron, Walmart, Walgreens, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota Material Handling Group and more are leveraging Azure as their cloud platform with IoT and AI services to accelerate their digital transformation.

Starbucks is using Azure Sphere to connect select equipment, enabling its partners (employees) more opportunity to engage with customers. This includes everything from beverage consistency, waste reduction, the management of energy consumption and predictive maintenance.

With Azure and our IoT services, Chevron is connecting a critical piece of equipment – heat exchangers, which manage the heat from fluids flowing through it as part of the plant’s fuel processing – to do predictive maintenance and ultimately prevent unscheduled outages.

In Walmart’s technology center in Austin, Texas, which is designed accelerate digital innovation, the retail leader is embracing IoT as a way to save energy and prevent product loss. Walmart is using thousands of IoT sensors on HVAC and refrigeration systems that process a billion daily data messages from stores worldwide.

As part of Microsoft’s partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) to make health care delivery more personal, affordable and accessible for people around the world, WBA will use a portfolio of connected IoT devices for nonacute chronic care management, delivered by Microsoft’s cloud, AI and IoT technologies.

This week with BMW Group, we announced the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP), a new technology framework and open community to share smart factory solutions across the automotive and manufacturing sectors to significantly accelerate future industrial IoT developments.

This year Volkswagen announced a partnership with Microsoft to create the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud with Azure and Azure IoT Edge to create a seamless experience for drivers from the moment they enter, use and leave their vehicles. From 2020 onwards, more than 5 million new Volkswagen brand vehicles per year will be fully connected and will be part of the IoT cloud.

By infusing solutions with artificial intelligence, mixed reality and the IoT, Toyota Material Handling Group is providing solutions to customers meet the global rise in ecommerce, and move goods quickly, frequently, accurately and safely. With Microsoft technologies, the solutions range from connected forklift and field service systems available today to AI-powered concepts that pave the way for intelligent automation and logistics simulations – all designed with Toyota’s standards for optimizing efficiency, operation assisting and continuous improvement.

The stories continue to roll in.

New innovations in our IoT platform

In the last year, we launched more than 100 new services and features in our IoT platform, designed to make IoT solutions more secure and scalable, reduce complexity, make our platform more open and create opportunities in new market areas. Our core focus has been to address the industry challenge of securing connected devices at every layer, as well as advancing IoT to create a more seamless experience between the physical and digital worlds.

Simplifying IoT and securing IoT endpoints at scale

IoT is complex, requiring deep knowledge of cloud, security and devices, but the business benefits are significant. With Azure IoT Central, which became generally available this year, we have created a way for businesses to get started in IoT by quickly provisioning a solution in just a matter of hours and with built-in security features. With valuable data moving closer to the edge, IoT security demands a holistic approach. This year we introduced Azure Sphere, a world-class security solution for connected microcontroller devices (MCUs), which go in everything from smart-home and medical devices to equipment on the factory floor. Windows 10 IoT Core Services includes security and reliability updates for the operating system to keep device security up to date. Azure Security Center for IoT now includes support for Azure IoT services to proactively monitor IoT devices, enabling businesses to implement security best practices for detecting and mitigating threats.

Delivering spatial intelligence at scale

IoT is no longer just about connected endpoints. It’s the sum of the endpoints – the digital objects – that create a holistic solution. We see significant opportunity for our customers to use spatial intelligence to manage physical assets and spaces with digital models and mapping across smart spaces, cities and buildings. This fall, we introduced Azure Digital Twins to enable customers and partners to query data in the context of a space – rather than from disparate sensors – empowering them to build repeatable, scalable experiences that correlate data from digital sources and the physical world. Azure Maps provides developers from all industries powerful geospatial capabilities, and new MR services including Azure Spatial Anchors and Azure Remote Rendering enable customers to create precise points of interest in with mixed reality in physical space as well as enable interactive, high-quality 3D models.

Bringing AI to the edge

The proliferation of IoT devices and resulting massive amount of data requiring real-time intelligence are fueling the need to move compute and analytics closer to where the data resides. This year, we open sourced the Azure IoT Edge runtime, providing developers have even greater flexibility and control of their edge solutions, enabling them to modify the runtime and debug issues for applications at the edge. Over the past year, we added five new Azure Cognitive Services that can run locally on an edge device, and we’ve made it easier to deploy your own Azure Machine Learning models on Azure IoT Edge. We’ve also enabled high-speed inferencing at the edge with Azure Data Box Edge.

 Growing the Microsoft IoT partner ecosystem

We’re proud to have one of the largest and fastest-growing partner ecosystems with more than ten thousand IoT partners from intelligent edge to intelligent cloud. Partners are critical to our customers’ success in IoT, bringing rich domain expertise across industries so customers can see clear value to their business, as well as integration for critical apps and infrastructure to increase time to value.

This year, we announced more than 70 new partnerships in IoT, which help our customers build IoT solutions faster. At CES we announced our collaboration with Universal Electronics to launch a new digital assistant platform for the home built on Microsoft Azure using AI and IoT services. PTC announced ThingWorx Industrial Innovation Platform on Microsoft Azure to deliver a robust solution for Industrial IoT and digital product lifecycle management. At MWC, we announced new partnerships with SAP, and Cradlepoint. SAP Leonardo IoT will integrate with Azure IoT services providing our customers with the ability to contextualize and enrich their IoT data with SAP business data within SAP Leonardo IoT to drive new business outcomes. With Cradelpoint, we are helping customers bridge the IT/OT divide by providing secure private LTE networks connected directly to Azure IoT Central for OT customers to consume.

We’re also working with several device partners to accelerate development at the intelligent edge. With Qualcomm, we created an Azure IoT Starter Kit to enable developers vision AI solution and run their AI models on the device. With NXP, we announced the public preview for Windows 10 IoT Core with built-in Azure connectivity, to enable secure, power-optimized devices for the intelligent edge. We’re also partnering with NVIDIA and DJI to integrate third-party SDKs to simplify development and increase time to value of AI applications at the edge.

Looking ahead: Industry opportunity in IoT

We are one year into our four-year investment. Our priority over the next three years is clear: make it easy for any company to create scalable, secured IoT solutions. We partnered with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to better understand the trends and opportunity for the industry at large. Our findings, captured in the whitepaper here, indicate IoT is moving into broad adoption and yet, some of the greatest barriers to success are not just about technology – it’s also about business strategy and executive leadership. More than 60 percent of executives we surveyed indicated these to be bigger elements of success than technology. One in four executives we surveyed indicated that their companies’ IoT initiatives underperformed expectations. The findings highlight key ingredients for a successful IoT innovation project. You’ll continue to see more announcements from us and our partners and customers to help our customers and partners in their IoT journeys. You can read more about adoption of IoT across industries in the BCG whitepaper.

Visualizing the news: Introducing the winners of our data journalism grant program

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The dissemination of news and information has always been the machinery that powers our democracy. Our society relies on stalwart reporters and news organizations to pursue the truth and hold the powerful accountable, even as the industry faces daunting challenges from political retaliation to economic viability.

In support of these efforts, we are proud to announce the two recipients of the first phase of our grant program, in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ): Josh Landis of Nexus Media News (Washington, D.C.) and Verah Okeyo of The Nation (Kenya).Headshot of grantee winner Josh Landis.

An award-winning journalist, Landis is the founder and director of Nexus Media News, a nonprofit science, tech and environmental news service that has partnered with outlets such as Popular Science, Fast Company, Quartz, Huffington Post, PBS and National Geographic Voices to report on stories about our environment. The news service is part of Climate Nexus, which has been changing the conversation on climate change and clean energy “from an argument to a constructive search for solutions” since 2011. With the grant, Landis plans to use data visualization to show how climate is transforming residential and commercial real estate markets, and the possible impact that “climate gentrification” might have on communities in the coming years.

More than 7,000 miles away, Verah Okeyo works as a global health reporter at The Nation, the largest daily independent newspaper in Kenya and part of the Nation Media Group, which also operates in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. A 2012 graduate of Maseno University, Okeyo proposes to use demographic health surveys, studies and research to track Kenya’s child mortality since 1965. Rather than selecting a county or a set of circumstances from the outset, the investigation will follow a meaningful analysis of the available data and plans to showcase the findings across multiple mediums, including print, online and television.

Each candidate will receive $7,500 and hands-on data visualization training using Microsoft Power BI. To supplement their analytics and help ground their stories in fact, Landis and Okeyo will also conduct field investigations, going where the stories – and the numbers – take them.

Today we’re also kickstarting the second phase of the grant program, which focuses on immersive storytelling projects. Whether it is in-the-trenches livestreams with multi-language captions, augmented reality that allows real-life exploration or interactive visuals powered by numbers, immersive storytelling can communicate human experiences with great intimacy.

We’re honored to work side by side with newsrooms and journalists to help deliver impactful stories. We’re keenly aware that not every journalist has the same resources, which is why we work both on the individual and industry level. Our collaborations have run the gamut from our local KING5 broadcast station’s investigation into state vaccination rates to POLITICO Europe’s ambitious undertaking to educate the European electorate on how country-level politics shapes continental governance.

Supporting the goals of people like Landis and Okeyo to convey complicated stories in a way that speaks to audiences, reinforces our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We look forward to introducing you to more journalists who are doing the hard work of telling the story of their communities to the world.

Please visit ICFJ to learn more about the program and all their great work.

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Manufacturing a better future: Microsoft announces intelligent industry innovations

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It’s a time of great disruption but great opportunity in the manufacturing industry, as businesses seek to find novel ways to create new business value, empower and upskill their workforce, optimize their operations and innovate for a sustainable future. Advanced technologies like AI, mixed reality and automation are helping drive Industry 4.0, creating a future where “intelligent manufacturing” is a reality. Today, we are introducing updates that help bring this reality even closer for our customers and partners, to deliver increased security, productivity and efficiency, which will help them achieve new business outcomes.

As we head to Hanover, Germany, next week to join global leaders at the world’s biggest trade show for industrial technology, we are announcing several improvements to our trusted, innovative manufacturing solutions, including:

  • Azure is now the first major public cloud with end-to-end security for IoT for your devices, hubs and cloud resources. We are adding advanced threat protection for IoT to three key services: Azure Security Center for IoT can now be used to implement security best practices and mitigate threats across entire IoT projects including hubs, compute and data. Azure Sentinel, the first cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) offering, can now protect the entire enterprise from threats including those affecting IoT devices. Azure IOT Hub now integrates with Azure Security Center for IoT to provide IoT security information directly inside the hub portal experience.
  • The introduction of OPC Twin and OPC Vault in our Azure Industrial IoT Cloud Platform solution, which respectively provide manufacturers a digital twin of their OPC UA-enabled machines and significantly enhance security and certification management. We’re also announcing important enhancements to the Connected Factory solution accelerator, which now integrates with OPC Twin to greatly simplify the process of installing IoT Edge.
  • An expansion of Azure IP Advantage to IoT, which extends Azure IP Advantage benefits to Azure customers with IoT devices connected to Azure, and devices that are powered by Azure Sphere and Windows IoT. Additionally, qualified startups who join the LOT Network have the ability to acquire Microsoft patents through LOT for free.

You’ll find more details on the Azure IoT Platform updates in this blog from Sam George, and more information on Azure IP Advantage below. We will also share additional business updates including:

  • Intelligent innovations for industry: Onsite at Hannover Messe we will showcase our wide range of offerings for manufacturers including breakthroughs in AI experiences, mixed reality with HoloLens 2, business-ready solutions with Dynamics 365 and tools to close the skills gap with Microsoft 365.
  • Customers achieving business outcomes: We’re supporting leading manufacturers including Bühler, Electrolux, Siemens Gamesa and ZEISS as they accelerate their own innovations, as outlined below.
  • New partner solutions: We continue to grow the ecosystem of partners collaborating with Microsoft to help manufacturers succeed, with several announcing news this week.
  • The latest in our Future Computed book series: The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing explores the way manufacturers from across the world are embracing AI. It shares insights from our customers on the importance of creating the right company culture and talent pipeline to realize AI’s potential, and explores the role of public policy in addressing labor market disruption and fostering the ethical use of AI. We’ll preview the book’s key themes at Hannover Messe ahead of its release in May.
  • More than 25 innovative companies will join us in our Hannover Messe booth to showcase how we are working together to harness IoT, mixed reality, AI and other key technologies that revolutionize manufacturing.

Protecting and connecting the factory of the future

Today we are sharing details about a series of new product and program advancements for the manufacturing industry prior to Hannover Messe:

Azure IoT Security: The complexity and scale of the IoT and Industrial IoT (IIot) challenge is reinforced by leading market research firms estimating there will be over 20 billion installed end-point devices worldwide by 2020 — each of which pose a potential security risk. While some cloud providers address pieces of this puzzle, Azure is the world’s first cloud offering to deliver an end to end, unified approach to IoT security.

Garth Beaumount, CISO for Volpara Solutions and an early adopter of Azure Security Center for IoT said, “The Microsoft Azure IoT Security solution provides us with management and threat protection for the full stack, including IoT devices, IoT hubs as well as the computing and data resources utilized by our solutions. Effectively saving us from ‘rolling our own’ and aligning our IoT security neatly with our other Azure based solutions and line of business application usage.”

With Azure Security Center for IoT, customers can find missing security configurations across IOT devices, the edge and cloud. For example, they can check which ports are open on their IOT devices, confirm their SQL database is encrypted and act to remediate any issues. Azure Security Center for IoT protects from ever-evolving threats, drawing upon the vast threat intelligence information in the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, which analyzes six trillion signals per day. This means manufacturers can take advantage of a single view of security across all their Azure solutions — including Azure IoT solutions, from edge devices to applications — using hundreds of built-in security assessments in a central dashboard.

With Azure Sentinel, users can hunt for or respond to active threats spanning the entire enterprise from IOT devices to Azure to Office 365 and on-premise systems.

SecOps teams now have the right tools to reduce the surface attack of IoT solutions, remediate issues before they become serious, prevent attacks with machine learning and gain significant value from simplifying threat detection and security posture management for entire IoT deployments. Combining these new offerings with previously announced device security offerings such as Azure Sphere, customers will have access to IoT innovation with the confidence of end-to-end security that only Microsoft provides – spanning devices, the edge and cloud. You’ll find more information here.

 Connected Factory and Industrial IoT: In a connected factory, all machines communicate with each other, leveraging data, IoT and automation to monitor and control all aspects of production. We’ve enhanced our offering for these Industrial IoT scenarios by developing components that simplify and secure our customers’ digital operations. At our booth at Hannover Messe, we’ll be showcasing OPC Twin, which creates a digital twin for your OPC UA-enabled machines and makes the information model of that specific machine available in the cloud. Customers can control and manage their OPC Twins directly from the cloud by using microservices running on Azure. In addition, we’ll showcase our progress in security with OPC Vault. OPC Vault automates security management by creating, managing and revoking certificates for your OPC UA servers on a global scale. ​Both components provide simplicity and security for your industrial IoT solutions and are fully open source and available on GitHub.

We also understand the importance of simplicity and speed in getting started with a proof-of-concept for Industrial IoT scenarios. For that purpose, we continue to enhance the Connected Factory solution accelerator, which is designed to accelerate proof-of-concepts in Industrial IoT and additionally offers OEE data across customers’ factories via a centralized dashboard. Today, Connected Factory integrates with an OPC Twin dashboard and empowers manufacturers to streamline the process of getting started with Industrial IoT and generating insights from their digital operations.

Supporting business innovation

As businesses become more connected, security remains paramount to success. Microsoft is taking end-to-end security one step further for our customers to protect their data and intellectual property:

 Azure IP Advantage: The Microsoft Azure IP Advantage program now includes new benefits for Azure IoT innovators and startups. We first announced Azure IP Advantage in February, 2017, to provide comprehensive protection against intellectual property (IP) risks for our cloud customers. We are now expanding the program to customers who are innovating in IoT and at the edge to do predictive maintenance, manage digital and physical assets, and improve overall efficiency, safety and quality of products—all of which create massive volumes of data and unique business innovations. We’re responding to input from our manufacturing customers and delivering greater value to the Azure IP Advantage program, with new benefits focused on the Azure-powered IoT ecosystem and startups, including:

  • Uncapped indemnification coverage for Microsoft’s Azure Sphere and Windows IoT.
  • Access to 10,000 patents for customers using Azure to power IoT devices to defend themselves against IP lawsuits.
  • The ability for startups on Azure to acquire Microsoft patents for free.

In addition to the expanded program, we also joined the Open Invention Network and the LOT (license on transfer) Network last year to help address patent assertion risk for our customers and partners. Taken together, we believe Microsoft offers the most comprehensive, end-to-end framework for addressing IP risks in the cloud. More detail can be found in this Microsoft on the Issues blog.

Manufacturers building on Microsoft technologies

Customers are leveraging Microsoft technology in their manufacturing operations and seeing real business results. Recent examples include:

  • Bühler, one of the world’s largest providers of food processing solutions, is leveraging Microsoft blockchain technology to improve global food safety standards and reduce food poisoning rates, while increasing production efficiencies.
  • Electrolux, the Swedish home appliance manufacturer, launched a new Azure IoT smart connected air purifier and app in a matter of weeks with minimal R&D time. The Pure A9 removes ultra-fine dust particles, pollutants, bacteria, allergens and bad odors from indoor rooms.
  • Siemens Gamesa, the leader in renewable energy, is streamlining and automating how technicians inspect and maintain industrial wind turbines by migrating its autonomous drone-digital process to Microsoft Azure and infusing it with Azure AI. Integrating Azure AI services will greatly expedite the process, with image recognition reduced to 34 seconds, as opposed to 4 to 6 hours using the manual method, which also was prone to errors.
  • ZEISS teamed up with Microsoft to present a spectroscopy measurement and data sharing solution that connects the compact all-round spectrometer ZEISS Corona process with Microsoft Azure. By uploading production data from spectroscopic analysis to the cloud, clients get invaluable insights about their products and production – whenever and wherever they need it. The solution can be implemented in food production processes to monitor important quality indicators (e.g. fat, moisture, salt content) directly in the production line. This enables production managers to react immediately to process variations and helps to increase quality and productivity, while using raw materials and energy in a more efficient way at the same time.

Partners highlight new offerings

Several of our partners showcasing their solutions at the Microsoft Hannover Messe booth will make news about their latest innovations, including:

  • Intel is working with Microsoft on a new modern industrial PC reference design for factories and industrial applications. Using the reference design, which will be available later this year, device partners can build fully provisioned and customized industrial PCs that can be connected to a range of devices to discover, manage and analyze data in real time, using AI on the machine or in the Azure cloud.
  • JDA, a leading global supply chain company, will be showcasing its new Azure-based Luminate solution, which serves as an end-to-end crisis control center allowing companies to see, interpret, and act on real-time information from the entire supply chain and extended third-party digital ecosystem.

Empowering an intelligent manufacturing firstline

From the front office to supply chain to the factory floor, Microsoft solutions can help improve manufacturing operations by streamlining daily work, driving greater efficiency, safety and productivity as well as helping enhance employee performance. For example:

  • Microsoft 365 is equipping organizations, including Firstline Workers on the factory floor with the skills and tools they need to keep up with digital manufacturing in a secure environment. Microsoft Teams is transforming how today’s manufacturing workforce collaborates and communicates securely. Learn more how Microsoft 365 is being used in manufacturing here.
  • Customers have a growing need to move cloud computing closer to the edge. Azure Data Box Edge helps meet this need as a powerful, AI-enabled edge appliance that sits within a customer’s own environment – in their data center or on a factory floor – right alongside their existing hardware. It brings Azure computing power to where data originates, eliminating any network latency.
  • With mixed reality applications Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Layout, companies are using Microsoft HoloLens and HoloLens 2 to dramatically boost productivity, compliance and safety. You’ll find more information about a broad range of Dynamics 365 innovations in manufacturing here.
  • Available later this year, the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides for HoloLens and HoloLens 2 will empower employees to learn by doing, with step-by-step instructions guiding them to the tools, parts and institutional knowledge they need in real work scenarios.
  • Delivering a unified approach to financial and business operations across manufacturing, supply chain, distribution and retail is made easier by Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.
  • Intelligent, connected field service through Dynamics 365 Connected Field Service can help manufacturers quickly detect and resolve issues, leveraging connected devices and machine learning and in the process, driving efficiency and reducing costs.

The future of manufacturing is all about applying new levels of intelligence across all aspects of operations, with disruption triggered by AI, mixed reality and IoT, redefining the value chain from engineering design to customer engagements to supply chains. We look forward to meeting with you next week to discuss how we’re empowering intelligent manufacturing around the world. Until then, please visit Microsoft at Hannover Messe 2019 for additional details about what’s planned, how to engage our team and where to find our booth in Hall 7, Stand C40.

The post Manufacturing a better future: Microsoft announces intelligent industry innovations appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Meeting entrepreneurs on their terms: Why we don’t require any “special rights”

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

Last week in Seattle, leading innovators, entrepreneurs and business minds came together to discuss best practices for startup funding and operations at M12’s inaugural summit. It was humbling to see almost 80 companies in our portfolio gathered from around the world, and to reflect on the progress we’ve made since we started the fund nearly three years ago. Our team has grown to more than 20 people supporting portfolio companies across 11 countries and 38 cities, seen four exits, and created new channels to ensure capital is reaching startups, such as our competitions to find female founded and led businesses and entrepreneurs innovating with AI.

In the days and weeks leading up to the summit, one thing I am particularly proud of is our pulse on the startup community, the relationships we’ve built there and our unwavering focus on doing what’s right for the entrepreneur. We’ve learned some important lessons, including one of the most egregious contributors to the poor reputation of corporate venture capitalists (CVCs) – terms and conditions like “Rights-of-first” (ROF), which we believe favor the corporation and restrict the startup.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. ROF terms restrict that for entrepreneurs. Simply put, ROF terms limit an entrepreneur’s ability to maximize their exit valuation. Stifling those options can be detrimental to a startup’s growth and consequential to the return profile of founders and all the investors. That’s why at M12, we believe ROF and similar terms are neither necessary nor valuable.

While we’ve always believed this, we weren’t following through in practice when other CVCs utilized these rights in companies we invested in, leading us to ask for the same during the first year our fund operated. And while we’ve never asked for these terms if the other investors didn’t have the same, in retrospect, we should have never asked at all. Since then, we’ve stopped asking for any special rights regardless of what other strategic investors held in the company and we’ve started actively educating entrepreneurs to resist these terms and try to remove them if they already exist.

We firmly believe that being fully aligned with founders is the only way to drive value to all stakeholders, including M12 and Microsoft. So, we want to go one step further. Instead of simply thinking, “What’s best for us,” we want to encourage the CVC community to start thinking “What’s best for all,” starting with adopting similar rules of engagement M12 currently employs to benefit the entire startup ecosystem:

  • M12 will not require any ROF term as part of its investment. Ever. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business.
  • As part of our due diligence, M12 will evaluate the business upside not only for our fund, but also whether we can meaningfully help you.
  • If M12 chooses to invest, we’re with you for the long term, for your company’s lifecycle. That may mean different things at different times, but we won’t be driven by artificial milestones or deadlines.
  • If M12 chooses not to invest, we will explain why. We will also try our best to suggest other ways you can gain funding or other resources to grow your business.

It’s time to reinvent what it means to be a CVC and live up to what makes us an attractive investment partner to begin with – empowering entrepreneurs through investments, insight, and unparalleled access to Microsoft. The next time a founder asks me if we are a strategic investor, I want to be able to say, “It shouldn’t matter because we’re all aligned in fostering your success.”

To learn more about M12, visit its website.

The post Meeting entrepreneurs on their terms: Why we don’t require any “special rights” appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

New Microsoft 365 and business applications technologies enable government to modernize for the mission

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

Our government agencies have a unique opportunity to deliver massive impact on the lives of U.S. citizens – an impact that can be accelerated and emboldened by technology innovation. However, these same agencies are challenged to modernize and keep pace with the changing technology landscape, while simultaneously reducing costs, protecting data and meeting stringent compliance regulations. To ensure the government can achieve its critical, mission-driven work, and improve citizen services, hundreds of CIOs and top decision-makers from federal, state and local government agencies are turning to secure cloud infrastructure, which can seamlessly enable operations efficiencies, and provide services that are faster, more reliable and more secure.

Government is taking a Cloud Smart approach

Right now, we’re seeing the evolution across U.S. government from a Cloud First approach – with an emphasis on just getting everything in the cloud – to a Cloud Smart approach – with a focus on embracing modern capabilities and equipping agencies with the technology tools needed in accordance with their mission needs. The recently revised Federal Cloud Computing Strategy is the first cloud policy update in seven years. We believe it constitutes more than labelling and is the right way forward to make the most of the incredible possibilities of cloud in advancing agencies’ missions. In recent years, commercial technology has increasingly found a foothold in the government market and Cloud Smart embraces best practices from both the federal government and the private sector. Cloud Smart is about equipping agencies with the tools, knowledge and flexibilities they need to not only move to cloud, but to fully embrace the potential of its many value-added capabilities such as Platform-as-a Service (PaaS) and Artificial Intelligence.

Securely enabling the mission end to end

All government cloud offerings are not the same, and Microsoft is committed to supporting the needs of government across all branches and levels enabling them with capabilities that support the advancement of their mission from end to end. We’ve built the most trusted, comprehensive cloud for government which includes Azure Government, Microsoft 365 Government, and Dynamics 365 Government.

Government organizations across the United States increasingly are turning to our powerful cloud offerings to modernize – becoming more productive, collaborative and efficient all while protecting sensitive data and privacy. Microsoft is delivering them the right capabilities where they are needed, when they are needed as the sole provider with offerings that span infrastructure, platform and software capabilities and services (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) designed to meet government’s unique compliance needs.

To make it easier for agencies to efficiently modernize quickly and accelerate the speed in which they achieve a return on their cloud investments, Microsoft has worked with our government customers to achieve the most certifications of any cloud provider with more than 91 compliance certifications supported at every level of government to help them achieve their necessary requirements. We also invest $1 billion dollars per year on security and much of that goes to ensuring we deliver our customers the most trusted cloud platform.

Today, we’re announcing several advances across our landscape of comprehensive government cloud solutions, demonstrating our commitment to the unique needs of our customers and further differentiating our offerings:

Microsoft Teams is now available across all government cloud environments

Since launching Microsoft 365 Government last year, we’ve continually made investments to empower government with the newest tools for mobile productivity and secure collaboration, bringing together the best of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), and Windows 10 to meet agencies’ complex compliance and security requirements.

Today, we’re announcing Microsoft Teams, a product core to our vision for delivering intelligent and modern collaboration and communications, is now available in our Government Community Cloud (GCC) High and Department of Defense (DoD) environments exclusively for the U.S. government and its partners. This means Teams is now available across all our government cloud environments including GCC.

Microsoft Teams’ chat-based workspace enables teams of government professionals to be more productive by giving them a single and secure location that brings together everything they need including chats, meetings, calls, files, and tools. Integrated access through this hub for teamwork across multiple Office 365 services enables agencies to leverage their current investments and improves collaboration by providing central file sharing, co-authoring and many more functions making it possible for government customers to better deliver against their mission.

Introducing Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement for Government

Today we’re also announcing the availability of both Microsoft Power Platform (March 2019) and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (April 2019) for government professionals. These two new products will enable government to unlock new capabilities and features in three core areas: new business applications; new intelligent capabilities infused throughout; and transformational new application platform capabilities.

Once agencies have the infrastructure for harnessing data, they also need a layer atop that data that enables them to get insights easily. Microsoft Power Platform for Government is a system that will allow them to take three key actions on data: analyze, act, and automate. The system uses Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow working together to help anyone, regardless of technical ability, to make data-driven decisions. Joining Power BI, PowerApps and Flow standalone apps are now generally available for government agencies and their partners in GCC. PowerApps and Flow general availability will also land in Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 and Office 365 in spring 2019.

We are also offering Dynamics 365 Government Customer Engagement for GCC High. This means agencies can now access customer service, contact centers, correspondence management, grants management, task management, mission planning and even more purpose-built cloud applications than they were able to previously.

New Microsoft 365 Government security and mobile enhancements

Recently we introduced Outlook Mobile for our GCC High and DoD customers. This update means the architecture of Outlook mobile now meets the security and compliance needs of Office 365 U.S. GCC High and DoD customers. Now government employees have advanced capabilities across email, search, and calendar from their mobile devices, so they can focus on what’s important and get more done for their citizens.

Coming soon, government agencies using Office 365 Threat Intelligence in GCC will gain new capabilities that automate investigation and remediation of cyber threats  to help them reduce the burden on their IT security teams and decrease response times. This is the latest addition to comprehensive set of Microsoft 365 Government tools designed to help government protect, detect and respond to cyberattacks.

Continuing our investments in government innovation, security and compliance

Microsoft is helping customers across the full spectrum of government, from the state and local level, to every military branch and all federal cabinet departments. We currently serve nearly 10 million U.S. government cloud professionals across more than 7,000 government entities diligently meeting their unique needs by deliver the highest levels of security and compliance.

Microsoft enables the digital transformation of government by offering effective, modern, enterprise-class cloud capabilities. Our government customers are driven by critical missions, and we are committed to helping them evolve their IT modernization efforts with innovative and trusted cloud, productivity and mobility solutions. As government agencies face a range of new challenges in meeting their missions, we are committed to enabling them to work smarter, with agility and confidence – using technology that can unlock the opportunities ahead. Learn more about how government agencies are using Microsoft cloud technology here.

 

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Announcing new cloud-based technology to empower cyber defenders

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

Cybersecurity is about people. The frontline defenders who stand between the promise of digital transformation and the daily reality of cyber-attacks need our help. At Microsoft, we’ve made it our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. Today that mission is focused on defenders. We are unveiling two new cloud-based technologies in Microsoft Azure Sentinel and Microsoft Threat Experts that empower security operations teams by reducing the noise, false alarms, time consuming tasks and complexity that are weighing them down. Let me start by sharing some insight into the modern defender experience.

Every day Microsoft security professionals help organizations respond to threats at scale and through targeted incident response. In one recent example from the latest Security Intelligence Report, Microsoft experts were called in to help several financial services organizations deal with attacks launched by a state-sponsored group that had gained administrative access and executed fraudulent transactions, transferring large sums of cash into foreign bank accounts. When the attack group realized they had been detected, they rapidly deployed destructive malware that crippled the customers’ operations for several days. Microsoft experts were on site within hours, working around the clock with the customers’ security teams to restore normal business operations.

Incidents like this are a reminder that many defenders are overwhelmed by threats and alerts – often spending their days chasing down false alarms instead of investigating and solving complex cases. Compounding the problem is a critical shortage of skilled cyber defenders, with an estimated shortfall of 3.5 million security professionals by 2021. With today’s announcements we are unlocking the power of the cloud and AI for security to do what they do best—reason over vast amounts of security signal, spot anomalies and bring global scale to highly trained security professionals.


Too many enterprises still rely on traditional Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools that are unable to keep pace with the needs of defenders, volume of data or the agility of adversaries. The cloud enables a new class of intelligent security technologies that reduce complexity and integrate with the platforms and productivity tools you depend on. Today we are pleased to announce Microsoft Azure Sentinel, the first native SIEM within a major cloud platform. Azure Sentinel enables you to protect your entire organization by letting you see and stop threats before they cause harm. With AI on your side it helps reduce noise drastically—we have seen an overall reduction of up to 90 percent in alert fatigue with early adopters. Because it’s built on Azure you can take advantage of nearly limitless cloud speed and scale and invest your time in security and not servers. In just a few clicks you can bring in your Microsoft Office 365 data for free and combine it with your other security data for analysis.

Azure Sentinel is the product of Microsoft’s close partnership with customers on their journey to digital transformation. We worked hand in hand with dozens of customers and partners to rearchitect a modern security tool built from the ground up to help defenders do what they do best – solve complex security problems. Early adopters are finding that Azure Sentinel reduces threat hunting from hours to seconds.

Corey McGarry, Senior Technical Specialist, Enterprise Operations, Tolko Industries, Ltd., told me, “After using Microsoft Azure Sentinel for six months, it has become a go-to resource every morning. We get a clear visual of what’s happening across our network without having to check all our systems and dashboards individually. I haven’t seen an offering like Microsoft Azure Sentinel from any other company.”

Azure Sentinel supports open standards such as Common Event Format (CEF) and broad partner connections, including Microsoft Intelligent Security Association partners such as Check Point, Cisco, F5, Fortinet, Palo Alto and Symantec, as well as broader ecosystem partners such as ServiceNow. You can even bring your own insights and collaborate with a diverse community of defenders. Azure Sentinel blends the insights of Microsoft experts and AI with the unique insights and skills of your own in-house defenders and machine learning tools to uncover the most sophisticated attacks before they take root. Azure Sentinel helps empower SecOps teams to keep their organizations safe by harnessing the power, simplicity and extensibility of Azure to analyze data from Microsoft 365 and security solutions from other vendors. Azure Sentinel is available in preview today from the Azure portal.

screenshot of Azure Sentinel overview page with bar graph, map and other sample data


Our approach to security is not only about applying the cloud and AI to your scale challenges, but also making the security operations experts who defend our cloud available to you. Therefore, we are pleased to announce Microsoft Threat Experts, a new service within Windows Defender ATP which provides managed hunting to extend the capability of your security operations center team. Through this service, Microsoft will proactively hunt over your anonymized security data for the most important threats, such as human adversary intrusions, hands-on-keyboard attacks, and advanced attacks like cyberespionage—helping your team prioritize the most important risks and respond quickly. The service also provides world-class expertise on demand. With the new “Ask a Threat Expert” button, your security operations team can submit questions directly in the product console. To join the public preview of Microsoft Threat Experts, apply in the Windows Defender ATP settings.

There are no easy answers or silver bullets for security, however the cloud is unlocking new capabilities. This is why we are putting the cloud and AI to work to extend and empower the defenders whose unique human insights are key to avoiding cyber threats. Azure Sentinel and Microsoft Threat Experts are two new capabilities that join our broad portfolio of security solutions across identity, endpoints, data, cloud applications and infrastructure. We look forward to showcasing Azure Sentinel and Microsoft Threat Experts at the RSA Conference next week and encourage you to stop by the Microsoft booth on the main show floor or any of our compelling sessions to learn more.

The post Announcing new cloud-based technology to empower cyber defenders appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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