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Microsoft fortifies security and brings AI to the masses at Ignite 2018

Microsoft underscored the need for increased IT security this week and released an array of security programs and products at Ignite 2018. Among them are Microsoft Secure Score, a dynamic report card that assesses Microsoft 365 customer environments and makes recommendations that can reduce breaches up to thirtyfold, and Microsoft Authenticator, which helps make secure sign-on easier for workers with features like password-free login.
 
The company also advanced its commitment to democratize access to AI through a new $40 million, five-year humanitarian program called AI for Humanitarian Action. The project aims to harness the power of AI to help children, protect refugees and displaced people, and promote respect for human rights.
 
“In this era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, businesses in every industry are looking for a trusted partner to help them transform,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “We are pushing the bounds in AI, edge computing and IoT, while providing end-to-end security to empower every organization to build its own digital capability and thrive in this new era.”
Microsoft Secure Score, the only enterprise-class dynamic report card for cybersecurity, now includes EMS and Azure Security Center. By using Secure Score, organizations get assessments and recommendations that typically reduce their chance of a breach up to thirtyfold with steps like enforcing multi-factor authentication for both administrators and end users and ensuring trusted access to the right applications.
 
The Secure Score expansion also includes a broader set of controls from products like Microsoft Cloud App Security and Azure Active Directory to further harden defenses and help IT understand and improve their organization’s security position.
 
Microsoft is using the cloud to secure organizations broadly with new security features in its products that protect against a wide range of threats, secure the network and protect sensitive information. Microsoft announced an end to the era of passwords, delivering new support for passwordless login via the Microsoft Authenticator app for the hundreds of thousands of Azure AD connected apps that businesses use every day. Other announcements included:
  • The all-new SQL Server 2019, which creates a unified data platform with Apache Spark and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) packaged together with SQL Server as a single, integrated solution
  • An open data initiative together with Adobe and SAP
  • Expanding support for on-demand files for OneDrive on MAC
  • Azure Digital Twins, which allows users to create a comprehensive digital model of any physical environment (i.e. a model of people, places, and things as well as the relationships and processes that bind them)
  • Azure Blueprints and Azure Resource Graph which allow users to rapidly query complex details about their Azure resources 

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