At its annual Microsoft Ignite conference yesterday, Microsoft Corp. announced new products and services spanning security, productivity, intelligence and the cloud that will make it easier for IT professionals to drive digital transformation throughout their organisations.
Yesterday’s announcements address some of the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing technology professionals, such as security amid an increasingly complex and dynamic threat landscape, and the need to balance end-user preferences with technology investments that scale and deliver value.
Security enhancements across Microsoft’s products, including Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, offer powerful protection against security threats.
- Windows Defender Application Guard, coming next year to Windows 10 Enterprise customers and soon to Windows Insiders, makes Microsoft Edge the most secure browser for the enterprise. It is powered by virtualization-based security technology and uses isolated containers built directlyinto the hardware to prevent malicious code from moving across employee devices and the corporate network.
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) and Office 365 ATP now share intelligence mutually across both services, helping IT pros to investigate and respond to security threats across Windows 10 and Office 365 more quickly and efficiently.
- Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection will be extended to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Other enhancements include dynamic delivery, which enables users to receive email immediately with a placeholder attachment while the actual attachment undergoes scanning, and URL detonation, which analyzes links in real time to identify unknown malicious URLs.
- Office 365 Threat Intelligence provides alerts and information on the origination of specific attacks, integrates with existing security incident event management (SIEM) systems, and enables customers to deploy dynamic policies based on the nature of the threat.
- Outlook for iOS and Android is now fully powered by the Microsoft Cloud for Office 365 commercial users, supporting Exchange Online mailboxes natively so that no mailbox data is cached outside Office 365.
- Enterprise Mobility + Security E5, a new offer that expands security to help the transition to mobility and cloud, will be available starting Oct. 1, 2016. The suite includes the new Microsoft Azure Information Protection service to help organizations classify, label and protect sensitive data.
- Also available Oct. 1, 2016,is the Secure Productive Enterprise, which offers the latest and most advanced security and productivity capabilities across Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security.
New AI capabilities that span agents, applications, services and infrastructure transform what’s possible for people and organizations.
- Microsoft will preview newskills for its personal assistant and AI agent Cortana, including health insights and reminders.
- Office 365 is getting new cloud-powered intelligent capabilities,including the following:
o Tap in Word and Outlook, which uses the Microsoft Graph to make it easier to incorporate content from existing documents within your organization into your own documents and emails.
o Quickstarter for PowerPoint and Sway provides curated outlines for any topic, including text and images, that can be used as a starting point to build presentations.
o Maps, a new chart type in Excel powered by Bing Maps, transforms geographic data into high-fidelity visualizations.
- Microsoft MyAnalytics (formerly Delve Analytics) is a personal analytics service in Office 365 that helps people understand how they spend time at work. New capabilities provide team members and leaders with insights to help find better ways of working together.
- Relationship Assistant, included in the soon-to-be-released Dynamics 365 for Sales, makes customer engagement more intelligent than ever before on any device.
- Microsoft customers will be showcased for how they are using Cortana Intelligence to innovate in their industries — Lowe’s to deliver a digitally enhanced kitchen remodel experience; and Dymaxia Inc. to make healthcare more efficient and accessible. Uber announced it is using Microsoft Cognitive Services for its real-time ID check security feature to improve rider and driver security.
- Microsoft has deployed a new AI-enabled virtual agent across all of its U.S. support centers to improve customer experience.
- The company also announced that it has signed a global, multiyear agreement with Renault-Nissan Alliance to advance connected driving experiences worldwide. The companies will work together to develop next-generation mobility services for cars powered by Microsoft Azure that will improve customer experiences including personalization, advanced navigation, predictive services, remote monitoring of car features, external mobile experiences and over-the-air updates. Renault-Nissan selected Azure because of its enterprise-grade security and Microsoft’s commitment to compliance.
Building on the industry’s richest hybrid cloud portfolio, the release of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 helps transform customers’ infrastructure to support future-ready cloud applications, while advances in the Microsoft cloud infrastructure provide a path toward an AI supercomputer in the cloud.
- Windows Server 2016 will be generally available in October, giving IT professionals new layers of security and Azure-inspired innovation for infrastructure and cloud applications. Microsoft and Docker Inc. are extending their partnership to make the Commercially Supported Docker Engine available to Windows Server 2016 customers at no additional cost. System Center 2016 will also be generally available in October, offering a simplified management solution across the datacenter and the cloud for Windows Server 2016 software-defined datacenter features.
- New Azure monitoring abilities, combined with Operations Management Suite updates,help IT manage cloud and on-premises assets from one place.
- The next technical preview of Azure Stack brings Azure technology to customers’ datacenters, furthering Microsoft’s unique hybrid differentiation.
- Microsoft is also advancing a vision of what’s possible with intelligence and machine learning using the world’s largest deployment of custom developed field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), spanning 15 countries and five continents. These FPGAs could be used to accelerate AI to near real time, making Azure the foundation for the world’s first AI supercomputer.
Empowering IT pros
New free training and educational resources will help ensure that IT professionals have the know-how and expertise to help companies complete their digital transformation.
- The Microsoft Technical Community is a new online community that brings together IT professionals, MVPs and Microsoft subject-matter experts to exchange ideas, build connections and share best practices about Microsoft products and solutions.
- The Microsoft IT Pro Career Centerand Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials are now available in 25 languages and 40 markets globally. The Career Center provides free expert advice on cloud career paths, skills and curriculum by cloud role, while IT Pro Cloud Essentials provides a free annual subscription to cloud services, priority support and certification.