Ignite 2019: Microsoft announces updates and new solutions

Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts on 04 November 2019
Ignite 2019: Microsoft announces updates and new solutions

Microsoft has announced a number of updates and new solutions on day one of this year’s Ignite event to enable partners and customers to make the most of their investments, the Microsoft Azure cloud and enterprise technology. 

One of the announcements was Azure Synapse Analytics, a service that brings together enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics. The next evolution of Azure SQL Data Warehouse aims to give users the freedom to query data from serverless on-demand or provisioned resources at scale. Businesses can continue running their existing data warehouse workloads in production today with generally available features on Azure Synapse.

Microsoft announced further enhancements to the Azure ecosystem with the new Azure Arc. The set of technologies, which is available to preview from today, will help customers unlock new hybrid cloud scenarios by bringing Azure services and management to any infrastructure. 

Today’s event also provided a platform to showcase the latest updates to the Power Platform that unlock new possibilities. As part of this, robotic process automation has been added to Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) to deliver end-to-end automation from artificial intelligence (AI) to application programming interfaces and user interfaces on the platform. The platform’s Power Virtual Agents aim to simplify bot creation with a no-code approach and Microsoft has added a range of new security enhancements for Power BI.  

Enhanced security is a running theme in the firm’s latest updates. According to Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365, the highlights include:
New connectors in Azure Sentinel to help security analysts collect data from a variety of sources, including Zscaler, Barracuda, and Citrix
A new insider risk management solution in Microsoft 365 which uses Microsoft Graph to identify and remediate threats from within an organisation
Microsoft Authenticator’s availability as part of the Azure Active Directory free plan 
Extending the endpoint detection and response capability in Microsoft Defender ATP to include MacOS
New Azure Security Center capabilities which can find misconfigurations and threats for containers and SQL in infrastructure as a service, as well as vulnerability assessment for virtual machines
Microsoft Compliance Score which simplifies regulatory complexity and reduces risk by mapping Microsoft 365 configuration settings to common regulations and standards for continuous monitoring 
Application Guard for Office which is now in preview to provide hardware-level and container-based protection against potentially malicious Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. 
Azure Firewall Manager which enables customers to manage multiple firewall instances from a single pane of glass

Microsoft has also made changes to the Edge web browser and search engine Bing to better suit the needs of its enterprise customers. 

“We will unite the internet with your intranet in Microsoft Search in Bing so that you can increasingly access more of your important data in a single browse and search experience,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of modern life, search and devices at Microsoft. “We will provide you with powerful default privacy protection, while still allowing you to benefit from web personalisation. And we will enable you to move from great web research directly into Microsoft Office applications to enable you to be more productive.”

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