08 November 2018

The new digital era starts with Microsoft Ignite 2018. Forget passwords

"We are pushing to the limits the AI (Artificial Intelligence), edge computing and IoT (Internet of Things), while providing end-to-end security to enable every organization to express its digital potential and thrive in this new era."

The words of Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, outline the guidelines for the most significant innovations anticipated at Microsoft Ignite 2018 (Microsoft Corp. annual IT event), a prelude to a new phase of the digital age we are already experiencing. What emerged at Microsoft Ignite 2018 guides us, in fact, towards the new digital era: beyond the limits of AI, edge computing and IoT under the banner of information security.

Many important issues addressed, summarized in the Book of News of 27 pages packaged by Microsoft for the occasion.

In this article we deal with some passages that do not simply represent an enhancement of existing tools and methods, but make real technological evolutions introducing us to a new "historical" phase.

 

In the foreground the theme of IT security, now essential in every production field. Microsoft presented a series of dedicated security programs and products, and confirmed the steps forward in the integration of AI technologies in the entire MSFT ecosystem.

In a context where the enhancement of information security has become a “must have” for companies, the challenge posed by Microsoft to the traditional concepts of protection stands out.

The invitation for the near future is to forget about passwords, or more precisely to forget the traditional concept of security related to the use of passwords.

 

How many times have we had to deal with problems related to password recovery, difficulty in accessing, violation of our private areas or loss of credentials?

The revolution starts here. Passwords are not a fully efficient tool so far. Many companies choose to induce their employees to use a two-factors method of authentication.

Every day, these companies invest valuable time and resources in preventing, defending and recovering from cyber attacks. Over the years, they have put a number of complex and disconnected tools into their security system, without achieving the desired results. This is because the sources and nature of attacks and attackers continue to evolve, and companies security systems struggle to keep up, also due to a lack of specific skills and methods.

Microsoft still raises the level of functionality and security: it replaces the password/second factor combination with a single touch on the phone, without compromising security.

Companies using Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) will now be able to use the Microsoft Authenticator app, which facilitates secure access to the workforce through an app, a user id and a fingerprint recorded by the phone, instead of a password (to access all personal and business applications).

Agic Technology (with Microsoft) offers new support for password-free login through the Microsoft Authenticator application for hundreds of thousands of Azure AD applications.

Speed, security and functionality at their highest levels.

 

The introduction of Microsoft Secure Score, a tool for dynamic evaluation of Microsoft 365 customer environments, will allow companies to reduce the risk of data breaches by up to thirty times.

The use of Microsoft Threat Protection, a complete end-to-end solution that provides protection against malware, will then allow the identification, blocking and resolution of cyber attacks. Microsoft Threat Protection leverages AI and human research to accelerate assessments and analysis for rapid threat elimination, saving thousands of hours of work.

With Azure Confidential Computing, which makes Azure the first cloud service to provide a secure platform for protecting the confidentiality and integrity of data in use, falls the last constraint for the inclusion of sensitive data in cloud workflows.

An investment in innovation that takes full advantage of the potential of AI and enables security levels that are impossible with traditional methods of protection. Microsoft has therefore focused on three directives: global security operations, customer-friendliness, enterprise-class technology and extensive IT security partnerships, in an increasingly heterogeneous environment.

Microsoft's enterprise-class security technology introduces a range of new security features into its products, and leverages the cloud to minimize risks and threats and ensure the security of its customers.

Another aspect of MS Ignite 2018 that we want to focus on is overcoming the traditional limitations of IoT and edge computing and, in particular, the possibility of general value by exploiting its potential.

Microsoft is committed to delivering powerful, cutting-edge, customer-driven IoT solutions that bring cloud intelligence to new scenarios and areas where connectivity is unreliable:

- Azure Digital Twins, which allows customers and partners to create a complete digital model of any physical environment, reproducing the complete picture of relationships and processes that connect people, places and devices. Azure Digital Twins, through the power of Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge, provides partners with the structure to build customized digital solutions, which remain updated with the physical world. Through advanced data analysis it will be possible to "understand" the past, and predict future states for areas such as: predictive maintenance, energy management, protection.

 

- Azure Sphere, the first integrated solution, developed to protect and power IoT devices to the limit of intelligence. Azure Sphere is designed to protect connected microcontrollers from silicon to cloud. Development kits will be universally available;

- Azure Data Box Edge, the latest product in the Azure Data Box family, is a physical network appliance that sends data in and out of Azure with AI-enabled onboard functionality. Azure Data Box Edge will allow customers to study, analyze, process and transform data before uploading it to the cloud.

For further information on other MS IGNITE 2018 issues we recommend the full version of the Book of News of the event.

 

(https://news.microsoft.com/uploads/prod/sites/507/2018/09/IGNITEBOOKOFNEWS-5ba90f5a37c54.pdf).

 

Danilo Stancato