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Microsoft upgrades Azure cloud security to fight cyber thieves and data saboteurs

Promises anti-malware and disaster recovery services at Teched 2014
Tue May 13 2014, 10:15

HOUSTON: MICROSOFT has announced a number of security enhancements for its Azure cloud operations, including anti-malware and disaster recovery services.

Microsoft introduced the services in the opening keynote of its Teched 2014 conference. The anti-malware programme is available to preview now and offers Azure users the ability to install security software from Symantec and Trend Micro in their Azure environments.

Microsoft corporate VP Brad Anderson said the security offering will let businesses protect their critical systems and assets from a variety of cyber attacks.

"Today we're announcing something new, we're introducing anti-malware into Azure. With our Trend Micro and Symantec partners' additional security features, these new capabilities can protect your virtual machines and apps," he said.

Azure Site Recovery is a hybrid set of business continuity services designed to add an extra layer of protection to businesses' critical systems that builds on Microsoft's previous Hyper-V Recovery Manager. The Site Recovery feature lets customers replicate their virtual machines and services in the Azure cloud, enabling them to continue to operate and function even if their primary data centre fails.

Microsoft TechEd 2014 keynote

Anderson said the Azure Site Recovery service's cost-effective nature will let enterprise companies back up and protect all of their systems.

"With this [Azure Site Recovery] you can have a complete disaster recovery solution within Azure, he said. "Traditionally the cost of recovery means its been limited to mission critical areas, but now disaster recovery can be for every part of your company."

Microsoft senior technical product marketing manager Matt McSpirit added that the service will encrypt all data stored in Azure, offering IT managers an added layer of assurance their systems will be secure against cyber attacks in the cloud. Azure Site Recovery is set to be made available in preview next month.

Microsoft's Azure Site Recovery service is part of Microsoft's wider push to market Azure as a hybrid service to enterprise businesses. Microsoft announced its Azure Expressroute and Azure Remoteapp services alongside the security updates.

Expressroute is available now and is designed to improve information sharing and lets customers create private connections between Azure and on-premises environments using key network providers such as AT&T, BT, Equinix, Level 3, Singtel, Telecitygroup, Verizon and Zadara Storage.

Azure Remoteapp makes it easier for businesses to deploy Windows applications across a limited number of other operating systems using Azure. "Azure Remoteapp lets users upload applications [to the cloud] and bring them to all their devices across Windows, iOS and Android," explained Anderson. Microsoft Azure Remoteapp is available to preview now.

The Azure security updates come during a reported boom in the number of attacks targeting Microsoft services. Over the past months vulnerabilities believed to have been actively exploited by hackers have been discovered in several Microsoft services, including its Sharepoint server.

Microsoft was forced to release an emergency security patch for Windows XP mere weeks after discontinuing support for the decade-old OS after a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer was discovered at the start of May. µ


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