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On cloud nine: Azure just got a whole lot better

Date: January 13, 2015 Author: Stephan Buys Category: Article Technology Tags: , Comments: 0

On cloud nine: Azure just got a whole lot better

Microsoft has announced a range of enhancements to its Azure cloud computing service, as it strives to soar past rivals in this highly competitive industry. Indeed, such is the lure of Azure that some 40,000 companies are becoming clients every month, according to figures from Microsoft.

The Washington-based company said back in October last year that it would be making significant improvements to Azure in the coming months, and said it was the only company providing enterprise-grade, hyper-scale and a hybrid cloud solution. This gives customers a "truly unique cloud offering", Microsoft says, enabling them to customise their IT needs and services.

Security is uppermost in everyone's mind when using cloud computing, given recent high-profile hacking attacks, and it's not surprising that the upgraded Azure is now more secure than ever. That's due to the introduction of an Azure Key Vault. The company says a lot of its clients have cryptographic keys that are kept securely in Hardware Security Module (HSM) units on site, as it's one of the safest ways to protect their data.

But it's also expensive and time-consuming – and not a good match for the speed of cloud computing, because any time a cryptographic operation is scheduled, IT support staff have to first go to the HSM to get authentication keys, thereby making the whole process much more lengthy.

So what Microsoft has done is developed HSMs in the cloud, which means companies can now quickly and easily configure their Key Vault so they get the security and protection they need, without having to go to the time and expense of relying on physical encryption devices. The service is available in "multiple regions", according to Microsoft, and as well as safeguarding valuable and sensitive data it can also be used for signing certificates and encrypting secret information.

What else is new with Azure? There's the General Availability release of the G-Series of Azure, providing maximum memory and processing so that companies can scale right up to large applications. Azure also teamed up with container technology firm Docker last year, and now has more fully integrated the ecosystem.

To discover more about how your company can benefit from Microsoft's cloud computing service, contact leading IT support company NSIS systems today.

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