5 Most Important Announcements At Microsoft Ignite According to IT Professionals
Igor Bogachev 06/03/2015
3 Minutes

We recently had one of our primary Microsoft architects attend the Microsoft Ingnite conference in Chicago. Here is what we learned are the major announcements from Microsoft from least import to most important.  


#5. Advanced Threat Analytics Software as part of Windows 10

Microsoft continued to move the ball forward on security issues within its Windows ecosystem, announcing both new machine learning-based tools that work with Azure Active Directory and a new weapon to fight data leakage in the enterprise. Microsoft announced its Advanced Threat Analytics software and service that uses heuristics coupled with file analysis to determine if data from Active Directory is being used in a suspicious manner. And if it is, according to Microsoft, ATA can flag activity and graphically spot the location of the potential attack and shed light on the suspicious pattern of behavior.

Using technology acquired by Israel-based security startup Aorato last year, Microsoft brings together real-time deep-packet inspection with hack techniques such as credential-reuse.

From the management point of view, Microsoft demonstrated a Windows 10 feature that fights data leakage and lets administrators restrict data from being copied and pasted outside of corporate applications.


#4. Windows 10 Tweaks and Improvements

Microsoft previewed a number of new additions to Windows 10 in a yet-to-be-released build of the upcoming operating system. Joe Belfiore, Microsoft corporate vice president, Operating Systems Group, gave attendees a sneak peek of an updated Start menu for Windows, a new jump list within the Start menu and a new Cortana interface and functions.

During a demo of Windows 10, Belfiore showed what’s called a jump list accessible when you click on the Windows 10 Start menu. Now when you click on Start, there are new File Explorer and Settings buttons (jump lists) that offer fast access to both critical apps -- an oft-requested feature that disgruntled Windows 8 users had asked to be brought back.

Belfiore also revealed a new way to display websites that have been translated inside its Edge browser (formerly known as Project Spartan). With the help of a new Edge browser extension, Belfiore showed a page translated inside the browser in what he called Reading Mode. Once the Microsoft's translator extension is installed, it automatically translates foreign language Web pages into your native language and formats text in a streamlined alternative browser view.
Another Windows 10 feature allows you to query Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana not for just weather forecasts and sports scores, but now with OS usability questions, such as “How do I project my screen?” Also demonstrated was a new Windows lock screen that unlocked when a PC’s camera recognized the user’s face.


#3. Microsoft Intros Windows Update for Business for Windows 10 Users

Also on the security front, Microsoft unveiled Windows Update for Business, a new management option for Windows 10. The new update tool offers an alternative to once-a-month Patch Tuesday updates and gives administrators more control over what updates their company receives and when, allowing for continual updates through the month as an option.

With Windows Update for Business, Microsoft said, administrators can decide which PCs and branch offices will receive updates. They can choose whether to deliver patches or just updates and can take into consideration what branch offices have limited bandwidth so they can optimize update deliveries.


#2. Microsoft Releases Public Preview of Office 2016

Microsoft announced public availability of the preview version of Office 2016 with the final release slated for fall of 2015. Central to Office 2016, according to Julia White, general manager at Microsoft, is the way this version of Office emphasizes new usage models driven by a younger workforce that emphasizes teams, human mobility, meetings, content co-creation and intelligence.

Demonstrations of Office 2016 showed emphasis on document co-creation and pop-up warning messages meant to thwart corporate data leakage before sharing files via email or cloud services. White added that Microsoft will be adding Sway to the Office family of apps with its next release. Sway is a new content-creation tool for mixing text, images and video from around the Web into one seamless Web page for sharing.


#1. Microsoft Preps Azure Stack For Private Cloud Customers

Microsoft said that this summer it would be previewing Azure Stack, which it bills as a next-generation hybrid cloud. Azure Stack brings the Azure user experience -- both infrastructure and Platform-as-a-Service capabilities -- into a customer's data center.

Under the hood, the Azure Stack combines Microsoft's Azure Service Fabric, Azure Portal, and Azure Resource Manager that can run on top of Windows Server and Systems Center. For partners, they said Azure Stack enables companies that are gun-shy about a full public cloud deployment to have a secure way to take the plunge with Azure with all the benefits and no risks.

The Azure Stack brings capabilities such as software-defined networking, storage data pooling and virtual machine management to an on-premise data center. In doing so, say partners, it allows for easy to scale apps or boost capacity on the fly. When it comes to taking cloud infrastructure into the data center, Microsoft is the only game in town, partners say. Amazon and Google, they say, just don’t handle workloads in on-premise data centers.



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