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Latest Azure News: Five Updates for Businesses

Are you already a Microsoft Azure customer or taking a look into the business benefits of these services? As a major cloud provider, Azure continues to roll out service after service, and a list of new features to existing services that’s far longer than your arm. In today’s post, we take a look at 5 of the latest Azure updates that may be the most useful to our customers. Read on!

Windows Server 2008: End of technical support

If you’re still using Microsoft Windows Server 2008 as part of your tech infrastructure, then this news will be important for you. It’s the end of the line for Windows Server 2008, as Microsoft discontinues fixes and support for the product – 12 years, not a bad run!

Hopefully you’ve been made aware of this change, but if not, then it’s time to start thinking about what to roll over systems to. Microsoft recommends migrating to Azure, with virtual cloud servers, or a hybrid solution.

Migrating to Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019 makes the most sense if you are used to working with Windows Server 2008. There’s the option to run virtual 2008 instances on Azure (as technical support will be provided for these cases) while you migrate to make it easier, too. If you need assistance in migrating, then drop us a line.

Privacy: ISO/IEC 27701 Privacy Information Management System (PIMS)

There’s big news over at Azure in the world of privacy (which is now every businesses’ business). The update? Azure is now compliant to ISO/IEC 27701 Privacy Information Management System (PIMS). This updated ISO privacy standard defines how Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is managed and processed within an organisation. Azure is the first major US cloud provider to receive this certification from ISO. 

What does it mean for your business? It means that the information and data that you process in Azure can be compliant with data privacy regulations worldwide, including the GDPR and Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme. If you are already certified to ISO 27001, there isn’t much work to do to become PIMS compliant. And if you’re not, then it might be time to start investigating – to ensure PII is kept private.

Live web-based events: Transcription service preview

For businesses that live-stream webinars, conferences, or sales events (or would like to), this new preview will be an exciting prospect. Now, you’re able to stream live to up to millions of viewers, with live transcription (text of the audio feed displayed on the screen) at the same time.

This service is built for Azure Media Services, where machine-generated text is transcribed and integrated into your stream. Live webinars can a great way to reach customers, or potential customers, or distribute information internally across a remote organisation. This feature is currently only available in preview.

Management across infrastructure: Azure Arc

A large part of the complexity of undergoing digital transformation is the management of resources across different environments: public and private cloud, on-premise, edge, and other data centres. Azure Arc is a new product that helps manage this infrastructure from the one access point.

Arc allows you to deploy and manage Azure services across any of this existing or new infrastructure. This includes governance and security of all resources as a whole. Arc is perfect for businesses who want a hybrid cloud solution, but are concerned about the extra workload of managing different infrastructures.

The return of thin clients: Windows Virtual Desktop

Remember back when organisations were running thin clients (a hardware-lite desktop), with centralised servers in a room somewhere on-site? It seems like we’re coming around to this way of working again, but instead of on-site, centralised servers, we’re running them in the cloud instead.

When this means is that employees can access their Windows desktop work environment easily from anywhere, on any device. Windows Virtual Desktop is a service that allows governance across Windows and app environments provided to your users, while offering the user an experience like they’re using a regular desktop version of Windows.

This is a handy option for companies looking for secure Windows environments for remote workers, people that like to use Macs, etc. It also means admin staff have complete oversight of security, use, and compliance.

Need help implementing or integrating new Azure services?

A1 Technologies is a Microsoft partner, and we’re proud to offer services to our customers that help integrate Azure into current solutions. Take the next step in your technology journey by getting in touch with us for a consultation.

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