Microsoft has been busy promoting its hosted cloud environment, Windows Azure, as the company looks to become an even bigger player in the cloud market. It's known for being an incredibly flexible cloud service because applications can be built in Azure using a number of different database frameworks and languages, which has increased the demand for Microsoft training related to Azure.
Another benefit of the platform is that it's easy for businesses to integrate their current cloud systems with the service, even if it is configured well after the install date of cloud programs that are already in place.
Azure has been extremely beneficial for businesses looking to invest in cloud technology and a number of recent developments may make it an even more attractive program.
According to GigaOM, Windows Azure recently received FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) certification. The source reported that it's an extremely important development because any cloud provider looking to work with the government will soon need to attain such certification in order to provide cloud services to any government body. In fact, Windows Azure is the very first public cloud system to receive JAB P-ATO certification.
The Register reported that the FedRAMP program is designed to assess the security capabilities of cloud platforms. Therefore, any certification associated with the program is a major show of faith by the government in the security functions associated with a cloud service. Certainly, the development should increase the faith many executives have in Windows Azure.
The source noted that only seven organizations, including Microsoft, have obtained full JAB P-ATO FedRAMP certification.
Even more security
As if the FedRAMP approval wasn't enough of a security boost for Microsoft, the tech vendor recently added another security layer to Azure. Computer Weekly stated that the new multi-factor authentication system will not only enhance security, but it will make the platform simpler to manage for IT professionals.
The development means that Azure users are now able to authenticate on mobile apps, voice calls and even text messages, making it a more mobile-ready cloud solution.
Microsoft's Steven Martin told the source that it's part of the company's dedication to increasing the availability of cloud services to consumers.
"Identity and access management is an anchor for security and top of mind for enterprise IT departments," Martin told Computer Weekly. "It is key to extending anytime, anywhere access to employees, partners and customers."
The source also indicated that Azure users will be able to synchronize a number of different applications and servers with the cloud technology through the new authentication service. Now, a simple sign on solution will allow cloud users to access and share data from a number of Microsoft products via the cloud. From Office 365 to SharePoint, Microsoft products are now more secure and easier to integrate.
More SQL Server options
SQL training has always been a top priority for IT professionals working with databases. Now, these workers have additional tools at their disposal when creating cloud or virtual platforms because Microsoft has introduced a number of new Azure updates that pertain to the SQL Server configuration.
SQL Server Pro reported that updates to the software now make it possible for a single Azure subscription to handle more than one active directory. The source stressed that this is especially useful for database administrators looking to create hybrid SQL environments.
In the coming months and years, it's likely that Microsoft will continue introducing updates to make Windows Azure and SQL Server more streamlined products. Investments in cloud technology are expected to spike in the near future and Azure's useful features have it well placed for enterprise adoption.