Cloud computing is radically altering the way business manage data. Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the internet, with pay per use pricing. This saves millions of dollars for companies in investment in buying, owning, and maintaining physical data centers and servers.
Microsoft recently announced that they are working on the next version of their signature IDE, Visual Studio which could bring major changes to software development. Reportedly, the tech giant is still in the early planning phase for the next Visual Studio tool suite release, named Visual Studio 2019. The earliest signs of Visual Studio was spotted at GitHub, which is turn about to be acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in company stock.
John Montgomery, director of program management for Visual Studio at Microsoft, after revealing that Visual Studio 2019 is in the works in his blog post, also added that we will be seeing many indicators of the company laying the foundation for the latest Visual Studio suite in Github, where their Developer Tools team spent a lot of time in.
Visual Studio 2017 was launched in March 2017, which gave rise to a speculation that Visual Studio 2019 would be released in early 2019. However, the company did not reveal anything on the release, but promised to say more in the coming months.
John Montgomery’s blog post still provided a couple of goals for Microsoft’s new Visual Studio release. The company intends to release Visual Studio 2019 faster, with a goal of making the IDE suite more reliable and effective for teams. Visual Studio 2019 is also expected to be easier to use with a short learning curve.
The director also added that we can expect better refactorings and navigation, in addition to a more capable debugger and faster solutions loads and builds. The company would also be exploring the collaboration aspect of the next version, leveraging connected capabilities like Live Share to facilitate real-time collaboration. Cloud scenarios are also expected to be more seamless.
Another intriguing reveal was Microsoft’s willingness to improve team productivity by having Visual Studio utilize Azure to deliver AI-driven assistance to the IDE. Seemingly, other Microsoft technology solutions will also be getting updates to leverage AI, considering the fact that the company seems to be willing to invest in hot trends.
Where they are headed
Because they specifically mentioned Visual Studio’s Live Share feature, we can expect the company to improve the feature. Live Share was announced in November last year, and quickly became popular for its co-authoring capabilities i.e. enabling developers to work together on the same code, much similar to the edit capabilities of a few Office 365 applications. Essentially, the company wants their new Visual Studio to facilitate real-time collaboration effectively.
Aside from its goals for the IDE suite, Microsoft expansion plans also seems promising since their announcement of the GitHub acquisition earlier this month. It was announced by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who also added that GitHub will remain an open platform and developers would still be able to extend it. Developers would be able to use the languages, operating systems, and tools of their choice for their projects, and deploy the code on any cloud and any device.
We will be seeing Microsoft’s IntelliCode, an AI-powered assistance for cloud scenarios in Visual Studio 2019. When introduced during Microsoft’s Build 2018 Developers Conference in May, IntelliCode was applauded. The AI-driven program learns over time and streamlines formatting while suggesting APIs and recommendations to avoid errors. The company is leaning on Azure to train IntelliCode and get it functioning in Visual Studio 2019.
The company also revealed that it took about a whopping 2000 high quality GitHub repositories to train IntelliCode’s machine learning model and ensure that it sticks to best practices.
Although the company didn’t give out any info on the release of the new Visual Studio version, they certainly made it clear that the path they are taking would benefit every Application Management services company leveraging their technologies. Montgomery also teased an announcement in the next few months. Developers who participated in the Visual Studio 2017 Preview would likely be the first to get information on the release of the first beta version of Visual Studio 2019.
There are many reasons why Azure is one of the most popular and widely used Microsoft technologies. Software development companies that rely on cloud mostly prefer Azure for its many benefits. But for all of its benefits, Azure demands diligent security implementations, especially when it comes to resources. There are a number ways you can improve the security posture to protect critical Azure resources. Here are a few quick ones.
Using security policies
An Azure subscriber can define security policies for the subscription, and orient them for resource groups based on the requirements at hand or data sensitivity. This is particularly handy as security requirements are different for different resources. For instance, applications with Personally Identified Information require more security unlike a regular application that is supposed to execute a task.
Security policies can be inherited by each resource group from the subscription level itself. However, they can also be unique.
You should take two important factors into account before defining security policies.
- Data collection: Enabling ‘data collection’ for a security policy means there will be regular daily scans of all virtual machines for security monitoring. The feature also gives recommendations to augment security. Data collection also collects data associated with security events for analysis and threat detection.
- Show recommendations: This option is useful when you want to monitor security controls. It lets you choose the controls that need to be monitored. You will also get recommendations based on the security needs of the resources.
Using security recommendations
Security implementation can get quite tricky often. But recommendations in the Security Center can help you get started easily. The tool can also be used to analyze your resources’ state of security. This helps in identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities. It will also be easier for you to configure controls. Some recommendations may even provision tools, including anti-malware that can be of great use. Check the ‘Recommendations’ tile to go through the recommendations. Each recommendation can be viewed individually for more information.
Checking resource health
To assess the security aspect of various resource types including virtual machines and web applications, you can use the ‘Resource Security Health’ tile. Selecting a resource type will display more information giving the user a list of identified potential vulnerabilities. All that’s left to do is to take action.
Backup & recovery measures
Accidental deletion of Azure resources is more common than you think. Administrators often encounter such situations in their career. On-premises infrastructures will generally have backup measures in place. But just in case, it’s a good idea to create a Recovery Services Vault in Azure Primary Portal. This can help if you accidentally delete a VM. However, you will have to define backup policy first and then apply that to the VMs to secure a recovery if things ever go wrong.
Keep an eye on security alerts
The Security Center immediately collects the data and analyzes them before integrating the log data from Azure resources and partner solutions (firewalls, anti-malware etc.). So each time a threat is detected, a security alert is generated. The security alerts will have a prioritized list of things that the user should check out. Selecting an alert will display more useful information on the kind of security breach it was while recommending measures to remediate or avoid it in the future.
Though Azure certainly is a that’s worth keeping, it needs you to contribute in securing it properly. These quick tips do make a difference. However, Microsoft technology solution there’s so much more you can do for every aspect of Azure to protect its resources. But that would depend much on the infrastructure as well. It’d be wise to have an expert take a look at the whole security posture so you can augment the security from all angles.
To survive the world today, modern businesses require powerful tools we refer to as ‘software’ to help them execute tasks, communicate, share data, plan strategies, analyze performance, market the business etc. Business apps can also be seen as such a tool, if not one of the most effective ones, which benefit the organization as a whole.
But before using such tools or digital solutions, businesses will have to decide where to deploy them. On-premises infrastructure is the generally opted deployment platform. However, such facilities demand considerable investment from the business as they will need to buy and configure servers, keep them running in datacenters, and secure and maintain the datacenter itself. It’ll all work out if the business has time and enough budget for a capital investment to protect their data.
This used to be the case till the advent of the cloud.
The Cloud – Business Connection
The cloud came with a pay-as-you-go pricing model providing businesses with a way to cut infrastructure costs while giving them access to computing hardware, storage, and network. They need pay only for what they use. However, even the cloud’s attractive features failed to gain many business’ attention mostly due to security and privacy concerns. This led to the development of the hybrid cloud approach where the cloud considers the on-premises and cloud infrastructures to be connected, and being used at the same time.
Enter Microsoft Azure
Businesses have been relying on enterprise solutions powered by Microsoft technologies for a long time. Azure is one of those solutions that uplifted quite a lot of businesses. The cloud-based Microsoft technology solution offers a broad range of services that cater to multiple scenarios.
For instance, consider the requirements of an organization with sufficient on-premises resources and wants to deploy their business app. They want the users to have a single sign-on experience, for which they use Active Directory for access management. The organization wants the data in the application to be private, and not expose it to the internet.
In such a scenario, the ideal way is to set up a network and have the on-premise infrastructure connected to a cloud infrastructure. So basically, an isolated network with a defined IP addresses range in the cloud is needed. A virtual network service can achieve just that, thus making it easier to integrate the cloud network with the on-premises network.
Once the virtual network is created, the organization’s datacenter should be connected with the cloud using a VPN Gateway service.
And once the network is configured and ready, the organization can integrate their Active Directory with the cloud. This is where Azure comes in. Its Active Directory services provide a managed Active Directory that can be integrated and synced with the organization’s Active Directory.
The organization can deploy their own Active Directory configuration on the Virtual Machine.
The business app can then be deployed on servers, and configured to make use of the Active Directory the organization deployed earlier.
Perks of Using Azure for Businesses
- Move from capital expenditures (Capex) to operational expenses (Opex) with its pay-as-you-go pricing model
- Easy access to resources means reduced time to market
- Choose from a wide range of virtual server configurations to meet the business requirements
- Easier to set up a network connection using services like Virtual Private Network (VPN), VPN Gateway, ExpressRoute etc.
- Enhanced security and streamlined access management thanks to managed services like Azure Active Directory
- Flexibility in making infrastructure-related decisions
- This flexibility also gives them a way to respond faster to business challenges