Eastern Cloud Blog

This blog is aimed at our East Region State & Local Government customers. Opinions are our own - be gentle with us.

Visual Studio 2015 RTM on July 20th

Put a “Save the Date” on your calendar for July 20th!  Microsoft has announced that Visual Studio 2015 will be released to manufacturing (RTM) on that date.  That release includes Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server 2015 and .NET Framework 4.6.  MSDN customers will be able to download the new releases the same day. 

Read S. Somasegar’s blog post for more details and links to the release event site where you can watch the event on line.


An early look at Cortana integration with Office 365

We’re pleased to announce the ability to integrate Cortana in Windows 10 with Office 365 for businesses, available in the latest Windows Insiders preview build. Cortana in Windows 10 will be now able to connect to Office 365 to help you accomplish more at work. You can preview this initial integration between Cortana and Office 365 starting today if your company is opted into First Release for Office 365, and you are enrolled in the Windows Insider Program and running Windows 10 preview bits.

Read this Office 365 Team Blog post for more details, some screen shots and an FAQ.

The Microsoft Approach to CJIS Compliance

Richard Zak, the Microsoft SLG Director for Justice & Public Safety Solutions, has written a nice blog post about what makes Microsoft’s approach to CJIS compliance different from every other major cloud vendor out there.  First, we will actually sign a compliance amendment with you to verify that we are contractually committed to meeting your CJIS requirements.  As part of that, our employees go through extensive federal and state background checks.  Next, we’re the only major cloud vendor to set up completely separate cloud platforms for our US government customers.  Finally, Microsoft is very transparent about how we meet your security requirements. 

There’s a second blog post, titled Leading Law Enforcement Agencies Adopting Microsoft Azure Government Services, Citing Microsoft’s CJIS Compliance Approach, that is also worth reading.  The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) just issued updated guidelines about storing criminal justice information, including video, in the cloud.  They recommend that all data be stored in CJIS compliant clouds.   There are also five good questions that every law enforcement organization should be asking when considering leveraging cloud services or cloud storage.

Between these two posts, you should be able to clearly see why Microsoft’s commitment to law enforcement solutions is second to none.

Camden County Board of Social Services Pioneers a Private-Sector Solution to Serve Those Most in Need

Learn how Camden Country’s Board of Social Services (BSS) deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Office 365 to improve the services of its supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to more than 100,000 citizens across 37 municipalities.


Read the blog post: Camden County Board of Social Services Pioneers a Private-Sector Solution to Serve Those Most in Need

Alabama CARES: State of Alabama chooses the Microsoft Cloud for Government to improve service delivery

Alabama’s CARES Program is embarking on a statewide initiative to improve access to a wide variety of services for the needy by integrating eligibility enrollment into a solution powered by the Microsoft Cloud for Government. In under two weeks, they went from no infrastructure to using Microsoft Azure for Development and Test capabilities. They are also developing their integrated eligibility solution using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for Government, supported by Microsoft Azure for Government.

Watch the CARES story video.


Latest volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report is now available

The latest volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report is now available. This volume of the report focuses on the threat landscape in the second half of 2014 when there were some dramatic changes.

The vulnerability disclosure data published in the report suggests that there was a 56.3% increase in vulnerability disclosures between the third and fourth quarters of 2014. After many periods of relatively small changes in disclosure totals, the 4,512 vulnerabilities disclosed during the second half of 2014 is the largest number of vulnerabilities disclosed in any half-year period since the CVE system was launched in 1999. Disclosures of vulnerabilities in applications other than web browsers and operating system applications increased 98.3% in the second half of 2014 and accounted for 76.5% of total disclosures for the period.

Overall, encounters with Java exploits continued to decrease significantly in the second half of 2014, while Flash Player exploit attempts increased.

Regional threat assessments are available for over 100 countries as well as an online tool that enables you to quickly compare two locations.

There is plenty of other threat intelligence and guidance in the new report that can help you protect your infrastructure from modern attacks. Please download the latest report at http://microsoft.com/sir.  

Live Training: Building Linux-Based Solutions on Azure Jump Start

Do you run an open-source infrastructure? Want a public cloud solution that fits your environment? Join Senior Technical Evangelist Rick Claus and four engineers from the Azure Compute team for this live event, and see how easy and efficient it is to build Linux-based solutions on Microsoft Azure. (In fact, 20% of virtual machines that run on Azure run Linux!)

Explore options you can use to build, deploy, and manage your Linux infrastructure on Azure. Learn how they work and how to support, build, and scale them, along with how to make them available to Devs. See technical demos, and examine open-source tools, such as Docker containers, to manage DevOps pipelines on Azure and to dramatically increase productivity. Plus, walk through application platform as a service (aPaaS) options, and learn what lift and shift is all about. Don't miss this look at the Ops in DevOps, as you explore Azure as a cloud provider for open source software (OSS) applications.

July 14, 2015 - 9am‒1pm PDT  (which means it starts at noon for use East Coasters…)

This is a live event where you will interact directly with the instructor team.


Azure Key Vault generally available

Azure Key Vault offers cloud developers an easy, cost-effective way to help safeguard keys and other secrets using hardware security modules (HSMs). With Key Vault, you centrally manage your keys and secrets by taking them out of vulnerable locations like source code and plain text files. You can then grant applications access to those keys and secrets on your terms. Key Vault lets you manage the full lifecycle of your keys and secrets, helping you achieve and maintain regulatory compliance.

Azure Application Gateway generally available

Azure Application Gateway helps you build highly scalable and highly available applications by providing application-level (HTTP/HTTPS) load balancing and delivery control. It also offers SSL offload capabilities and allows the design of custom experiences based on cookie affinity.

New Azure Billing APIs Available

Organizations moving to the cloud can achieve significant cost savings.  But to achieve the maximum benefit you need to be able to accurately track your cloud spend in order to monitor and predict your costs. Enterprises need to be able to get detailed, granular consumption data and derive insights to effectively manage their cloud consumption.

Microsoft is excited to announce the public preview release of two new Azure Billing APIs today: the Azure Usage API and Azure RateCard API which provide customers and partners programmatic access to their Azure consumption and pricing details.

For more information, as well as some links to documentation and partner solutions, visit Scott Guthrie’s Blog post.