On the 16-17th January I visited the Microsoft Ignite 2020 event in London along with our Tech Director. The two days were busy and filled with lots of information about Microsoft developments.
These were my top 5 takeaways from the event:
1. Security tips
One of the most informative talks was on security and Azure. Here I picked up some good security tips and tools I’d recommend to teams looking to implement security measures:
- Microsoft Secure Score tool is an easy way to measure your online security, offering recommendations to improve the score further.
- Going passwordless where possible, using keys or multi-factor authentication. Windows Hello or Microsoft Authenticator are the tools applicable to Azure.
- Deploying DDoS protection via the Azure Application Gateway Web Application Firewall.
One interesting idea I will take back to JAM was enterprise segmentation. This is the process of preparing the infrastructure by breaking it down into segments, making each element easier to lock down. This improves security as it means specialised security controls are applied to each individual element, rather than a group as a whole. This is a good way of ensuring maximum security standards are met when setting up an infrastructure for a client.
Azure provides dedicated cost-saving tools that any direct customer can use. For example, Azure Advisor analyses configurations and usage to produce personalised, actionable recommendations to help you to optimise your Azure resources, and save on unnecessary costs by suggesting alternatives when necessary.
In the governance talk, I loved this table which demonstrates role-based access control (RBAC). This is a useful tool when working with clients on Azure and other hosting platforms, as it shows exactly who to grant information to in order for them to complete their jobs. This improves efficiency and security as it ensures the right people have the right access.
4. Azure tooling and products
The tooling talk was an interesting overview of Azure tools and utilities, from basic to advanced. Whilst I was already familiar with most, there were a few new ones I had not heard of before that I will definitely be giving a try. The ARM Viewer extension in VS code was one of them: it takes the infra code you have written to provision resources in the Azure portal and creates an overview diagram of the process you are about to begin, and the relationship between each resource. This makes it easy to visualise and analyse the process and result before you go ahead with it.
We were also impressed by Azure Front Door, which offers the features of Application Gateway, Traffic Manager and Web Application Firewall (WAF), so it’s like a three in one!
5. Azure’s global regions
Azure has more global regions than any provider. As a global business, this makes it easy for JAM to support apps around the world. The choice that Azure provides means that we can deploy apps where our customers need them. This map shows exactly where the Azure regions and availability zones are located:
I came away from Microsoft Ignite with lots of information I’ll be able to bring back to Just After Midnight and our Azure clients, and I hope this has been a good summary if you couldn’t make it. If you’d like to learn more about how we work with Azure, click here.