Microsoft’s cloud service Azure is widely used in a number of businesses, largely because of the role it plays in DevOps and enabling a more efficient delivery process. Given this wide usage and the service's general importance, it's only natural that Microsoft has maintained a steady stream of security updates to keep Azure on the cutting edge. 

Data analytics, for example, have recently been incorporated into the cloud service. Just this past May, in fact, the company detailed how the new Microsoft Azure Sentinel tool is designed to take advantage of intelligent analytics in order to help security operations teams with overall data security. Essentially, the tool will make use of AI to weed out dire security threats as quickly as possible, by way of compiling security data from all devices connected to the cloud service.

The Azure Sentinel tool is also set to help companies save precious time and money by making it easier to scale up their IT infrastructure. “Traditional Security Information and Event Management [systems] have also proven to be expensive to own and operate, often requiring you to commit upfront and incur high cost for infrastructure maintenance and data ingestion,” explained Sentinel product management director Eliav Levi. “With Azure Sentinel there are no upfront costs, you pay for what you use.”

In addition to all of these updates, Microsoft also released an Azure Security Center for Azure-connected IoT devices. With the Security Center, threat intelligence is sourced from literally trillions of signals collected by Microsoft on a daily basis. This information is fed into the Security Center and integrated with Azure’s IoT hub in order to provide security feedback. With this feedback, users are now able to find missing security configurations within not just IoT-connected devices, but the rest of the cloud as well. According to Microsoft global manufacturing and resource lead Caglayan Arkan, this is what makes the Security Center truly “an end-to-end, unified approach to IoT security”.

It should be noted that these releases also coincide with a host of other security-related initiatives recently announced by Microsoft. For example, the company announced that it would be using Bitcoin technology in a new project designed to give users greater autonomy over their digital identities. The project involves designing a portable set of credentials that grant access to various applications - but with individual users controlling everything, instead of Microsoft itself. 

Proponents of the project believe this decentralization of data also provides a security boost, as hackers are less likely to go after data that isn’t stored in one place. Though critics might argue that the crypto tech is too undeveloped for the idea to work, Microsoft would only be following the example of a host of other fields already using it. Perhaps most notable in terms of the value of assets at stake is the business of online casino sites, which has begun to incorporate crypto payments and blockchain tech among various other payment options and security measures. Cryptos only have so big a place on these gaming sites to date, but they have yet to cause significant problems, and clearly provide some users and platforms alike with a measure of reassurance that assets and financial data are being handled in a secure manner. 

Considering things in those terms, it's only natural that Microsoft would explore crypto-related tech - particularly given that it's also explored cryptocurrencies themselves within its own gaming networks. This is a point less directly related to security, but it should at least be mentioned that the Microsoft online gaming services integrated with Xbox consoles do accept bitcoin. 

The above examples are just a few ways Microsoft is ensuring users of their tech always have the latest in cutting edge security. And though the recent nature of these releases means the full range of benefits have yet to be seen, the company is demonstrating a clear preference to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digital security.