Microsoft Upgrades Windows Azure with Mobile and ERP Support, Advanced Security

Windows Azure is the platform used by application developers to create cloud based applications. As it turns out, more than 50 percent of firms in the global Fortune 500 are already using the Windows Azure cloud services.

Microsoft noted that the expansion of client coverage coincides with the growth of the market of cloud computing. Over the past year the number of subscribers reached 250,000 customers, with growth rates increasing steadily, providing an average of about one thousand new customers per day. The company recently announced that Windows Azure reached one billion dollar in revenue over the last 12 months.

Mobile Support

For Microsoft, it is essential to maintain the reliability and performance of Azure, given the growing appetite of users. As a part of that strategy, Microsoft announced the release of a major upgrade to its flexible cloud platform Azure Mobile Services, designed as a universal backend for mobile platforms Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows. Microsoft now adds support for Git, a third-party API, HTML5 and Google Cloud Messaging API.

In a blog post Microsoft said the new features enable a whole set of new scenarios – including the ability to work with data sources other than SQL Databases (for example: Table Services or MongoDB), broker calls to 3rd party APIs, integrate with Windows Azure Queues or Service Bus, work with custom non-JSON payloads (e.g. Windows Periodic Notifications), route client requests to services back on-premises (e.g. with the new Windows Azure BizTalk Services), or simply implement functionality that doesn’t correspond to a database operation. The custom APIs can be written in server-side JavaScript (using Node.js) and can use Node’s NPM packages.

Multi-factor Authentication

Microsoft has introduced a new security feature for Windows Azure code named Active Authentication, which will allow enterprises to secure employee, partner, and customer access to cloud applications with multi-factor authentication.

Microsoft said companies can enable multi-factor authentication for Windows Azure Active Directory identities to help secure access to Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune, Dynamics CRM Online and many other apps that are integrated with Windows Azure AD.  Developers can also use the Active Authentication SDK to build multi-factor authentication into their custom applications and directories.

Delivers ERP Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 are now available in the cloud hosted on Windows Azure. Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partners can now deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV and GP solutions in the cloud on Windows Azure Infrastructure Services with end users can access the solution using Web or desktop clients, either from the office or on the go using mobile devices.

Fights Against Botnets

In an another move, Microsoft is connecting security systems to Windows Azure so that service providers and local authorities can receive near real-time information about botnets and malware detected by Redmond’s new Windows Azure-based Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (C-TIP).

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