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Key Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2023: Recap in our own words, not AI.

Well it's been a few days since Microsoft Ignite has concluded. If you haven't heard by now, the theme was AI and Copilot. While we saw a lot of cool AI interactions, this blog is not being written by AI. Or is it?

I have not determined how I will use Copilot yet, I did see some good examples of how it may help in my everyday work. Take Outlook for example, one of the neat things Copilot can do is draft an email for you like an assistant might, however it's not just the text writing that makes Copilot unique. It can also attach files requested or provide your meeting schedule to the email without you having to type or go look at your calendar. What's even better, you can tell Copilot to "Sound like me" and it will match your writing style.

One of the things that many businesses are struggling with is AI and company data. Microsoft has officially addressed this in their Microsoft 365 Copilot documentation leading to our first takeaway.

  • Microsoft 365 Copilot Security (Ref. Data, Privacy, and Security for Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 | Microsoft Learn)

    • The data is encrypted while it's stored and isn't used to train foundation LLMs, including those used by Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365.

    • Prompts, responses, and data accessed through Microsoft Graph aren't used to train foundation LLMs, including those used by Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365.

    • To delete a user's history of interactions with Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, which includes user prompts and the responses Copilot returns, Microsoft 365 admins can submit an online support ticket in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

    • The permissions model within your Microsoft 365 tenant can help ensure that data won't unintentionally leak between users, groups, and tenants. Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 presents only data that each individual can access using the same underlying controls for data access used in other Microsoft 365 services. Semantic Index honors the user identity-based access boundary so that the grounding process only accesses content that the current user is authorized to access

If you haven't already started using Azure Arc in your on-premises envrionment, we highly recommend it. Being able to monitor, investigate and manage your on-premises envrionment within the Azure portal is awesome. And if you are using Defender for Endpoint Server, Microsoft discontinued that product line in September 2022 with the replacement being Defender for Servers. Defender for Servers requires on-premises servers be enrolled with Azure Arc and the licensing is billed to your Azure subscription(s).

  • Azure Arc enabled SQL Server (Ref. Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server - SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc | Microsoft Learn)

    • Now you can manage your on-premises SQL servers from the Azure portal using Azure Arc. Technically this was announced before Ignite 2023, but we liked it so much we wanted to say it again.

    • Back up and restore from the Azure portal is now in public preview. Yes, that is for your on-premises Arc enabled SQL servers.

    • You are now able to monitor the performance of your on-premises Arc enabled SQL servers.

  • Azure Arc enabled VMware vSphere (Ref. What is Azure Arc-enabled VMware vSphere? - Azure Arc | Microsoft Learn)

    • Now generally available for all to enjoy.

    • Arc-enabled VMware vSphere allows you to:

      • Discover your VMware vSphere estate (VMs, templates, networks, datastores, clusters/hosts/resource pools) and register resources with Arc at scale.

      • Perform various virtual machine (VM) operations directly from Azure, such as create, resize, delete, and power cycle operations such as start/stop/restart on VMware VMs consistently with Azure.

      • Empower developers and application teams to self-serve VM operations on-demand using Azure role-based access control (RBAC).

      • Install the Arc-connected machine agent at scale on VMware VMs to govern, protect, configure, and monitor them.

      • Browse your VMware vSphere resources (VMs, templates, networks, and storage) in Azure, providing you with a single pane view for your infrastructure across both environments.

Microsoft Azure A, err... Microsoft Entra ID, if you think it's hard for us to remember the new name, we heard quite a few experts at Ignite forget as well. Microsoft is adding quite a few features under the Entra brand that will allow Microsoft to move into the Security Service Edge (SSE).

  • Microsoft Entra Internet Access Preview

    • Microsoft's identity-centric secure web gateway

  • Microsoft Entra Private Access Preview

    • Ditch your legacy VPN and provide multifactor authentication on legacy protocols

  • Microsoft Entra Verified ID

    • Verify new remote employees before they ever obtain credentials to login to your envrionment.

    • Tap into well known identity verification partners, includng LexisNexis, Idemia, and Clear.

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