FBI warning: Ransomware attacks skyrocketing

Cybercriminals collected $209 million in the first three months of 2016 by extorting businesses and institutions to unlock computer servers.1 And that estimate is probably low, considering many companies fail to report such attacks for a variety of reasons. This type of crime has grown rapidly and is quickly becoming a favorite of attackers because it is so easy to execute. An attack like this on your business can have disastrous effects, many of which arent seen until after the ransom is paid.

What is Ransomware?

Simply put, its a type of malware that gets into a computer or server and encrypts files, making them inaccessible. The goal is to shut down your ability to do normal business. The attacker then demands a ransom for the key to unlock your data.

One recently publicized attack underscores how difficult it can be to decide what to do. An L.A.-area hospital was targeted and hundreds of patients lives were put at risk. The attackers achieved their infiltration through a simple targeted phishing email and one click of an attachment locked up the hospitals medical records. They had very little recourse and ended up paying $17,000 to the attackers for the key to their own data2. In this case, paying the ransom was an easy choice with real health concerns in the mix, but thats also what made them an ideal target. If you get hit with a ransomware attack, your organization will have an extremely difficult decision to make.

Neither is ideal.

Choice A: Pay the ransom

This is certainly the easiest way to get back up and running, but it only increases the likelihood youll be attacked again. Additionally, you are funneling money to organized crime or potentially even terror organizations. In some cases, companies paid the ransom only to have the attackers ask for more.

Choice B: Work to recover your systems

If you choose not to pay the ransom, youll need to recover the locked data yourself. If you do not have a clear recovery protocol in place, then you may have to deal with being locked out of your data and systems for a while. That forces you to weigh the impact on your business against the ransom ask, which is exactly what they want.

FBI guidelines: How to protect your company3

While ransomware attacks may have spiked, the tactics for preventing them are not new. Its the same for all types of malware. Educate your employees on proper email protocol. Keep hardware and software patched and up-to-date, especially on your endpoints. And manage the access of your privileged accounts.

That said, like malware, its nearly impossible to stop everything. Per the FBI, your best defense against this type of attack is having a strong backup policy. Not just backup. Backup Policy. That means you:

  • Regularly back up data. This is the simplest and most effective way to recover critical data.
  • Secure your backups. That means storing them somewhere that is not connected to the original data, such as in the cloud or physically offline.
  • Run recovery drills. The only way to know for sure if your system will work is to test it in real-life situations.

To us, this just further underscores the need to have a strong recovery plan that includes backup and disaster recovery (DR). Many companies, once they have a DR solution in place, are choosing to use less and less backup to save costs. The problem is, while incredibly useful, disaster recovery faithfully replicates your current environment. If that environment is compromised, so is your DR.

When you have a solution like Operations Management Suite and Azure Backup, you dont need to take that risk. Azure Backup gives an extremely cost-effective and secure way to store your backups in the cloud. It preserves recovery points for up to three days, giving you a way to restore quickly after an attack is discovered, and tools like two-factor authentication and deferred delete prevent destructive operations against your backups. Its a few simple steps that could save you from a disastrous attack.

Learn more

See how integrated cloud backup and disaster recovery provide you with greater security on our Protection and Recovery page.

Free trial

Try Operations Management Suite for yourself and see how it can give you increased visibility and control across your entire hybrid environment. Get your free trial >
1Fitzpatrick, David, and Griffin, Drew. Cyber-extortion losses skyrocket, says FBI. CNN Money. 2016. http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/15/technology/ransomware-cyber-security/

2Staff Report. LA Hospital Paid 17K Ransom to Hackers of Its Computer Network. NBC Los Angeles. 2016. http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Hollywood-Presbyterian-Paid-17K-Ransom-to-Hackers-369199031.html

3FBI Public Service Announcement. Ransomware Victims Urged To Report Infections To Federal Law Enforcement. September, 2016. https://www.ic3.gov/media/2016/160915.aspx

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Cybersecurity, Hybrid Cloud, OMS, Ransomware, Security

10 reasons you’ll love Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 is the cloud-ready operating system built to support your current workloads and allow you to transition to the cloud. Weve taken all of our learnings from Azure and built them right in, packing it full of exciting new innovations and features. Here are ten we think youll love:


1. Control the keys to your sensitive data.

Improve security by limiting access to the IT environment with Just Enough and Just-In-Time Administration. Control who gets access to what and for how long. With Windows Server 2016, you can define which keys each admin has access to, even setting temporary permissions.


2. Manage your servers from anywhere, even your mobile device.

Windows Server 2016 has a new toolset hosted in the cloud called Server Management Tools. Its a web-based remote GUI that allows you to manage your serversphysical or virtual, datacenter or cloudfrom just about anywhere, even your mobile device.


3. Deploy servers in an exact configuration and keep them that way.

Automate tasks and manage settings to set up and keep servers configured properly. Weve enhanced PowerShell Desired State Configuration and given you the ability to define, deploy, and manage your software environment using a single console. Weve also added elements of open source software that make it easier to test your code.


4. Easily handle the 9:00 A.M. logon storm.

Weve improved and strengthened our Remote Desktop Services platform allowing partners to build secure, customized apps. Graphic improvements have increased compatibility and performance across the board.


5. Do-it-yourself storage.

Software-defined storage used to be exclusive to storage industry vendors. With Windows Server Storage Spaces Direct, weve included all the features you traditionally expect, directly in the operating system. This means greater performance, without the premium cost.


6. Upgrade without the downtime.

Rolling Cluster Upgrades and Mixed Mode Cluster allow you to upgrade and manage your servers without taking them down. This is designed to help reduce the impact of management operations on your workload.


7. Click, click, donejust like in Azure.

Windows Server 2016 Software-Defined Networking is based on clear and concise policy management, cutting the time spent on infrastructure. This Azure-inspired network virtualization feature gives you the centralized control to configure network resources. Deploy new workloads more quickly and use network segmentation to increase security.


8. Move beyond passive security.

Traditional, passive perimeter security is becoming less and less effective. Once someone bypasses your wall, they are free to do whatever they want. With Windows Server 2016, that is no longer true. Add new layers of security to your environment to control privileged access, protect virtual machines, and harden the platform against emerging threats.


9. Use Containers to streamline app deployment from keyboard to production.

We are excited to announce that Containers are now built into Windows Server 2016, helping to accelerate your app deployment. Use Containers to streamline existing apps and to create new microservices, whether on-premises or in any cloud.


10. A super small server that packs a big punch.

Nano Server is a new deployment option for Windows Server 2016 that loads an image 25x smaller than the Windows Server 2016 with a desktop. It brings only the elements that the specific workload needs, resulting in faster boot times and simpler operations.

BONUS Move to the cloud for less using your existing licenses

With the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, you can use on-premises Windows Server licenses that include Software Assurance to earn special pricing for new Windows Server virtual machines in Azurewhether youre moving a few workloads or your entire datacenter. Start saving now>

Ready to dive deeper?

This e-book will tell you everything you want to know about Windows Server 2016.

Get the Ultimate Guide to Windows Server 2016.

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

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Announcing the launch of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016

Today, we are announcing the release of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016. This marks the tenth major release for the product that has been in the market serving various application integration customer needs for the past 15 years. This release not only highlights some key on-premises application integration capabilities that help customers automate mission critical business processes, but also showcases our strong commitment to the hybrid integration platform.

We realize customers have different business needs In addition to running workloads on-premises, many business want to run some workloads and applications in the cloud. Our goal is not only to provide flexibility and agility to our customers, but also provide a consistent experience whether you are looking to integrate applications, data and processes across on-premises or the cloud. With the release of BizTalk Server 2016, customers can seamlessly connect to cloud applications through Azure Logic Apps. Customers can now connect to SaaS applications faster, enable enterprise cloud messaging across vendors and partners, and take advantage of first-class integration with Azure services including Azure Functions, Machine Learning and Cognitive Services via the Logic Apps adapter all from the comfort of using BizTalk Server 2016.

To learn more about why our customers want to upgrade to BizTalk Server 2016 and hear our customer comments about the new release, please check out Frank Weigel’s recent Azure blog post.

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Announcements

Manage your Linux and Windows Servers with Microsoft Operations Management Suite

This post was authored by the Enterprise Cloud Management Team.

On the season premiere of Microsoft Mechanics, we showcase unified management across Linux and Windows Servers in hybrid cloud environments. This includes a hands-on look at how to deliver Azure management services on-demand with Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS), by Principal Program Manager Eamon O’Reilly.

Eamon demonstrates how to completely automate the deployment of infrastructure and application resources in the cloud and on-premises, and discusses how you can apply IT policies and orchestrate operational tasks using PowerShell and graphical runbooks. With PowerShell open sourced and available on Linux, you can now use OMS to consistently automate across Linux and Windows Server.

If you are an IT professional, you can get started today by creating a free Microsoft Operations Management Suite account. You can also learn more about Automation here and PowerShell here.

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Azure Automation, LINUX, Microsoft Operations Management Suite, Uncategorized, Windows Server

Managing the software-defined datacenter with System Center 2016

This post was authored by Bala Rajagopalan, Principal Group Program Manager, System Center.

Today, were excited to announce the general availability of System Center 2016. System Center 2016 makes it easy for you to deploy, configure and manage your virtualized, software-defined datacenter and hybrid cloud infrastructure. The latest release of System Center offers an array of new capabilities that amplify your ability to meet the most demanding business requirements, providing support for everything from provisioning the physical and virtual infrastructure to IT process and service management.

System Center 2016 is designed to provide:

  • Faster time to value with simple installation, in-place upgrades, and automated workflows.
  • Efficient operations with improvements in performance and usability of all System Center components.
  • Greater heterogeneity and cloud management with broader support for LAMP stack and VMware, including monitoring resources and services in Azure and Amazon Web Services.

System Center 2016 summary highlights




Click to download the Whats New in System Center 2016 white paper

New options in licensing

As announced in December 2015, System Center 2016 will move from processor-based licensing to core-based licensing for both Datacenter and Standard Editions and will continue to be available through all existing licensing channels. In addition, on October 1, 2016, we announced exciting new ways to purchase System Center in conjunction with Operations Management Suite, bringing together the power of System Center for management of the on-premises datacenter with the speed and flexibility of cloud-based management in Operations Management Suite. System Center and Operations Management Suite give you powerful hybrid cloud management solutions for your entire IT environment, both on-premises and in the cloud. Now you have the option to purchase both System Center and Operations Management Suite together, and take advantage of significant savings.

  • To get the full benefit of cloud management, and access all the Operations Management Suite services at a convenient price, the Operations Management Suite Add-on for System Center enables you to simply attach Operations Management Suite services to your existing System Center license.
  • Customers nearing the end of their renewal cycle can take advantage of a special price and convert their System Center licenses to an Operations Management Suite Subscription. Once converted, you do not need to pay for System Center separately. The Operations Management Suite subscription includes rights to System Center.

Learn more about the exciting new options and more, at the Operations Management Suite pricing page.

Check out whats new!

Click to watch What’s New with System Center 2016

For a full listing of the new capabilities in this latest release of our core management platform, you can visit the System Center 2016 site and read the Whats New in System Center 2016 whitepaper. You can also download the System Center 2016 evaluation and see it in action for yourself. Check out the updates to System Center Configuration Manager (version 1606) also released today.

Weve built in a host of features, taking the learnings from System Center 2012 R2 and your feedback to make sure System Center continues to support you. The unique requirements of the on-premises datacenter are your business, every day, and we encourage you to explore how System Center 2016 can help you move faster and focus on delivering impact. Try out the evaluation today!

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Announcements

Another big step in Hybrid Cloud – Windows Server 2016 general availability

This post was authored by Mark Jewett, Senior Director Product Marketing, Cloud Platform.

We are pleased to announce today marks the general availability (GA) of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016. Customers can now broadly acquire the server operating system that accelerates innovation and security of both traditional and cloud-native applications.

As a cloud-ready OS, Windows Server 2016 inherently enables hybrid cloud. It was forged in our own Azure datacenters, learning from the rigorous requirements of a global, public cloud, and includes software-defined capabilities that are fundamental to fast-paced cloud innovation. Windows Server 2016 also offers seamless portability across datacenter, private and public cloud environments via virtual machine and new container formats that can be reliably deployed wherever the business requires. Weve further enabled portability to Microsoft Azure with the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit that allows Windows Server VMs to be run in Azure at a discounted rate.

This release is just one of many reflecting our deep commitment to hybrid cloud. In our long-held view, hybrid cloud is the reality for all enterprise customers, even those with the most ambitious cloud plans. Some applications should and will move quickly to public cloud, while others face technological and regulatory obstacles. Regardless of where these applications run today or will run in the future, Windows Server 2016 provides a rich and secure platform.

Beyond Windows Server 2016, weve applied this hybrid cloud commitment across our Microsoft portfolio to build comprehensive capabilities across data, identity, management, application, and the infrastructure platform overall.

Hybrid Stack graphic

Figure 1: Hybrid capabilities built-in across Microsoft products and services

Recognizing hybrid cloud as the reality, other vendors from both traditional IT and public cloud are now also talking about hybrid; however, there is a fundamental difference to the way Microsoft approaches the enablement of hybrid cloud. Customers tell us it isnt enough to be simply connected across cloud environments. Yes, great network connectivity and common VM formats are foundational requirements, but consistency is the real key. Consistency means IT professional, developer, and end user experiences dont change based on the location of the resource, and provides the ultimate flexibility to use the right cloud resources at the right time.

Consistent hybrid cloud enables uniform development developers can build in a common way, and then those applications and services can be deployed in the right location based on business rules and technical requirements.

Consistent hybrid cloud enables unified dev-ops and management operators can use a consistent interface to manage and update resources across the hybrid cloud, alleviating the need to learn new environments and instead focus on deriving more insight and proactive action.

Consistent hybrid cloud enables common identity and security users are protected and managed no matter the location of the application they are using.

Consistent hybrid cloud enables seamless extension of existing applications to the cloud data can be maintained for longer periods at lower cost, and without any application or infrastructure changes required.

We are committed to help customers in their cloud journey and the general availability of Windows Server 2016 marks another important milestone in delivering the most complete hybrid cloud solutions for customers of all sizes. Get started now by downloading the Windows Server 2016 Evaluation, and tune in to the Windows Server 2016 webcast on October 13.

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Announcements

Watch the Windows Server 2016 webcast on October 13

Now that Windows Server 2016 is generally available, you will want to join Jeffrey Snover, Jeff Woolsey, Erin Chapple, and the team behind Windows Server as they discuss and demo the new security, application, and datacenter innovations found in Windows Server 2016.

  • Watch some great demos by Jeff Woolsey.
  • Hear about customers who are already deploying Windows Server 2016.
  • Get your questions answered with live Q&A throughout the event.

Add it to your calendar now.

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Uncategorized

Hybrid Cloud Management Ignite recap: Microsoft Operations Management Suite overview

Last week in Atlanta at Microsoft Ignite, we announced multiple new capabilities for Microsoft Operations Management Suite. Designed to help you gain visibility, increase control, speed response to security issues, and increase availability, the new offerings give you expanded options for managing your hybrid cloud.

As you move to the cloud, one of the key things to consider is how your management strategy needs to evolve. When managing a hybrid cloud environment, you have two options. You can manage resources from the datacenter up into the cloud, using existing toolsets, or you can bring in cloud management. There are several advantages to moving to cloud-based management. First, you reduce time to value. You can get up and running faster because you dont have to deploy anything. You also get innovation at cloud speed. With the pace of innovation today, new management toolsets are often required to handle the new technologies you bring into your environment. Management as a service lets us deliver new capabilities to you all the time, reducing the need for point solutions. In addition, you want to be flexible, with the ability to pull data from specialized toolsets as required. And finally, you need dashboards and easy search to keep it simple, to minimize the overhead involved in running the management tools themselves.

Delivered from Azure, Operations Management Suite is designed for cloud speed and cloud flexibility. If you want to learn more about how cloud-based management can work for you, check out the Ignite breakout session, Taking your management and security strategy to the cloud. In this session Jeremy Winter and Srini Chandrasekar, the engineering leads for Operations Management Suite, give their perspective on how new management capabilities can address some of the key challenges facing IT Operations teams today.

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Events

Can’t-miss OMS Operations Management Suite Sessions at Ignite

This post was authored by the Enterprise Cloud Management Team.

If you are attending Ignite or watching the event live and are interested in maximizing the management of your on-premises, cloud, or hybrid environments, you should strongly consider attending the below sessions.

To receive an even better understanding of the Operations Management Suite, visit our Experience Center to test our Insight & Analytics, Automation & Control, Security & Compliance and Protection & Recovery solutions.

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Events, Microsoft Ignite

New ideas, new solutions, new technical preview of Azure Stack

Were pleased to announce the next step in delivering the power of Azure in your datacenters:Azure Stack Technical Preview 2! Since we released the first Technical Preview, weve been blown away by the conversations with customers about the solutions they want to build and the problems they want to solve with Azure Stack. They see Azure Stack as a natural extension of the Azure environment. It enables them to implement new solutions to meet their business challenges and address the root causes of Shadow IT.Because Azure Stack is truly consistent with Microsoft Azure, it can be used in situations where business goals bump up against business realities such as regulatory constraints, data sensitivity concerns, latency, and custom functionality requirements. A consistent cloud platform means that applications, processes and skills can be equally applied without translation between environments paving the way for the cloud IT revolution to take place behind the corporate firewall as well.

Many of the ideas we hear from customers come from industries that are not the first-in-line users of the public cloud.Think heavily regulated financial institutions, manufacturing companies with factory floors in remote locations, or cruise ship companies with data-intensive applications that need to run, literally, in the middle of the ocean. What this diverse set of customers all have in common is the desire to harness the rapid innovation of the public cloud and extend its capabilities to the places where they need it to unlock new business opportunities.

Azure Stack enables lots of application patterns but the one that has got developers and business leaders most excited is the new hybrid application pattern.This pattern delivers a solution designed from the beginning to span Azure and Azure Stack to deliver the best of both worlds. Using this pattern developers gain access to resources in real time and low risk, and IT business planners can blend cost models to best satisfy their customer expectations and effectively manage bottom lines and business rules.A consistent application platform available both in the public cloud and their own datacenters is what makes all the difference here. Consider a global app rollout; with consistency, an application can be designed to have components deployed in different ways, yet maintain uniform behavior and management with no extra work. It could now be that in the US components deploy to Azure.When the same app is deployed in Germany, where privacy rules diverge from the US, components could deploy to private datacenters or a local service provider datacenter, and so on.Only the combination of Azure and Azure Stack delivers this.

Onboarding new Azure services

We have learned a lot running a global scale public cloud.As my buddy Mark Russinovich says, when it comes to cloud computing, the only constant is change. Azure itself is built in a way that provides a continuous flow of innovation and agility both quickly rolling out new technology to drive new value creation for our customers.The ability to easily onboard new services and extend your cloud environment is one of the key value propositions of Azure Stack.With the TP2 release, weve added new foundational services (in the box), including Azure Queue storage for application messaging and Azure Key Vault for managing application secrets. We will also be sharing new updates for additional services, such as App Service in the coming weeks. In each case, the design point is for seamless on-boarding and updating of these services.

Azure inspired cloud infrastructure management

With Azure Stack our goal is to enable enterprises and service providers to take advantage of that same flexibility operating Azure Stack that weve built in Azure. Accordingly, this release includes significant investment into the provider functionality and experience for Azure Stack.

Azure changes constantly with updates and new services and has gotten very good at introducing change without drama or outages. Weve begun the work of building the Azure operational processes into the platform in such a way that applying these updates should be intuitive. We believe its paramount that existing IT personnel bring their skills and expertise to bear on creating the next generation of cloud solutions. With TP2, we introduce the infrastructure management technologies used to manage Azure Stack. This release contains a version of the management technologies scoped to a single server deployment so that cloud owner/operators can begin to see how the system works. We will continue to enhance this functionality in subsequent technical previews and post GA.

A single server that packs a punch

The one-node, proof-of-concept, deployment configuration remains the most expeditious way to experience Azure Stack ahead of the commercially available integrated systems. You can install the Technical Preview 2 on a single server to explore, learn about, and prepare for the power of Azure services in your datacenter. We will continue to make available the single server option even after the integrated systems are released with general availability. We firmly believe that the one-node POC is an important part of the overall Azure Stack experience and will continue to play a role in solution prototyping, learning and demonstration scenarios.

This is a very exciting moment for our team and we hope for all of you as well! This release reinforces that as Azure functionality grows over time, so do the capabilities of companion Azure Stack clouds. Were looking forward to a great week at Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta where we can share the progress with you and listen to your feedback on what is exciting and what else youd like to see in Azure Stack.


Jeffrey Snover

Technical Fellow

Source: Tech Net Microsoft

Udgivet i Uncategorized