Microsoft Hardens Windows Cloud Instances

Businesses that host applications on Azure instances now have at their disposal a new tool that improves security. Microsoft launched a public beta of its new Adaptive Application Controls for Windows virtual machines running on the company’s Azure cloud-computing platform on Dec. 21. The service allows users to apply whitelisting techniques to their server instances, blocking unauthorized or potentially malware-ridden software.

This approach is particularly effective on virtual machines that run a fixed set of applications. It lowers an instance’s attack surface by blocking all applications except the ones that are known to be safe, allowing organizations to spend less time on the lookout for exploits and cyber-security threats, noted Microsoft Senior Product Manager Ben Kliger in a blog post.

Reflecting Microsoft’s efforts to imbue practically all parts of its software and cloud services ecosystem with artificial intelligence (AI), the new capabilities also use the technology to relieve some of the IT administration burdens involved in keeping cloud instances safe.

Elsewhere on Microsoft’s cloud, the company announced a new Alerts interface in the Azure Monitor service, also in beta, along with new capabilities.

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