Microsoft launches ten new Azure cloud services in the UK

Microsoft Azure splash screen on a smartphone

Azure Bastion and Confidential Computing are among ten services Microsoft has launched for UK Azure customers to improve security and allow users to take advantage of technologies like IoT.

Bastion, a managed platform as a service (PaaS), first launched in public preview last June and is designed to protect exposed virtual machines (VMs) from outside threats. The service lets users securely connect to VMs without using public IP addresses, reducing exposure to the public internet and cyber threats such as malware.

Meanwhile, Confidential Computing will allow customers to secure information while it’s being used, as opposed to encrypting data while it’s sitting in a data centre or being moved across a network. This real-time encryption feature means multiple organisations can combine data sets and analyse them without being able to access each other’s data.

A prospective use case for the technology could be banks combining transaction data to detect fraud and money laundering, while hospitals could combine patient records for analysis to improve diagnostics.

Among the services being launched are App Configuration, Bot Service, Consumption Plan Linux, IoT Central, Premium Plan Linux, Time Series Insights, and Virtual Network NAT.

The final service being launched, Private Link, offers a secure connection to Microsoft’s cloud with no public internet access. This can also help users meet the demands of regulations in different markets across the world.

“Microsoft continues to invest in our UK Azure regions to meet the growing needs of our customers,” said Michael Wignall, Azure business lead at Microsoft UK.

“Azure is helping organisations, both large and small, adapt to a new way of working, and our cloud experts continue to help them at this challenging time.”

App Configuration allows customers to centrally manage application settings while the Bot Service gives them the capability to develop Q&A bots to improve the customer experience. Time Series Insights collects, processes, stores and analyses data, as well as giving customers the ability to launch queries.

IoT Central, meanwhile, is a secure app platform for IoT devices and software, which can also scale as businesses grow. The product’s main appeal is the offer of industry-specific app templates for sectors ranging from retail to healthcare.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Features Editor

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.