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Microsoft Releases Azure Blueprint To Support UK Government …

Microsoft says its Azure Blueprint for the UK Government s Cloud Security Principles will provide the highest level of security for cloud services. Azure Blueprint for the UK Government details how services built on Microsoft s cloud platform1 implement the 14 cloud security principles2 published by the UK s National Cyber Security Centre, which include practices around data governance, authentication and operational security.

Microsoft Releases Azure Blueprint To Support UK Government ...

The Azure Blueprint UK Government Customer Responsibilities Matrix outlines how Azure implements security controls designed to satisfy each security principle and assists customers in understanding how they may implement safeguards within their Azure solution3 to fulfill the requirements of each principle where they hold a responsibility, said Matt Rathbun, chief information security officer for Azure Government. Microsoft has also released a Blueprint compliance architecture ARM (Azure Resource Manager) template on GitHub, which provides a baseline from which customers can build secure environments in line with the cloud security principles4.

In other Microsoft news, business communication service Yammer5 has been integrated into Office 365 Groups, enabling users to connect and communicate with colleagues across their organisation.

When users create a new group in Yammer it will automatically be part of the Office 365 Groups environment, providing a OneNote notebook, Planner for task management, a SharePoint Online site and a document library.

Microsoft Releases Azure Blueprint To Support UK Government ...

All shared resources can be access directly from Yammer by all group members, with group membership queries based on Azure Active Directory attributes such as role, location and manager.

This integration between Yammer and Office 3656 Groups affects customers who have enforced Office 365 identity in their networks, and have only one Yammer network associated with their Office 365 tenant, added Connie Woo, product marketing manager at Yammer.

The full rollout of Office 365 Groups will take place in phases, which will connect Office 365 Groups7 with existing non-connected Yammer groups and remaining Office 365 tenants.

You can also look forward to integration with Outlook Calendar as well as greater enhancements to Yammer integration with SharePoint Online and Planner.

Quiz: The history, products and people of Microsoft8

To fully grasp the potential benefits of the Internet of Things, look no further than General Electric . GE is making a big bet on industrial Internet of 9

If you were to stop anyone working at SunTrust and ask them, What is the purpose of your role ? I’d wager that not only would they be able to give 10

Digital transformation is one of the key opportunities in today’s business for CIOs to increase leverage with their internal and external customers .

Digitization 11


  1. ^ Microsoft s cloud platform (
  2. ^ 14 cloud security principles (
  3. ^ within their Azure solution (
  4. ^ cloud security principles (
  5. ^ business communication service Yammer (
  6. ^ integration between Yammer and Office 365 (
  7. ^ which will connect Office 365 Groups (
  8. ^ The history, products and people of Microsoft (
  9. ^ (
  10. ^ (
  11. ^ (

Public cloud ‘encourages greater security’, but firms must be wary of snooping

Public Cloud 'encourages Greater Security', But Firms Must Be Wary Of Snooping

Public cloud encourages greater security , but firms must be wary of government activity

SECURITY CONCERNS over the cloud remain common, and a recent survey by the INQUIRER’s sister site Computing showed this quite clearly.

However, not everyone agrees this is right . Mark Ridley, group technology officer at venture builder Blenheim Chalcot Accelerate, explained during a Computing web seminar last week.

“I totally understand that, although I don’t agree with it,” he said.

“When I first started looking after servers 20 years ago I was loathed even to put them into a managed hosting system . Those were the days of Windows NT when servers would go down all the time and I couldn’t stand the thought of not being able to physically reboot the server when I needed to.

“I’ve had to go through an evolution in understanding security in the cloud,” he added. Ridley maintains that, with a few caveats, public cloud encourages greater security, not only because of the expertise that cloud providers can bring to bear but also because using their services forces organisations to think about data security in greater detail.

“You have an illusion of control and security and governance by having everything being in one space, but actually you’re probably not scrutinising your own organisation in the way you would a third party.

“The cloud provider is not necessarily a friendly actor, so making sure your data is protected against them can often lead to much higher levels of security than if you manage your own infrastructure.”

This doesn’t mean that all organisations should start putting sensitive data in the cloud, however . For a start, many do not have the right skills and culture to properly manage cloud services.

“You need an organisational change to use the cloud and some companies aren’t ready, so they’d be better off with hosting or a private cloud,” Ridley said.

“The organisation needs to change the way it looks at security, and it could be that you simply have the wrong sort of people in your organisation . They could be comfortable with thinking that security stops with the firewall, but that changes completely with cloud.”

Another caveat is the type of data you might wish to process and store . For example, US cloud providers are legally obliged to allow US government agencies to access their systems . State interceptions have been shown by the documents leaked by Edward Snowden to be motivated by industrial espionage as well as issues of national security. Intrusive laws1 are being introduced by other countries too, including the UK.

“When you start looking at the public cloud you have to look at how you protect data from government activity,” Ridley said, explaining that this too requires fundamental changes in organisational thinking.

“If I’m dealing with very sensitive data then suddenly I’m thinking how do I encrypt every bit of that data in transit and at rest, how do I manage the keys and do I need hardware key management . Suddenly the way you have to think about security completely changes and the organisation needs to change too.”

Overall, though, Ridley believes that for most cases security is improved by moving operations to the cloud, and that proving compliance certainly becomes a whole lot easier.

“If you’re selling a b2b service and going through lots of compliance checks it will be easier to say I’m with Amazon or Microsoft or Google2 and here is my box-ticking exercise’ .

It will be easier for vendors and consumers to understand the compliance measures in place,” he said.


  1. ^ IPT rules that UK government unlawfully collected bulk data for over a decade (
  2. ^ Private cloud: are its days numbered? (

Chapo extradition seen boosting US-Mexico security relations under Trump

MEXICO CITY Irrespective of whether Mexico’s decision to extradite drug kingpin Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman aimed to honour outgoing U.S . President Barack Obama or appease his successor, Donald Trump, law enforcement from both countries say it bodes well for security cooperation.

Guzman, the feared boss of the Sinaloa cartel who shot to international stardom after two jailbreaks, was extradited from a prison in northern Mexico to New York on Thursday, the eve of Trump’s inauguration.

While some Mexican government officials believed Guzman’s removal served as a valediction for Obama’s presidency, others saw it as an opening gambit in what are likely to be fraught trade negotiations with a seemingly unfriendly Trump administration.

But current and former law enforcement officials on both sides of the border said the move would boost security cooperation and could even upgrade relations.

“What happened today is something that’s a victory for both Mexico and the United States,” said Leo Silva, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey until 2015. “This will obviously improve things.”

According to a senior U.S . law enforcement official based in Mexico, both U.S . and Mexican security forces were already “three steps ahead” in identifying the next Chapo.

“From the Mexico side, they work with us a lot, a lot more than people think,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak with press. “They think they’re going to get more support from us, they’re on line and I really don’t see a huge change . If anything, an improvement.”


Security cooperation has not always run smoothly, and Mexico, with its proud, nationalist leanings, has often chafed at what it views as U.S . intrusion in its affairs.

Silva said after Vicente Fox became president in 2000, Mexico gave less access to U.S . law enforcement . However, Fox’s successor, Felipe Calderon, was more willing to accept U.S . help, and Silva said he could even pick up the phone and call then-Attorney General Marisela Morales.

The election of the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012 represented a fresh set-back, with U.S . officials initially kept at arm’s length and a new attorney general appointed, Jesus Murillo Karam, who Silva called “standoffish.”

Nonetheless, after a rocky start, relations soon warmed and U.S . intelligence, particularly the U.S . Marshals who track fugitives, became a key component in many of the high-profile busts that have taken place under Pena Nieto.

“It’s similar to what we were doing and receiving under Calderon, except that this current administration doesn’t talk about it or publicize that they’re working together,” said one former DEA agent who worked on Mexican cases.

After the victory of Trump, who has threatened to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement, slap tariffs on U.S . firms manufacturing in Mexico and deport millions of illegal immigrants, some speculated years of hard-won security cooperation would fray as Mexico sought to show it wouldn’t be pushed around by the brash New Yorker.

But behind the bluster, law enforcement officials from both countries said that was unlikely to happen, and that the situation could even improve if Trump, a law-and-order Republican who has repeatedly voiced his support for police and soldiers, focussed more on combating Mexican cartels.

“The crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential,” Trump said during his inauguration speech on Friday. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

A Mexican anti-corruption official swatted away the notion that Mexico could shut out the United States on security issues.

“The government is going to continue the policy that it has always had of combating organised crime,” he said.


Vito Guardino, who worked for the DEA for 30 years, said the U.S . government used extradition as a yardstick to measure other countries’ willingness to cooperate.

But if the United States didn’t get what it wanted, he said, it found ways of forcing other nations to play ball, a reality unlikely to be lost on Mexico, which is heavily reliant on U.S . trade.

For example, Guardino said that when Colombia stopped extraditing drug traffickers to the United States in the late 1980s, the U.S . government used a carrot-and-stick approach, threatening sanctions while drawing up the multibillion-dollar Plan Colombia.

By that metric, Chapo’s removal represents a calculated show of faith on the part of Mexico, which has also signalled to Trump’s team it is open to reinforcing the northern border to curb drug smuggling and illegal migration.

The high-stakes political tensions were, however, only one way of looking at things, Guardino and many others said . Relationships with foreign law enforcement officials often take years to build and rely on trust in dangerous circumstances.

(Editing by Simon Gardner and James Dalgleish)