Microsoft Training and Certifications Overview Poster

This new online Microsoft poster is an excellent overview of all the certifications available with Microsoft in 2019-2020 and beyond. In my opinion, it is really laid out nicely and I appreciate their clarity with the top level 4 categories:

Apps and Infrastructure; Data and AI; Modern Workplace; Business Application

I personally am focused on the “Apps and Infrastructure”, as that is more in line with my Systems Administration background. But honestly all four areas are very interesting. I have already completed AZ-900 and am now focusing on the Azure Administrator – the below is only a snippet of the entire poster, which lays out possible career paths for all levels of Windows IT pros.

Microsoft Certification Poster condensed URL:

Http://aka.ms/TrainCertPoster

Kubernetes, or K8s

I did not know about the short hand reference to Kubernetes: “K8s”. I am studying to take the Microsoft Azure Administrator certification exam and came across this little fun fact on the Microsoft “Learn” web site, which I am using to prepare. It has great modules for both conceptual and hands-on lab learning. But I must admit, K8s is a new one to me!

Cloud Billing and Surprise Costs

When you are studying for Azure Cloud exams and working off the Microsoft Learn website, then realize your personal Azure account is GROWING

Shocked at the Bill!
Azure All Resources

The reality is that the bulk of these costs is covered, given that the Learn site utilizes sandboxes for on-hands learning. But there were a few situations where using a regular Azure account was required. Also, for the purposes of learning and certification exam preparation, these resources can simply be deleted.

Of course, it is always best to monitor costs. The Azure Management section provides for helpful cost analysis, budget monitoring and optimization tools.

Microsoft 365 Zero Standing Access with Customer Lockbox

I am studying for one of the Microsoft 365 Certifications. I am using the free “Microsoft Learn”* offerings or paths. They are excellent. I already went through the “Azure Fundamentals” and passed that exam. But now I want to work on some Microsoft 365 or “M365” certification [Office 365, but with EMS – “Enterprise Mobility and Security”].

In Unit 5 of the Compliance Module, Microsoft points out that the most dangerous attack vector is compromised credentials. One way to fight this is with “Zero Standing Access”: it is a “users don’t get permissions by default” approach to data access within their Office 365 space. If they need access, there is a request process available. This needs to be set up accordingly. I absolutely love this.

M365 Zero Standing Access
Zero Standing Access

They also apply this concept to their Data Centers, by way of “Lockbox Workflow”. The point is that not everyone and anyone can simply open a file, or (in the case of a Microsoft Data Center) walk on into a tenant space and ‘look around’. They have safeguards to stop that and help customers get more organized around the matter of access and data security. IT and Auditors especially love this.

M365 Customer Lockbox
Lockbox

* Microsoft Docs, Microsoft Learn

Switzerland Welcomes Azure Region

“Microsoft Azure available from new cloud regions in Switzerland” – business is booming for Microsoft Azure.

In Switzerland, where we’ve been operating for 30 years, Azure is now available from new cloud datacenter regions located near Zurich and Geneva. More than 30 customer and partner organizations are already using these Azure services. Companies becoming more efficient, innovative, and productive through their usage of Azure in Switzerland include:

  • UBS Group, the world’s largest wealth manager, is using Microsoft Azure cloud technology to modernize many critical business applications, to leverage digital channels, and to rethink how its global workforce collaborates.
  • The Swiss Re Group, one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance, and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer, has chosen us as a strategic partner and preferred public cloud provider. Through their use of technology and our partnership, Swiss Re strives to make insurance simpler and more accessible than ever.
  • Swisscom, the national telecommunications provider, is now offering its customers managed public cloud services delivered via our global infrastructure and new Swiss cloud regions. Swisscom will be the first Swiss telecommunications provider to offer ExpressRoute, a secure, highly available, high-performance, and private connection to Azure services.”

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-azure-available-from-new-cloud-regions-in-switzerland/

The Kids are Alright

It is not so much that teenagers or “tweens” are so tech-savvy that they can all hack, black hat style, straight into school systems and networks. It’s more akin to walking around the building’s back area and discovering an unlocked door in plain sight. Why waste time breaking in or breaking down the front door when you can simply open the unlocked door in the back? Anyway, this article by “The Atlantic” demonstrates clearly that some teens will stop at nothing in order to communicate with each other during school. And to think … we used to throw paper balls containing messages when we were young.

“The Hottest Chat App for Teens Is … Google Docs”

How a writing tool became the new default way to pass notes in class

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/hottest-chat-app-teens-google-docs/584857

Kubernetes Clusters on Google Cloud Platform

I had a chance recently to dig into the Google Cloud Platform, in particular Kubernetes clusters and virtual machine instances. This is the “Compute Engine” offering of the GCP, or Google Cloud Platform. The GCP also offers much more, for example, Cloud Storage [data, object storage], Cloud SQL [MySQL/PostgreSQL], and App Engine [building web + mobile apps]…

Read the full story here …