Posts from 2018

Introducing backup for Azure file shares

Today, we are excited to announce the public preview of backup for Azure file shares. Azure Files is a cloud-first file share solution with support for industry standard SMB protocol. Through this preview, Azure Backup enables a native backup solution for Azure file shares, a key addition to the feature arsenal to enable enterprise adoption of Azure Files. Using Azure Backup, via Recovery Services vault, to protect your file shares is a straightforward way to secure your files and be assured that you can go back in time instantly.

Backup for Azure File Shares

Key features

  • Discover unprotected file shares: Utilize the Recovery Services vault to discover all unprotected storage accounts and file shares within them.
  • Backup multiple files at a time: You can back up at scale by selecting multiple file shares in a storage account and apply a common policy over them.
  • Schedule and forget: Apply a Backup policy to automatically schedule backups for your file shares. You can schedule backups at a time of your choice and specify the desired retention period. Azure Backup takes care of pruning these backups once they expire.
  • Instant restore: Since Azure Backup utilizes file share snapshots, you can restore just the files you need instantly even from large file shares.
  • Browse individual files/folders: Azure Backup lets you browse the restore points of your file shares directly in the Azure portal so that you can pick and restore only the necessary files and folders.

Core benefits

  • Zero infrastructure solution: Azure Backup creates and manages the infrastructure required for protecting your file shares. No agents or virtual machines (VMs) need to be deployed to enable the solution.
  • Comprehensive backup solution: Azure Backup helps you manage the backup of Azure Files as well as Azure IaaS VMs, SQL Server running in IaaS VMs (preview), and on-premises servers. Backup and restore jobs across all workloads can be monitored from a single dashboard.
  • Directly recover files from the Azure portal: Apart from providing the ability to restore entire file shares, Azure Backup also lets you browse a recovery point directly in the portal. You can browse all the files and folders in a recovery point and choose to restore necessary items.
  • Cost effective: Backup for Azure Files is free* of charge during the preview and you can start enjoying all its benefits immediately.
  • Coming soon: Azure Backup has lined up an amazing list of features for backing Azure file shares and you can expect an update from us as early as next month. Stay tuned!

*Azure file share snapshots will be charged once the snapshot capability is generally available.

Get started

Start protecting your file shares by using the Recovery Services vaults in your region. The new backup goal options in the vault overview will let you choose Azure file shares to back up from storage accounts in your region. 

Backup Goal

 

Introducing Box GxP Validation: Compliance for an Agile Cloud

Organizations in the life sciences, including pharmaceuticals, biotech and medical device companies, are rapidly transforming. Outsourcing is increasingly commonplace, and a continuous rise in M&A and joint ventures is fueled by a desire to rationalize portfolios and speed up innovation to bring therapies to market. While effective collaboration and speed to market remain critical for market leadership, firms can experience regulatory fines, legal exposure and loses in revenue without effective risk management of intellectual property, and proper information governance on regulated systems.

Due to this complexity, life sciences organizations have not been able to move their content to the cloud as aggressively as they would like. Many maintain legacy on-premise ECM systems in order to meet stringent guidelines issued by the FDA and other regulatory bodies on how information is stored, managed, and distributed when it pertains to drug development, medical device development, clinical trials, and patients. These systems, inflexible to user needs and time-consuming to maintain and validate, created inefficient silos between regulated and unregulated information, and slowed collaboration and innovation.

Manage regulated and non-regulated content on a single cloud

At Box, our mission is to help organizations transform the way they work, even in the face of all this complexity. Today, we are excited to announce Box GxP Validation, an innovative approach for maintaining GxP compliance in the cloud which enables organizations to leverage a single secure and compliant Cloud Content Management platform to manage both unregulated and regulated content. Life sciences companies can now create, collaborate, manage, distribute and archive regulated content associated with clinical development and manufacturing processes.

Box GxP Validation provides customers a Validation Accelerator Pack (VAP) and daily testing to qualify and maintain compliance of their Box instance. Box's innovative validation methodology accelerates initial validation and lowers risk via use of daily automated tests to assure a continued state of compliance for the Box platform. With access to regulated and non-regulated content in single repository that is highly secure, compliant and accessible anywhere, customers can find the information they need, whenever they need it, in a cost effective manner.

 

As part of Box GxP Validation, Box is partnering with USDM, a leading risk management, technological innovation and business process optimization firm for life sciences, to provide Cloud Assurance, a service that validates changes in the production environment of Box. USDM can also work with customers to ensure their own configurations and customizations are unaffected by these changes.

One Cloud Platform for a Full Range of Use Cases

Box GxP Validation creates new opportunities for customers to create, manage, collaborate and distribute regulated content in Box as they work cross-functionally within their organization or with external business partners that are critical to the clinical development and drug manufacturing processes. We're excited to enable new life sciences use cases with Box, including:

  • Exchange of clinical content between sponsors, CROs, CMOs, and investigator sites
  • Collaboration and exchange of regulated content during joint development or M&A activities
  • Secure archival of SOP's and clinical study documentation
  • Compliance with 21 CFR Part 11 requirements by integrating Box with eSignature providers
  • Use of Box as a compliant content layer with life sciences ISV and SI partners

Today, 800+ life sciences organizations are Box customers, including Eli Lilly, Boston Scientific, GlaxoSmithKlein, AstraZeneca, Boston Scientific, Edwards Life Sciences, Daiichi-Sankyo and Shionogi, leveraging Box to securely and compliantly manage day-to-day operations, research, sales, marketing and global product launches. With the announcement of Box GxP Validation, we will be able to transform the way these organizations and many other work - with both regulated and unregulated content.

To hear more about this new game-changing model for maintaining GxP compliance in the cloud, register for our upcoming webinar, Meet Box GxP Validation: Regulated and unregulated content, now in the same cloud. In the meantime, read up on the Box GxP Validation methodology. 

Enabling new compliance capabilities in life sciences is just one example of how Box recognizes the importance of compliance strength in the cloud. Look out more compliance strength from Box, coming soon.

 

All the passwords in the world will not protect our data now

The only way to fully fix the microchip flaw would be a mass recall of almost every device on the planet

For years, computer experts have given us a baffling list of things we have to do to ensure our most precious data is kept safe: Use passwords with numbers and capital letters; no wait, use longer ones, and don’t forget to come up with different codes for each account. We’re now encouraged to use techniques such as two-factor authentication and fingerprint scanners to ward off hackers, and the companies we trust with our photos and messages go to even greater lengths, employing military-grade security and secrecy around the huge data centres where they are stored.

Last week, we learnt that all this is not enough. A critical flaw in billions of microchips that power everything from our mobile phones to corporate supercomputers has emerged, allowing hackers to gain access to private files when we do something as innocuous as visiting the wrong website. At first, it was believed that the bug covered merely computers using chips designed by American giant Intel and would be solved by a technical update; but it has since emerged that the problem is far more widespread, extending to the devices in our pockets, and not fixed as easily as hoped.

The hack, which takes advantage of the way microchips process instructions from computer programmes, affects computers that date back two decades. Even products made by Apple  which is known for priding itself on security  are vulnerable.

The fact that there are no known examples of cybercriminals exploiting the “Meltdown” and “Spectre” bugs is little consolation. As soon as the existence of the flaws emerged, hackers will have begun working on a way to exploit them. It is possible that such weapons have been in the works for months, since the bugs were first uncovered in June last year.

Although they have been kept under wraps by tight-knit security teams since then, selling this knowledge to the right bidder — a rogue state, for example — could be worth millions.

The last 12 months have seen major cyber attacks mounted with growing frequency, from the “WannaCry” outbreak launched from Pyongyang that crippled parts of the National Health Service in Britain last March, to the hack of Uber’s servers that stole the data of 57 million people. It may be only a matter of time until we see this flaw exploited.

The tech companies we entrust with increasing amounts of data are rushing to introduce software updates. Apple said some of the issues had already been patched, and it would come out with further updates in future.

But  and this is the crucial point  these solutions are mere sticking plasters. The startling, and unprecedented, thing about this bug is that there is almost no way to defend against it. By going to the core of our computers, it renders the defences we have come to trust  passwords, anti-virus programmes, encryption useless. Follow all expert advice and you are still vulnerable. The only way to fully fix it would be a mass recall of almost every device on the planet.

The microchip companies that sacrificed security for speed are rightly suffering from this outbreak. But the lesson to take is this: The things we store on our computers, that we photograph on our phones or that we send to others, are all potentially compromised. No matter how much we keep up our guard, a digital paper trail exists somewhere, and it can be located with the right tools. It is a trade-off we may be willing to accept for all the benefits that digital technology brings us, but this latest security scare is a wake-up call. It should reset our understanding of what is safe, and more crucially, what is not.

 

 

Microsoft introduces a free new tool to get another edge in the cloud war with Amazon

·         Microsoft Azure Migrate is a free tool, launching Nov. 27th, that will make it easy for VMware customers to bring their applications to the cloud.

·         It'll help boost Microsoft's big advantage versus Amazon in the cloud war: Microsoft's wealth of experience selling to even the largest businesses.

 

On Tuesday, Microsoft is expected to unveil Azure Migrate — a free tool to make it easy for customers to bring their existing applications and data from their own servers up into the Microsoft Azure supercomputing cloud. 

At its November 27th launch, Azure Migrate will support shunting up VMware-based applications. VMware is very popular in the Fortune 500 and beyond, giving Azure Migrate a broad audience right off the bat. And it fits well with Microsoft's big cloud edge, which is that it has so much experience selling into even the largest businesses.

The Microsoft Azure cloud, like its key rival at Amazon Web Services, gives customers access to fundamentally unlimited supercomputing power on a pay-as-you-go basis. Large and small companies alike are drawn to these so-called "public clouds" for the cost-savings and performance improvements they often bring.

There are other cloud migration tools on the market, including from startups like Racemi and Cloudreach. However, Microsoft's Corey Sanders, head of product for Azure Compute, tells Business Insider that where other solutions bring over one server at a time, Azure Migrate brings over a whole bunch at once.

That's clutch, says Sanders, because modern applications are a hodgepodge of different servers, running different pieces of the application all at once.

"There are no applications that consist of a single server," says Sanders. 

Once the data is actually moved over, Sanders says that Microsoft provides tools for "rightsizing," or precisely managing your usage of the Microsoft Azure cloud. With proper rightsizing, says Sanders, some customers are saving 84% versus the costs of keeping their VMware infrastructure running in their data center.

And if a customer isn't ready to fully use the Azure cloud, Microsoft is also unveiling a service where, essentially, Microsoft will run their VMware infrastructure in its own data centers. It's not formally a part of the Azure cloud, meaning you lose out on some of the scalability. But it means the customer doesn't have to keep data centers.

For Microsoft, the strategic imperative behind Azure Migrate is multifaceted. First, there's the obvious: Making it easy for companies to go up to the Azure cloud could result in more companies using the Azure cloud. Notably, VMware itself wasn't consulted to build this tool, says Sanders, meaning this isn't an official partnership.

The other thing, though, is that Microsoft is a big fan of the so-called "hybrid cloud," whereby companies keep some of their software and data in Azure, and some of their software and data in their own servers. Sanders points out that Azure Migrate lets companies bring over some, but not necessarily all, of their software — meaning that, down the line and at their own pace, they could adopt that hybrid cloud model.

As for the future, Sanders says that Azure Migrate won't necessarily stay a VMware-specific tool, and that the company is listening to customer demand. The overall goal, says Sanders, is to make sure that Azure stays as business-friendly as possible.

"Azure is the choice for enterprises," says Sanders.