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MJFChat: How to Get Started With Azure

We’re doing a twice-monthly interview show on Petri.com that is dedicated to covering topics of interest to our tech-professional audience. We have branded this show “MJFChat.”

In my role as Petri’s Community Magnate, I will be interviewing a variety of IT-savvy technology folks. Some of these will be Petri contributors; some will be tech-company employees; some will be IT pros. We will be tackling various subject areas in the form of 30-minute audio interviews. I will be asking the questions, the bulk of which we’re hoping will come from you, our Petri.com community of readers.

Readers can submit questions via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or LinkedIn using the #AskMJF hashtag. Once the interviews are completed, we will post the audio and associated transcript in the forums for readers to digest at their leisure. (By the way, did you know MJFChats are now available in podcast form? Go here for MJF Chat on Spotify; here for Apple Podcasts on iTunes; and here for Google Play.)

Our latest MJFChat is about how to best get started with Azure. My special guest is Azure MVP and Petri.com contributor Aidan Finn. Finn also is principal consultant with Innofactor, where he works with many customers on their Azure strategies and rollouts.

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If you know someone you’d like to see interviewed on the MJFChat show, including yourself, just Tweet to me or drop me a line. (Let me know why you think this person would be an awesome guest and what topics you’d like to see covered.) We’ll take things from there….

Mary Jo Foley:
Hi, you’re listening to Petri.com’s, MJF Chat Show. I am Mary Jo Foley, AKA your Petri.com community magnate. And I am here to interview tech industry experts about various topics that you, our readers and listeners want to know about. Today’s MJF Chat is going to be about how to best get started with Azure. And my special guest is Aidan Finn, who is an Azure MVP, Most Valuable Professional and Principal Consultant within Innofactor. Hi, and thank you so much for doing this Aidan. It’s nice to chat with you again.

Aidan Finn:
Hi, Mary Jo. Good to be back.

Mary Jo Foley:
Nice. So Aidan does a lot of work with customers who need to figure out how to start and restart their entry into Azure. So that means he needs to get them thinking about things like governance and security, agile delivery through DevOps, all of that before any workloads are built. So that means something called the Cloud Adoption Framework, figures, prominently in his work. And I’m going to get him to talk a little bit more about that as we go on in the chat, but to start Aidan, you mentioned to me that you help your customers start and a little ominously restart their Azure deployments. What went wrong with those customers that they need a restart?

Aidan Finn:
Yeah. So when we meet with a client or a customer the first time, and they’ve already been using Azure and they’ll ask for something called an Azure assessment or something like that. What we’ve found is they’ve typically gone down one of two directions to implement the cloud for the first time. So Azure, AWS, or whatever you want to call it. The first is what I call the IT centric approach. And if you think of your typical enterprise, IT people they’ve been doing things a certain way for 20 plus years, you know, they’ve been buying a certain brand of server, certain brands of storage, putting in a typical firewall and they design things a certain way. And you know what, 20 years ago, that was awesome. Things have moved on. We see that in the news everyday, things like ransomware. So how we have to secure our networks and our services and our identity, that’s all completely changed, but IT hasn’t kept up with that for the most part.

Aidan Finn:
And they’ve tried to take those approaches and bring them straight to the cloud. So they’ve tried to pull what I would have built myself in enterprise IT 15 years ago, which is this locked down environment where IT does everything and you know what, that’s not what the cloud is supposed to be. The cloud is supposed to agile and self-service so when the developers and operators want new services, you don’t have to go to IT, open up a ticket, wait three months to get a response. They want to just do stuff. And I keep saying to people, you know, data and services are kind of like water. It will always find a way to leak. And so this is where you get your shadow IT, even though you’ve done the cloud. So then IT is told right, loosen things up. So they tried to loosen up this rigid IT system, which was never designed to be loosened.

Aidan Finn:
And it’s just wild West, with no security, even though there’s security systems put in place. They weren’t really suitable for the cloud anyway. And developers aren’t happy. IT isn’t happy. Business isn’t happy. It all goes wrong. And then there’s the other approach we see, which is the business says, you know, had an interesting chat with their Microsoft account managers signed one of those interesting partnership agreements with Microsoft. And they bought themselves, you know, two or three years of Azure and given a large deposit to Microsoft’s bank account, they’re left, they’re going, right, what do we do with this then? And they give it to some developers who go and build something. And the developers are the worst people to secure their own services, to make sure that they’re supportable, they’re maintainable, they’re future-proof. Their job is to make things happen.

Aidan Finn:
Not necessarily to make them governed or secure or compliant with regulations or industry requirements. And again, it’s wild West. That’s when, you know, people like me get called in to try to figure out what went wrong. I thought the cloud was supposed to be better than this. And then of course, there’s the whole cost management thing.

Mary Jo Foley:
For sure.

Aidan Finn:
We didn’t realize this thing was going to cost as much as it’s costing us every month or the annual amount we paid Microsoft, it’s nearly gone after two months. Why is that? How do we control that stuff?

Mary Jo Foley:
You know what, it’s funny when I first started reporting on Azure, I remember a lot of people complained about cost and then I feel like it kind of quieted down, but now I feel like it’s back again. I hear a lot more complaints about cost now.

Aidan Finn:
Yeah. I think, sometimes it depends on the maturity of the market. Very early on in the market. Everyone is looking at cost and the problem there is that there is no real cost saving with the cloud from like what I can see. There is in certain things like storage can be cheaper in the cloud, but overall I find the cloud is not cheaper. But then again, that kind of depends on who’s paying the bills. IT typically don’t pay facilities bills. So they never look at the cost of the data center, they never look at the cost of electricity and stuff like that. And electricity is the huge cost of IT that nobody ever talks about.

Mary Jo Foley:
Yeah, that’s true.

Aidan Finn:
And of course there’s theater implications of electricity as well. So there’s the green side of that argument, whether it’s dollars or environment, there’s definitely green side to that argument.

Aidan Finn:
But in more mature cloud market, I find cost has become less prevalent. So in the market ideal within Norway, primarily no one ever asks how much something is in the cloud, they just do it. But then we’re starting to see an interesting thing. And I think it was one of your colleagues, was it Denash, wrote an article or had an article released two weekends ago I think it was saying that cost management in the cloud will become one of the new career paths of the near future. And you know, what, two days later in work, we’re having an internal discussion about where to go with product development and skills development and stuff, you know, what came up, cost management. So in that really material cloud market they’re now looking at cost optimization in the cloud. How do we actually deal with that stuff?

Mary Jo Foley:
Now, then there’s the problem of sprawl, right? Azure has like 6,000 different services or some number like that. So, if you’re new coming to the cloud, or even if you’re restarting your cloud implementation, what do you tell people to even know where to start? I mean, I feel like people, if you said to them, here’s 6,000 services, you know, that you can decide on mixing and matching, doesn’t it just make people freeze out of indecision or even fear. How do you get around that?

Aidan Finn:
You are 100% correct. Three years ago, both myself and one of my colleagues both at social events met the same person from an American corporation who had signed a massive enterprise agreement with Microsoft for Azure. And he said the same thing to the two of us in two different weeks, which was, they had this massive EA they’d have meeting after meeting with Microsoft. And they just did not know what to do with the cloud because they were frozen with indecision. And the problem there was, they didn’t have a direction. IT was trying to do something that it is not supposed to do, which is make business decisions. What they needed was a direction from the top to tell them what to do, what IT is good at is figuring out how to do things, not what to do.

Aidan Finn:
So they needed that decision-Making done for them. So this is where the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework starts off. This is where you have to have the discussions with the people at the top. So the decision makers, these are hard people to get at. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small business or a Fortune 100, these are hard people to get at, but you need to get them. You need to spend some time with them. It doesn’t need to be six months. Personally, I do it in about two hours and Microsoft give you whole slew of different questions in the Cloud Adoption Framework. And they categorize this under the first phase of the Cloud Adoption Framework. And in there it’s a section called Business Motivations. And what you want to do is get the decision makers. So people like the CTO, et cetera, and not necessarily the IT manager, it’s whoever’s making business decisions to tell IT what they need.

Aidan Finn:
And you ask them a whole bunch of questions. Microsoft gives you those questions. They basically fall under three buckets or categories. And they will tell you what it is or how you need to approach your adoption of the cloud. And the result basically is you’re either going to be doing one of three things. You’re going to be doing what Microsoft calls, business critical events. So this is where you have end of hardware support. You’re exiting a hosting contract and you don’t want to renew with an outsourcer or something. And you want to move to the cloud instead. So this is where there is a time-based trigger. So something that you have a deadline and, you know, this is what most organizations actually typically end up with in my experience, at least in the dealings we have whenever a deadline to move stuff to the cloud. So that’s what you do, your typical lift and shift migration. And look at that digital transformation, have your beer now.

Mary Jo Foley:
I know I’m like you said the word, uh-oh.

Aidan Finn:
Yeah. You get your tech intensity on right there. Another beer. So that’s your first category.

Mary Jo Foley:
So is Cloud Adoption Framework like a checklist or is it more just kind of a document meant to get people thinking about processes, you know, which is something like you said IT people don’t typically do, but like what’s the idea behind using the Cloud Adoption Framework?

Aidan Finn:
Cloud Adoption Framework is basically a whole set of questions to ask yourself or your customer, depending on which side of the fence you sit on, to help you make decisions. And it will prompt you towards certain sets of documentation or templates for deployments or best practices, depending on the answers that you give. So for example, if I have that business critical event thing, it’s going to steer me towards doing a, what we normally call a migration. What if it’s right, the business wants to take advantage of the strategic benefits of the cloud and wants to move IT in general towards that, they’re going to steer you to something called migration confusing. And then there’s the third one, which is the rather interesting one, which we’re actually starting a conversation with a customer at the moment about, this is where the customer has made a decision that, you know, what, there’s interesting things in the cloud, and we want to take advantage of that, to be more efficient, or we want to be more competitive, or we need to start being competitive again, because we’ve been overtaken.

Aidan Finn:
And this is where you look at innovation. So you’re looking to find some edge in the cloud something that can change how you deal with your partners, your customers, your vendors, whatever it is that makes a business more competitive, more efficient, et cetera, and that steers you towards a different lifecycle again. When you pick between those three scenarios, the business critical events, migration, and the innovation, Cloud Adoption Framework, will steer you towards, right, this is how your project should look. Now, you’ve got to fill out the bits of that project and they give you document after document. And to be quite honest about it, what I really find useful is the diagrams. And then yeah, under the diagrams you can take and you can start fleshing them out with your own experience. And that’s the important thing here. Cause you have to bring some experience to this, if you’re not experienced with Azure, you’re not going to be able to fill in those gaps and there’s certain skills out there that will always be useful.

Aidan Finn:
So the project managers will always be useful. People who have experience with doing migrations and understanding that migrations are more than just lift and shift. There’s also things like understanding the business impact of a system and when you can move that system and how it integrates with other business systems, et cetera, those things are all still important. But I guess the one thing having come from the small-medium business sector before this job that I’m in, I think the one thing that people really, really need to know, and I know that the profile of the Petri readers and listeners is you know, it’s very leans towards small-medium business, that Cloud Adoption Framework isn’t just for large enterprise. Like I said, that thing that the business motivations, I go through that in two hours and you don’t need to spend, you know, 18 months going through the Cloud Adoption Framework. This is something that can be done efficiently with the small-medium business as well. As well as scaling out to the large enterprise. So it’s important really to get a grip of what the business needs and then you can figure out, right, how do I actually tackle that? And that’s where the techies come in, because the techies are good at figuring out how.

Mary Jo Foley:
What about security and governance? Are those topics that are covered by the Cloud Adoption Framework and what should companies, whatever size, be thinking about there when it comes to security and governance.

Aidan Finn:
Yeah. So that’s another one of these things that leads to the reset scenario that we talked about earlier. One of my colleagues spent a lot of time trying to do governance with customers who had already adopted Microsoft Azure. It’s the wrong time. And Microsoft started writing about that about four years ago. I think it was with a concept called Virtual Data Center and Cloud Adoption Framework very much drills that in. And if you look at the overview image of the Cloud Adoption Framework process, you’ll see at the bottom, there’s a parallel track, as soon as you’ve got those business motivations figured out and your business strategy figured out there’s a track that starts with a parallel track that’s called Management and Governance. Governance basically includes security because governance is self control. That’s what it is.

Aidan Finn:
How do I manage who has access to what within the organization who has what responsibilities, what are they allowed to do, when they are allowed to do it. How are we documenting those processes? How are we auditing? How are we enforcing with things like Azure Policy? How are we securing the environment against internal and external threats and against modern threats? So it’s not just stick a firewall on the edge and hope for the best. It’s also protect your identity, protect due to stuff like this micro-segmentation that we never did in the on premises networks. And Azure makes that easy to be fairly honest. There’s still a bit more work but they given you awesome tooling to make it smoother and take a cookie cutter approach to it. So we pull that stuff in parallel. And it’s really important that you build those things first.

Aidan Finn:
And you want to be really clever, you build that stuff with agile methods. So you use things like Azure DevOps or GitHub, whatever your preference is, use your Terraforms, your Azure Resource Management. Again, whatever your preference is and deliver those things as code, if you’re a mid to large enterprise. And then that becomes basically a living document. That’s constantly in control of your environment. Implement everything with role-based access control. So who has bought responsibility. So you start leveraging the basics of Microsoft Azure. So that’s things like management groups and Azure Policy and Identity in Groups and roles and allocations of roles. These are kind of the fundamentals, so you build that stuff up first, before you actually deploy your first virtual machine or your app service or container or whatever it is.

Mary Jo Foley:
Right. Right. So when you’re ready to finally start putting things in Azure, what do you suggest, where do you suggest they start? Like, what do you say they start building, what do they do first? I mean, once you know, they’ve gone through the early steps, they’ve looked at the checklist of things through the cloud framework. They’ve thought about security and governance, and now they’re ready to actually start doing things. So where do you start?

Aidan Finn:
Okay. The very, very start would depend on the nature of the organization themselves. If the organization has decided that they want to do agile IT, they want to do DevOps. You start with GitHub or Azure DevOps. Those are your first tools and you start building from there. If that’s not your organization and it’s not everyone despite what you hear in the hype and everything, it is not everyone. I’d say the vast majority of organizations still prefer to use GUI based tools. And that’s been my experience anyway. What you want to build is what’s called the landing zone, and this is where you’re going to build a modern approach to the classic data center. So you’re going to have, yeah, you’re going to have the firewall at the edge, but you’re going to do smart stuff. So you’re going to have your web application firewalls for your modern services.

Aidan Finn:
So this is where you’re delivering services using serverless computing or containers or any of those types of things, or the more traditional compute platforms that Azure has as well. And you deliver those over the internet securely. You’ll be looking at DDoS protection. You will be implementing security all the way through your entire network. You’ll be implementing the private link and private endpoint stuff that came out last year. So we can bring our platform services into the secure network. Network is probably what I spend most of my time working on not just from the security point of view, but thanks to this pandemic also from a work from home point of view as well. We can start using the Microsoft one in rather interesting ways to connect our employees, our vendors, our suppliers, whatever it is into our services in a more secure way and a more efficient and easy to use and faster way as well.

Aidan Finn:
So that’s that landing zone that we start with at that point. And if you want to see an example of that there is some examples in the Cloud Adoption Framework. So there’s something that Microsoft have called enterprise scale architecture. It’s a very generic term. So if you use your favorite search engine to find that you’ll find all sorts of different meanings and you will find it in the Cloud Adoption Framework documentation, there is a team that builds that thing. It’s not perfect. We don’t use it, because we find it actually isn’t actually enterprise scale. But what it does give you is an awesome example. So if you’re looking for something to build it will give you an example of what you can actually build and show you some cool tricks as well which you can quite happily plagiarize and use yourself.

Aidan Finn:
And that’s, you know, part of the objective I suspect with the enterprise scale architecture is to show off the power of what Azure can actually do and give you inspiration for doing it yourself, if you wish. So you take what they offer, or you can use it as an inspiration, and that gets you started with your services, your connectivity, and that’s assuming you’re dealing with the migration or the business critical events. If you’re going innovation, really comes down to what the business motivations were on what your research will produce. And when you’re trying to figure out how to meet the objectives of those business and business motivations,

Mary Jo Foley:
Do you see in your work, a lot of customers moving their data centers to the cloud? Is this something that’s common or is this kind of something we think happens a lot, but maybe it doesn’t and if it is, is there some, like, I don’t know, steps people can take to make it less painful to do like a process for doing it.

Aidan Finn:
Yeah. Does it happen? Yeah, we’re doing it. But I’m dealing mostly with the Norwegian market. The Norwegian market is probably quite similar to certain markets in the US like on the East coast or the West coast. And to some extent in certain parts of the South, I guess, as well where the cloud is accepted as the norm. And organizations are just going right, that data center makes no sense. Once it reaches a certain age, we close it down, move things, or, you know, does your stuff that we can do in the cloud smarter, we’re just going to do it. And that’s very much what I’m used to, the certain markets in Europe, for example, that are probably 10, 15 years behind.

Mary Jo Foley:
Wow.

Aidan Finn:
You’d be surprised. Some of them are like markets that would have a reputation for being a surrogate on the technology side of things and are actually way behind. So I think different markets are in different areas. And you’d see that, like in the US for example, where there’s certain parts of the US that would be maybe 5, 10 years behind other parts of the US. You know, the US is the same size as Europe. So it’s a lot of different cultures going on. And so there’s different levels of cloud maturity and acceptance. Are there tools to help with this? Yeah. So the final set, the final phase of the Cloud Adoption Framework is the adopt phase. And this is where I’m doing a lot of work at the moment with customers doing the migrate tasks.

Aidan Finn:
And Microsoft gives us a set of processes there. Again, illustrated with a really simple graphic, which you can flesh out with your own process, if you wish. And any Microsoft partner who’s looking at the advanced competency called Azure Migrate Program is probably going to get very familiar with this to pass the audit to get that competency. But Microsoft will expect that, yeah, you will take what they do, but you extend it using your own experience. So the idea is that you go through the earlier phases of Cloud Adoption Framework, understanding technical and business motivations for the organization. Then you’ve done what in the second phase. So the plan phase, you’ve done something called a digital estate assessment for every location that you’re moving to the cloud, and then you take those parameters and plug it into the migrate process.

Aidan Finn:
And that’s where you’re going to go through an iterative routine of three steps for every workload that you’re moving to the cloud, every business system that you’re moving to the cloud. And that could be made up of lots of servers, or lots of components and databases and stuff like that. So you’ll do a deep dive assessment on that workload. Then you’re going to deploy the actual landing zone for that workload, or start migrating the VMs or whatever. And then you pull the trigger and then you migrate, then you transition that workload into operation, state in Azure. That’s where you take advantage of the tools in Azure to start getting control of your costs. So full circle here and your performance. Using tools like Azure Advisor, and you’re using Azure Monitor and Azure Monitor Logs, or log analytics, if you want to call it that. And your human feedback as well to basically understand the performance profile and the cost profile and Azure cost management as well, of course, of the workload and tune it to give you the best performance and the best cost as well.

Aidan Finn:
And start engaging with your licensing advisors as well, to give you the best. Beause if you’re doing things like Windows Server or SQL Server in the cloud, there’s ways to acquire old-fashioned licenses to reduce the cost of those things over three years. And then there’s these complicated things called reserved instances as well, where you can basically, instead of doing your pay as you go, every month approach to Azure, which is the normal cloud thing that you expect, you can basically say, you know what, I want to pay for a certain amount of compute or a certain amount of storage for three years in advance, or one year in advance. The more you pay or the longer the period you commit to the bigger the saving. Potentially on VMs, you can save like, I think the last figure I saw was something like 78%, up to 78% over three years.

Mary Jo Foley:
Oh, wow. Wow.

Aidan Finn:
So you can save a lot of money if you start boxing clever.

Mary Jo Foley:
Are you seeing many people actually do hybrid or do you kind of either steer clear of that or just not see it as much? The reason I’m asking that is, you know, Microsoft talks all the time about how hybrid is one of their main advantages because they were there before their competitors in the cloud and all, but do you see a lot of people trying to actually set things up in a hybrid way and manage it in a hybrid way?

Aidan Finn:
In our market? We don’t. But we have a weird market. There’s certain verticals in our market that we haven’t touched. So in Norway, the biggest industry is oil. And as you can imagine, oil rigs out in deep sea, probably not the best place to connect directly to the cloud, but as you hear it, all these Ignite conferences. And again, you’ll hear at the next Ignite is that next week or something as we record. Hybrid is cloud where you are rather than cloud up in some data center. So we can bring cloud into that oil rig. We can bring cloud onto that army base, which is probably what drives a lot of that conversation in the last two years or in the back of that Humvee that wasn’t doing geological research, but probably controlling a platoon or something like that.

Aidan Finn:
So yeah, cloud can be done anywhere. And I think depending on your vertical it’s probably more relevant. I think in the industry sector, it probably absolutely makes sense that you’re doing hybrid. For the traditional business that just has a data center because they’ve always had a data center and there’s no real importance to the location. Especially these days when, at least here in Europe, most people are working from home. The location of the data centers irrelevant. We might as well put it in a place where IT is no longer distracted by hardware failures and hardware refresh cycles and all that junk. We just focus on delivering the business services and securing the data that the business actually cares about and take advantage of cool things like Azure Virtual LAN for connectivity and Virtual Desktop for, you know, running the applications where the services are better performance, better security. That’s kind of the space where we’ve fallen into at work.

Aidan Finn:
But you know what, if we were working in a different vertical in Norway, yeah hybrid would totally make sense. If I was still working in the Irish market which is a very small market. Yeah, hybrid was what I led on because it was really important. I think it really does come down to the actual market itself and the vertical within that market, whether hybrid makes sense, basically, if you need those services, no matter what, you do hybrid, and you run that compute, you run that data locally, but it’s cloud still. And you take advantage of having the potential cloud locally, it’s consistent approaches, consistent tooling. And then be able to connect it up whenever you do have that connectivity, whether it’s latent connectivity or intermittent connectivity up to the true Azure and start doing some of the really cool, clever things with the data or whatever it is that you’re pumping back up to the cloud at that point. And like you said, Microsoft, that’s what they went with to begin with. And, you know, the last two years with the Jedi project, it made sense to push that story again.

Aidan Finn:
And in my opinion, they’re way ahead of anyone when it comes to that stuff. I don’t think anyone can even get close to them because of that big advantage. They built for themselves with Windows Server and SQL Server. They’re in every enterprise, even those enterprises who say they’re open source first, you know, there’s still a hell of a lot of Windows Server and SQL Server in those environments.

Mary Jo Foley:
Well, I can’t let you go without asking you about trends, because I know you’re out there in the field and you speak at all these conferences and events. So without breaking any NDAs or doing anything, you know, that you shouldn’t be doing, I’m curious if there’s anything in the coming months that you’re expecting or hoping for in terms of either strategy shifts around Azure or categories of services. You’re hoping we hear more about, is there anything you’re just like, I hope this is a year we hear about blah?

Aidan Finn:
Oh, it’s a year of the Linux desktop, for sure.

Mary Jo Foley:
It always is right? Every year it’s that.

Aidan Finn:
Oh, I’ll trample all over NDA’s if I talk about what I’m expecting, can’t talk about that Mary Jo.

Mary Jo Foley:
You don’t have to talk about that. No, you know, I just, I didn’t know if there was something you could say, keeping, you know, keeping it very high level without getting in trouble.

Aidan Finn:
More work on connectivity. I don’t even know what, but more work on connectivity, making it more open and available to organizations and easier for organizations to adopt. And I know some of the people working on that I know they are working very hard and they’re always eager for feedback and they’re quite a creative and innovative bunch of people. So I’m always keen to see what they’ve been working on. Cause even though I’m under like at least two NDAs, you only get to see some of the cards in the future. They hold some of those cards very close to their chest. So I always have desires and wishes and needs. More on the security side of things. Ransomware is just, you see it, I’m sure in the news in the US.

Mary Jo Foley:
It’s out of control.

Aidan Finn:
Yeah. We see it here in Europe. And our market in Norway it’s been in the news big time in the last few weeks. And more on that stuff, helping organizations deal with it. I think what you’re going to see a lot of is Sentinel and it’s kind of goals outside of my expertise area as well. While I’m comfortable with Sentinel, Sentine’s really cool feature is the fact that it’s not just an Azure thing. It’s a tool that runs in Azure, but you know what more and more organizations adopting Microsoft 365, this thing hooks straight into Microsoft 365 and pulls in. Like, how many of those Defender products do you think you could name Mary Jo?

Mary Jo Foley:
They’re all named Defender now, so I don’t know.

Aidan Finn:
Yeah, You have all these Defender products that can all feed their data back into one place. You have Microsoft 365, and it’s various components. So Teams and Office, and Intune, all feeding your data back into here as well. And you have the on-premises stuff. You have Citrix, you have all the different features of Azure, you have AWS and all these things that can all send their signals back into Sentinel. I’m seeing my colleagues work with this and the fun they’re having, taking all these different signals. And basically they’re being Neo in the Matrix. They’re reading all this junk and making sense from it and understanding the security signals. There are one or even two of those signals, maybe nothing, but you had a third one. And if you can understand the pattern, that’s an attack or an attempt at an attack. That’s somebody who’s already in your network and they’re port scanning and they’re brute force attacking, you know, administrator accounts.

Aidan Finn:
And you’re able to feed all this stuff back with the unified entity behavior analysis and understand the identities, whether they’re human or machine identities behind all these different mixed signals from completely dispersed sources, where the old approach was somebody owned antivirus, somebody owned network monitoring, somebody owned something else, and they each saw a little blip, but it was just an individual blip. Sentinel is kind of one of those strategic things that, you know, Microsoft’s timing has been beautiful. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Sentinel by itself became a billion dollar business to be quite honest, because its competitors are extremely expensive. And they are quite established out there, especially in the large enterprise, but there’s a whole breadth of organizations, whether they’re small-medium businesses and even some large enterprises who haven’t done that work yet, but are unsatisfied with what they’ve gotten. When they come to Sentinel and see this thing is actually not the hard and a small, but very fast growing community who are openly just sharing tooling that they’ve developed on top of Sentinel. That’s rather cool. I think that’s, for me, I think that’s the big thing to watch this year.

Mary Jo Foley:
I like it. It’s a good tip to end our chat on for sure. So, I just wanted to say thank you again. It’s always great to talk to you and I love hearing your perspective because it’s not just the US perspective, but it’s a world perspective. So thank you very much, Aidan.

Aidan Finn:
No problem.

Mary Jo Foley:
And for everyone else listening right now to this chat or reading the transcript, I’ll be putting up more information soon on Petri about who my next guest is going to be. And once you see that you can submit questions directly on Twitter, if you want using the #MJFChat. In the meantime, if you know of anyone else or even yourself who might make a good guest for one of these chats, please do not hesitate to drop me a note. Thank you very much.

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External Sharing and Guest User Access in Microsoft 365 and Teams

This eBook will dive into policy considerations you need to make when creating and managing guest user access to your Teams network, as well as the different layers of guest access and the common challenges that accompany a more complicated Microsoft 365 infrastructure.

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