Understand the Microsoft and SAS partnership and Azure SQL HyperScale Transparent Data Encryption – Azure announcements were a little sparse this month, but there were a couple of features. I want to take a closer look at not because I’m trying to drag out how long I’m allowed out of my cave, but because they’re important. Possibly the biggest announcement this month was the growth of the partnership between Microsoft and SAS.
Nothing quite like having SAS as a SaaS that you can integrate with other SaaSesses. With AI and analytics only becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society, it’s only proper we finally see a partnership that could actually build Skynet. What makes this exciting for businesses is beyond being one step closer to getting a snarky Jarvis, like AI is the plans to bring deep integrations to all of Microsoft’s cloud offerings, which includes Microsoft and Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform and of course, Azure.
This means the ability to better ingest and utilize data that can be used in a myriad of ways all to the benefit of your business and consumers. For example, this technology mash-up is being used by the town of Cary, North Carolina, to build more accurate flood predictions from the use of SAS analytics and Azure IOT.
For those of you who may already be using SAS services, the partnership also means that SAS will be optimizing its services to work in Azure, making it so you can finally take that gigantic appliance sitting in your data center and send it up to the cloud. This will allow companies shifting to a cloud-first technology approach to continue using SAS on highly performing cloud systems and even creating opportunities to save money through cloud optimization.
Another of the more significant feature releases earlier this month with Transparent Data Encryption for Azure Hyperscale going into public preview. The reason for this is because we all want our data to be as secure as possible from potential digital ninja’s making away in the night with your data. This would then force your IT Administrator to dawn their stealth suit and go on an adventure to recover those stolen scrolls of data.
For those of you who are less familiar with Azure SQL databases, the Azure SQL Hyperscale tier provides your databases with super fast scale-out optimized storage that allows your data to grow to up to 100 terabytes in size aligned for businesses to go beyond the 1-4TB restrictions that exist in other tiers. Additionally, it provides near instant backups of your data regardless of size and allows for restores to be performed in minutes instead of hours or possibly even days.
Transparent Data Encryption has previously been unavailable in Hyperscale, likely due to the storage and scaling methods in use to give users the ultra-fast performance it provides as Azure SQL database would previously enable TDE at the server level and manage instances would get it at the instance level. Hyperscale distributes your data across multiple nodes, which doesn’t necessarily play nice with things like encryption.
Now, Microsoft seems to have cracked the code, which has now made it so you can not only use Transparent Data Encryption to secure your data at rest, but also use your own key if you were so inclined. Regardless of whether you use your own key or allow Azure to create and manage one for you, your key is managed through Azure Key Vault to ensure you can manage who or what has access to your most sensitive secrets.
Now I want to make sure we emphasize the “data-at-rest” part. Transparent Data Encryption only secures data when it’s not being accessed. So you’ll still need to make sure you’re securing your data in transit less to be intercepted by those darn digital ninja’s, ensuring that you only allow connections from trusted sources and encrypting your network traffic are equally important.
So don’t be fooled into thinking that one precaution is enough. I know I wouldn’t want to be the guy who made that mistake… again.
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