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AzureCon – 1 Day Free Virtual Event with Top Azure Experts

AzureCon is a Free virtual conference for Developers and IT Pros on September 29, 2015 focusing on all things azure. This conference builds on AzureConf 2014 and offers an exceptional opportunity to learn all about what existing, new and coming soon to the Microsoft Azure platform. This event is lead by top Azure experts from Scott Guthrie, Jason Zander, Bill Staples, Mark Russinovich, Scott Hanselman, and others.

AzureConUnlimitedInsights

1 amazing event! 3 game-changing keynotes! 50 technical sessions!
Cost to attend: FREE

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/azurecon/

Go register and don’t miss out on this amazing event!

Azure: Did you know? PowerShell Automation

PowerShell has existed within Windows for some time now, providing much superior scripting / automation abilities than the old command line. Although, you can use the Azure Xplat CLI from the command line on Windows, Linux or Mac, the Azure PowerShell cmdlets provide a better environment to create, test, deploy and manage your Azure solutions using Windows PowerShell. Read the rest of this post »

Azure SQL – Row Level Security Now Available

RLS-Diagram-4-636x300Row-Level Security (RLS) for Azure SQL Database is now generally available. RLS simplifies the design and coding of security in your application. RLS enables you to implement restrictions on data row access. For example ensuring that workers can access only those data rows that are pertinent to their department, or restricting a customer’s data access to only the data relevant to their company.

The access restriction logic is located in the database tier rather than away from the data in another application tier. The database system applies the access restrictions every time that data access is attempted from any tier. This makes your security system more reliable and robust by reducing the surface area of your security system.

Row-level filtering of data selected from a table is enacted through a security predicate filter defined as an inline table valued function. The function is then invoked and enforced by a security policy. The policy can restrict the rows that may be viewed (a filter predicate), but does not restrict the rows that can be inserted or updated from a table (a blocking predicate). There is no indication to the application that rows have been filtered from the result set; if all rows are filtered, then a null set will be returned. Read the rest of this post »

Microsoft Azure Helps Drive Healthcare Advances through Analytics

A recent press release from the University of Washington Tacoma provides a great example of how Big Data and Advanced Analytics are having a direct impact on the Healthcare industry. Readmission rates are a hot topic for hospital and health care systems across the country, so the application of cutting edge data science to the task of reducing readmissions could be a literal life-saver.AzureML

This is exactly what the team at MultiCare Health System in Washington found when they asked for assitance from the Center fro Data Science at UW Tacoma.   With the help of an Azure for Research grant from Microsoft, the team was able to leverage Azure to accelerate the data analysis and model building process to develop their “Risk-O-Meter” predictive analytics tool.  This tool is able to predict 30-day readmissions with a walloping 82 percent accuracy rate.  Ccontrast this against a standard accuracy rate of predictive models of around 60 percent.

While initial use of the tool was granted to clinicians, the team was able to expand its availability to patients as well — putting in their hands the ability to predict how likely they are to be readmitted within 30 days given biometric and behavioral inputs.

The collective UW Tacoma and MultiCare teams are now looking towards commercialization of the tool as a “readmission score as a service” offering.  This could help put a serious dent in the estimated $26B annual national cost of 30-day readmissions.  Yes — that’s “Billion” with a B.  To healthcare companies, this is obviously an area with serious potential for cost savings.  And that doesn’t even take into account that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will soon start levying penalties on companies exceeding threshold readmission rates.

And of course, this is obviously of great benefit to patients, who can see a direct link between following their courses of care and avoiding readmission.  The coming together of Big Data technology and Healthcare know-how will continue to provide advances in quality of care and cost savings.   To find out more about how Microsoft and Azure technology play a role, follow these links:

http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=217993&r=1

http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=159290

http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/machine-learning/

Azure: Did You Know? Virtual Machine Config Management – DevOps

By now you’ve heard the term DevOps. (If not, Wikipedia’s definition works.) So what tools are available to me in the Microsoft Azure environment to support DevOps?

051414_1128_techedna2012Azure Virtual Machines have a variety of built-in extensions that can enable configuration management. There are two extensions for Windows Powershell. The custom script extension allows you to run a script on a virtual machine at provisioning time or after it is running. The Windows Powershell DSC Extension allows you to define the state of a virtual machine using the Powershell Desired State Configuration language and apply it. There are also extensions that allow you to configure your virtual machines to use open source configuration management utilities such as Chef, Docker, or Puppet.

If you’d like to know more about DevOps and how Microsoft Azure can help enable your business transformation, contact Perficient and one of our 28 certified Azure consultants can help!

What to consider when moving applications to the Microsoft cloud

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According to Computerworld, 42% of IT decision makers planned to increase spending on cloud computing in 2015. While companies are adopting cloud technologies at rapid pace, migrating from existing technology to the cloud can still be a challenge. For an optimal (read: as smooth and quick as possible) move to the cloud, it’s critical to consider your requirements and explore the available features.

While this ZDNet article where Mary Jo Foley interviews a former Azure evangelist is a couple years old, I think these tips to guide your thought process still hold true: always plan for the long term, start with something simple and know the outcomes you want to achieve.

When done right, migrating on-premises applications to the cloud can lead to a significant ROI. The process, however, can seem rather complex, as there are numerous paths to take and changes that are required. A directive as simple as, “lets move some applications to the cloud,” involves many choices, and must consider an organization’s requirements, evaluation criteria and architectural principles, according to Gartner. You’ll want to look at a number of salient points, which we will cover in a webinar this Wednesday, July 29 at 1 pm CT: Optimize Business Performance by Moving Apps to the Microsoft Cloud.

During the session, Perficient’s Joe Crabtree, National Practice Lead for Custom Application Development, and Chris Pietschmann, a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect, will give an overview of migrations to Microsoft Azure, a rundown of the various service options and a tried and true approach to planning for a successful migration. Read the rest of this post »

Azure, IoT and the Future Enterprise Data Center

The Cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two of the most exciting areas of computer science right now. The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about small devices with sensors and other components that can both gather data from and interact with the real world. The Cloud is the platform perfect for aggregating together all the data from these IoT devices so it can be analyzed using the clouds massive compute and storage resources.

Microsoft has been positioning itself as a leader in the cloud with the Azure Platform since its initial public availability in the beginning of 2010. Since that time, Microsoft has built out the PaaS, IaaS and SaaS features of Azure to be the enterprise data center of the future. The Azure Platform supports any compute, storage, security and server configuration an enterprise would require without needing to build and maintain an expensive internal data center. Azure offers all this while simultaneously offering a far more affordable and superior SLA.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an exciting area of computer science with hardware such as Raspberry Pi 2, Arduino, MinnowBoard Max, Intel Galileo and other DIY style devices available today. The IoT ecosystem has reached a really exciting time where the developer/engineer of IoT devices and systems are no longer required to be engineers that need to design all the hardware themselves. Which ever hardware platform you choose there are plenty of “off the shelf” components that can be easily integrated. This “off the self” or commodity hardware for IoT has made the technology more accessible today than ever before! Read the rest of this post »

Azure: Did You Know? Azure RemoteApp, Access Apps from Any Device

remoteapp imageAzure RemoteApp provides a way to deliver Windows applications to any device with the power and scalability of Azure.  That’s a pretty bold statement… so what, exactly, does it mean?  Essentially, you can package up any Windows application on a VM image hosted in Azure and provide users access to it from any device using Remote Desktop Services.  Being hosted on Azure also means you get benefits such as scalability, fault tolerance, etc. with little to no effort on your part.

Read the rest of this post »

Azure Active Directory Reporting APIs Now Available

shutterstock_100605349 (2)One of the most common things we hear from our clients is their need to automatically access security related reports from Azure AD. With last week’s announcement from Microsoft about AAD Reporting APIs Public Preview, we now have that capability.

Azure AD already has a robust set of activity, security and audit reports, with some of the most useful provided within Azure AD Premium, and they can all easily be viewed within the Azure portal. With the new APIs, we can now programmatically access that data via “any tool or programming language which supports REST APIs with OAuth” and integrate it into a custom dashboard, Power BI/Excel, or your favorite SIEM solution.

The following reports can be accessed via the API:

  • AuditEvents
  • AccountProvisioningEvents
  • SignInsFromUnknownSourcesEvents
  • SignInsFromIPAddressesWithSuspiciousActivityEvents
  • SignInsFromMultipleGeographiesEvents
  • signInsAfterMultipleFailuresEvents
  • signInsFromPossiblyInfectedDevicesEvents (AAD Premium)
  • IrregularSignInActivityEvents (AAD Premium)
  • allUsersWithAnomalousSignInActivityEvents (AAD Premium)
  • CompromisedCredentialsEvent (AAD Premium)

Ready to get started? Check out this guide to Get Started with the Azure AD Reporting API.

MSFT US Partner & Industry Team Partner of the Year: Perficient!

Rich Figer quote with image

I am absolutely thrilled to share that Perficient has been named Microsoft EPG United States Partner and Industry Team Partner of the Year for 2015. This is a huge honor, and we are incredibly thankful to Microsoft, our customers and our partners for sharing in this recognition and working so closely with us this past year.

The newly created award recognizes Perficient for sweeping Microsoft’s regional Enterprise Platform Group (EPG) honors. In addition to the national award, Perficient was named Microsoft’s East Region National Solution Provider (NSP) Partner of the Year, Central Region NSP Partner of the Year and West Region NSP Partner of the Year.

From the press release:

“Perficient’s ability to deliver high-quality digital experiences, business optimization and industry solutions for our largest and most critical customers in the enterprise customer segment is what won them National Solution Provider Partner of the Year across East, Central and West regions in U.S. EPG,” said Rich Figer, Senior Director, U.S. Enterprise Partner Group Sales at Microsoft. “We are also honored to name Perficient the overall U.S. EPG Partner and Industry Team Partner of the Year in 2015 based on unanimous confidence across our partner sales executive teams in all three regions across the United States. They consistently deliver cloud-optimized solutions across our platforms and productivity services with complete customer and Microsoft sales executive satisfaction.”

Perficient has activated over 2.5 million Office 365 seats and has 26 Azure certified consultants, more than any other NSP.

“Microsoft’s enterprise offerings have grown increasingly cloud-based as companies move to adopt this innovative, efficient and secure technology,” said Mike Gersten, Vice President of Perficient’s Microsoft national business group. “Cloud computing lowers operating costs and provides agility and scalability options unavailable on limited legacy infrastructure. We are honored to receive these partner awards, which reflect the strength of Perficient’s Microsoft cloud consultation and delivery expertise at work across the country.”

While at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), it’s also been exciting to see the video highlighting how Perficient and Microsoft have worked together to empower our customers, and in this case, Partners In Health, to achieve more through technology. Dave Mayo, CIO at Partners In Health, spoke of the value of our partnership:

“Perficient’s proven track record in the health care industry, its Microsoft cloud services expertise, and its recognition as a top U.S. Microsoft partner all stood out prominently when we were looking at technology solutions providers,” said Dave Mayo, CIO of Partners In Health. “Thanks to our partnership with Perficient, we have adopted a consolidated, reliable platform for colleague interactions that enables us to more effectively serve the world’s most vulnerable. Perficient’s generosity and support of our efforts has earned our profound gratitude.”

Thanks to our entire team that helped to make this happen. What I love most about working here at Perficient is the people. Our team is second to none, and every single day, I’m amazed by the talent and passion they possess. Sweeping the nation with all three regional awards for Microsoft EPG PTU Partner of the Year is proof of their commitment to helping our customers scale operations and remain agile with Microsoft solutions. Well done, team! I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the coming year.

You can read the full news release here.