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Windows Azure now offers encryption key management for users

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We’ve got an interesting array of Windows Azure news and developments for this week’s Azure update.

The first item is timely in light of recent allegations of domestic cyber-spying by the U.S. National Security Agency. Microsoft unveiled new security functionality that allows users of Windows Azure to use their own encryption keys to protect data in the cloud. This new functionality from the Windows Azure Rights Management Service (RMS) allows users to “generate and manage the encryption keys used to protect information flowing on, or stored in the cloud,” according to V3.co.uk magazine. Read more here at Microsoft’s RMS product team blog.

This past Monday, Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie blogged a whole raft of Windows Azure updates and improvements. It’s an impressive list of items. Guthrie provides detailed Azure-focused updates on Notification Hubs, developer analytics, billing, service bus, HDInsight, VMs and more.

On the Windows Azure pricing front, ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley is right to point out that Microsoft fulfilled its promise to release on November 1 new discounts to Azure and server products. Under this new plan, Microsoft is offering its enterprise customers a way to “standardize broadly on one or more key Server and Cloud technologies from Microsoft,” according to Microsoft. The new Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) plan includes Azure, Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server and SharePoint Server.

On the mobile front, it’s worth noting Microsoft’s release (in late October) of its Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) product. According to Microsoft’s Rob Tiffany, this new EMM solution is comprised of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune. Its EMM components are an alphabet soup of acronyms – MDM, MAM, MIM and MCM – and altogether give enterprises a comprehensive way to manage their employees’ work-oriented mobile devices.

Last but not least, good to see Microsoft’s release of its Windows Azure SDK 2.2, which, among many of its other features, allows for integrated sign-in capability to Windows Azure from Visual Studio.

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