Microsoft Build 2021: Highlights

Abstract Tech Image

During the week of May 25, 2021 Microsoft® held its annual Microsoft Build conference. Like many other events, Microsoft Build 2021 was presented virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft is a top SOTI partner and we’re always ready to support and learn about any new announcements, initiatives or insights. It’s a notable event and this year’s conference was no exception.

If there was an overarching theme, it would be that apps and the Cloud are going to play an even bigger role moving forward. With that in mind, we’ve collected some highlights from Microsoft Build 2021.

Cloud-Native Apps Will Continue to Grow

Over the past year technology has been called upon to support frontline workers in all industries, especially healthcare, emergency services, transportation and logistics (T&L), retail and education. App developers have been at the forefront to ensure essential employees have the tools required to safely do their jobs.

At Microsoft Build 2021, Microsoft claimed that the app of the future is cloud-native, which they defined as:

“Packaging application code and dependencies in containers, deploying micro-services or event-driven functions, and exposing events in APIs all managed with DevOps process and tools.”

Businesses are already making the shift from on-premise to the Cloud when it comes to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions such as SOTI MobiControl Cloud. The main reason is security as 83% of IT leaders trust cloud security more than ever and 61% of security professionals believe the Cloud is safer than an on-premise environment.

The challenges for modern apps and those developing them are the same as those responsible for EMM:

  • Agility: Can apps scale up dynamically based on load or demand?
  • Security: Are apps protected against ongoing and intelligent security threats which can steal or compromise sensitive data?

The Bottom Line

Apps, just like remote device management, must be equipped to handle ever-evolving needs, demands and risks. Cloud-native apps which utilize solutions such as Microsoft Azure can ensure faster release, easier management, lower costs, and greater security, reliability and scalability.

Collaborative Apps are the Key to Future Success

Hybrid work – where employees work both at-home and in the office – will become standard once the pandemic finally ends. Globally, approximately 69% of companies are considering implementing the hybrid work model on a permanent basis.

Because of this, apps must be centered around supporting “group collaboration versus individual productivity.” The future of apps must focus on synchronous and asynchronous modes of collaboration. Let’s break this down further:

  • Synchronous collaboration: Apps must allow for real-time collaboration between at least two parties (examples include live chat sessions or phone calls). Synchronous capabilities are critical when in-depth interactions and instant resolutions are required, such as dealing with a critical customer service issue.
  • Asynchronous collaboration: Remote work allows businesses to hire the best from around the world. The challenge? When it’s 11 a.m. in Toronto, it’s 1 a.m. the next day in Sydney, Australia. Asynchronous apps allow for delays between messages, interactions and responses. They’re incredibly flexible and very time zone friendly.

Collaborative apps empower end users to “easily work with others to complete their projects and stay in the flow of work without needing to context switch between multiple apps and data.”

But building these apps shouldn’t be complicated. Simplified app development – such as that enabled by SOTI Snap – allow developers, regardless of skill, to build once and deploy to any device on any operating system: Android, Apple, Linux and of course, Windows.

The Bottom Line

The days of walking over to a colleague’s desk and asking for an ad hoc whiteboard session to solve a problem, while they may not be totally over, are at least drastically reduced. Apps are going to do more heavy lifting when it comes to collaboration. Building and deploying collaborative apps in an easy and timely manner is essential to business success in this ‘new normal’ of hybrid work.

Zero-Trust Ready Apps Are A Must

Microsoft defines zero-trust by the following principles:

  • Verify explicitly: Authenticate and authorize based on the user, their location, the device they’re on, and what data and app they are seeking to access.
  • Least-privileged access: Limit user access with just-in-time and just enough access to minimize risk and maximize data protection.
  • Always assume breach: Never assume app data is always 100% secure and take steps to limit its vulnerability with things like encryption protocols.

Due to the pandemic, 88% of businesses around the world requested or required their employees to work from home. As such, enterprise app development skyrocketed to help remote employees stay productive while staying home. At one point there was an 800% surge in cyberattacks and security breaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These statistics are not mutually exclusive. Hackers have taken advantage to steal sensitive user, customer and corporate data. App developers must now consider the security of their apps as well as their usability as “old security paradigms are no longer enough.” According to Microsoft Build 2021 here’s why:

  • The level of sophistication for attacks continues to rise. Threats are evolving, are more complex than ever before and apps aren’t always equipped to handle them.

The Bottom Line

The more important the app, the greater the risk to its data. Following best practices – such as limiting access and asking for explicit user verification via things like app roles and permissions – ensures the right people on the right devices are using the right apps the right way and for the right reasons.

Consider Multi-Cloud Compliance Apps

Nearly all enterprises have embraced the multi-cloud as 93% of companies now use multiple cloud service providers. Here’s why they do so:

  • Power of selection: Organizations like having the flexibility to choose multiple cloud vendors without feeling ‘locked in’ to any single solution.
  • Disaster protection: Peace of mind knowing that if one cloud environment goes offline due to a natural disaster or human error, there is another one standing by to maintain uptime.
  • Compliance: Having multi-cloud environments can help businesses in all industries achieve compliance for governance, risk management and data protection.

The example given at Microsoft Build 2021 was a doctor, through an app with video conferencing capabilities, is explaining a potential vaccine trial to a patient who is considering participating in the trial. Once the patient agrees, they can sign a consent form directly in the app which can then be stored and accessed safely in multiple cloud instances.

The Bottom Line

Many companies have multi-cloud strategies to help with data collection via apps. Ensuring these apps are compliant and compatible with numerous cloud solutions offers extra protection against threats and other regulatory requirements.

Want to Learn More About SOTI and Microsoft?

Check out these resources:

Of course, you can also contact us anytime with your questions about managing your Windows devices with SOTI. Better still, you can see how easy it is yourself with a free 30-day trial of the SOTI ONE Platform.