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Microsoft Makes Security Improvements

Microsoft cloud services are being strengthened in regards to encryption, and this purposely will increase transparency and accessibility for customers and governments by allowing more access to the code at the base of its services.

According to Matt Thomlinson, vice president of trustworthy computing security at Microsoft, the company has successfully taken large steps towards making its cloud services more safe for customers.

Microsoft has added Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption to incoming and outgoing emails sent through Outlook.com, and Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption support for sending and receiving mail between different email providers, and for OneDrive which is Microsoft’s storage cloud.

A different encryption key is used for every connection with forward secrecy, making it more difficult for hackers to decrypt links.

“We are in the midst of a comprehensive engineering effort to strengthen encryption across our networks and services,” Matt Thomlinson said.

Their actions of adding stronger encryption to Microsoft services such as email and cloud storage platform builds on other recent efforts rooted in empowering the security of and confidence in Microsoft cloud services.

Additionally, Microsoft has also opened another Transparency Centre, this time at the company’s campus in Redmond, Washington, in an invitation to improve confidence in the security integrity of its platforms. Transparency Centers will let governments appraise the source code for major Microsoft services and products, guaranteeing them of the software’s totality and soundness.

The encryption work builds on the existing protections already in many of Microsoft products and services; for example, Microsoft Azure, Skype and Office 365, and some improvements made over the last six months. A few examples include improved message encryption in Office 365 as well as Azure’s addition of ExpressRoute, a service that lets businesses create private connections between Azure data centers and infrastructure on their premises or in a third-party location environment. This is a significant engineering effort given the large number of Microsoft services offered and the hundreds of millions of customers served worldwide.

The Redmond location is the first in a number of regional transparency centers that Microsoft plans to open. This first transparency centre announced by Matt Thomlinson on behalf of the company in a tech post was opened on the 1st of July, 2014.

Matt Thomlinson assures the public, “As with most things relating to security, the landscape is ever changing. Our work is ongoing and we are continuing to advance on engineering and policy commitments with the goal of increasing protection for your data and increasing transparency in our processes. ”

In sum, Outlook.com is now further protected by Transport Layer Security, or TLS, encryption for both outgoing and incoming email; OneDrive has now enabled PFS encryption support as well; and Microsoft look at opening additional transparency centers at other locations. With such innovations, the Microsoft services are sure to stir up confidence in customers.

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