Microsoft to partner with Kenya and African governments to transform education for Millions of students

Microsoft has committed to collaborate with the Ministry of Education in Kenya as well as governments across Africa to transform the education sector.

During an event in London by The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and hosted by hosted by the UK Government and President Kenyatta of Kenya, Microsoft acknowledged the importance of public and private partnership to enable educators and education leaders to best use technology to dramatically enhance learning and improve outcomes.

“Microsoft has formidable partnership with the Kenya’s Ministry of Education and all its stakeholders that spans over two decades,” said Angela Nganga Microsoft Education Industry Lead, MEA Emerging Markets. “We affirm our commitment to addressing the urgent challenges presented by the global pandemic but most importantly be a strategic and resourceful partner in designing scalable and sustainable solutions for the education sector.”

Since the onset of Covid, digital transformation of education to enable access to quality education has become more critical than ever. At the same time, education financing is at risk as countries have scrambled to rally public funds to support health systems and investments. To address this critical challenge, Microsoft is proud to be working together with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the largest global fund solely dedicated to transforming education in lower-income countries.

GPE recently convened governments and the private sector at the highest level online and in London, to commit to education funding of $5 billion over the next 5 years, along with commitments from GPE partner countries on domestic financing for education.

The event attended online and in person by Heads of State from countries including Ghana, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, as well as several European nations, and parts of the private sector also included a round table focusing on the growing role business partners and philanthropy play in addressing challenges related to girls’ education and data.

Led by Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and Helen Grant, UK’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Ed, this discussion included Microsoft’s Steve Beswick, Education Director for Europe, Middle East & Africa. Heads of State from several countries were in attendance for the meeting in addition to Kenya, including Ghana, Afghanistan, and Nigeria along with serval European leaders.

‘Microsoft is proud to be working with Global Partnership for Education for this new phase of education transformation. We are excited to engage in the Education Data Leadership program (EDLP), an important initiative to enable education systems to gather more accurate education data, analyze it and make use of it in effective decision-making. It will capitalize on the existing investment we are making in countries supported by GPE.” said Beswick.

“Microsoft is one of our highly valued allies in the drive to address partner countries’ needs for strong, clear and actionable education data. Colleagues from Microsoft contributed their expertise to the Education Data Solutions Roundtable, including in developing guidelines for strengthening education management information systems. Now this business partner is similarly providing in-kind its technical know-how to the new Education Data Leadership Program – which will boost the data skills/capabilities of education ministries. Those skills can be game-changing, and we’re delighted to have this strong working partnership with Microsoft to help advance education system transformation.” Noted Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of GPE.

The EDLP aims to support partner countries to strengthen data competency and enhance its education data management systems. Collaborating with business and country partners, the EDLP will provide the Data Boot Camp to the Ministry of Education data teams—professional development sessions that will elevate skills and produce data leaders. The Bootcamps aim to develop a generation of high-performing education data scientists in GPE partner countries. For the EDLP, the initial key countries identified are Kenya, Uganda, Tajikistan, Nepal, and DRC.

Through Microsoft Office 365 A1 for Education, offered for free to education systems, Microsoft is already supporting GPE beneficiary countries by providing Microsoft Office 365 A1 for Education at no cost to education systems, with an estimated value of several million dollars per year.  The EDLP will enable Ministries of Education to leverage data available to them in Office 365 to gain insight into teaching, learning and administration taking place in schools using the platform.

Microsoft will also bring together training and support based around Microsoft’s platform for digital skills training, Microsoft Learn as well as Open Edu Analytics a fully open-sourced data integration and analytics architecture and reference implementation for the education sector.

www.microsoft.com

Microsoft launches cloud PC service with Windows 365

As some regions begin to make their way out of the challenges and disruption of the past 18 months, we’re seeing a new world of work emerge. Organizations everywhere have transformed themselves through virtual processes and remote collaboration. And as people embrace hybrid work with people returning to the office, continuing to work from home, or some mix of the two things will be different all over again.

The ability to work whenever, however, and wherever it’s needed has become the new normal. All employees want technology that’s familiar, easy to use, and available across devices. And in the most complex cybersecurity environment we’ve ever seen, businesses need a solution that helps their employees collaborate, share, and create while also keeping their data safe and secure. 

We have an opportunity to design the tools that will empower this new world of hybrid work with a new perspective and the power and security of the cloud.  

We’re excited to announce Windows 365, a cloud service that introduces a new way to experience Windows 10 or Windows 11 (when it’s generally available later this calendar year) for workers from interns and contractors to software developers and industrial designers. Windows 365 takes the operating system to the Microsoft Cloud, securely streaming the full Windows experience including all your apps, data, and settings to your personal or corporate devices. This approach creates a fully new personal computing category, specifically for the hybrid world: the Cloud PC.

One of the most important design principles of Windows 365 is simplicity. You can choose the size of the Cloud PC that best meets your needs with per user per month pricing. Organizations have two edition options that include a complete cloud-based offering with multiple Cloud PC configurations based on performance needs: Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise.

For IT, we built Windows 365 to be consistent with how you manage your physical devices now. Your Cloud PCs show up right alongside your physical devices in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and you can apply management and security policies to them just as you do to all your other devices.

Windows 365 is built on Azure Virtual Desktop, but it simplifies the virtualization experience—handling all the details for you. You can scale processing power and monitor the performance of the Cloud PC to make sure your users are getting the best experience. We’ve also built analytics into the service to look at connection health across networks to make sure your Cloud PC users can reach everything they need on your network to be productive. From the Endpoint Analytics dashboard, you can easily identify the Cloud PC environments that are not delivering the performance needs of a given user, and not only can you get recommendations, but you can also upgrade them at the touch of a button, which is immediately applied without missing a beat. Our new Watchdog Service also continually runs diagnostics to help to keep connections up-and-running at all times. If a diagnostic check fails, we’ll alert you and even give suggestions for how to correct the issue. 

Windows 365 creates new opportunities for partners of all types across the Microsoft ecosystem to deliver new Windows experiences from the cloud.

Independent software vendors can continue to build Windows apps, and now, deliver them in the cloud to reach a broader audience. Windows 365 also presents new development opportunities, leveraging APIs available to partners, enabling them to bring their own innovations to market. In fact, check out the Tech Community blog that highlights the solutions ISVs like Nerdio, UKG, Service Now, and Net App are announcing today in support of different user scenarios with Windows 365.

Our customers will look to system integrators and managed service providers to help them get the most out of their entire Windows estate, using the additional services that our partners like Accenture/Avanade, Atos, Crayon, Content and Cloud, Convergent, Coretek, DXC, Glueck & Kanja GAB, Insight, and Netrix continue to bring to market. For small and midsize businesses, partners like Iconic IT LLC, MachineLogic LLC, and Nitec Solutions already support Windows 365 and can assist with additional services. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) gain an opportunity to integrate Windows 365 into their broad portfolio of services alongside their devices’ robust features and secure hardware.

Cloud PC represents the next big step in cloud computing that connects the Microsoft Cloud and personal devices in a powerful new way. With the announcement of Windows 365, we’re inviting organizations, employees, and partners to reimagine experiences with Windows and their devices and look forward to creating new scenarios for users everywhere.

Windows 365 will be available on August 2, 2021, to organizations of all sizes. 

www.microsoft.com

Microsoft to acquire RiskIQ to strengthen cybersecurity of digital transformation and hybrid work

Organizations are increasingly using the cloud to reimagine every facet of their business. Hybrid work has accelerated this digital transformation, and customers are challenged with the increasing sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks. Today, Microsoft is announcing that we have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RiskIQ, a leader in global threat intelligence and attack surface management, to help our shared customers build a more comprehensive view of the global threats to their businesses, better understand vulnerable internet-facing assets, and build world-class threat intelligence.

As organizations pursue this digital transformation and embrace the concept of Zero Trust, their applications, infrastructure, and even IoT applications are increasingly running across multiple clouds and hybrid cloud environments. Effectively the internet is becoming their new network, and it’s increasingly critical to understand the full scope of their assets to reduce their attack surface.

RiskIQ helps customers discover and assess the security of their entire enterprise attack surface—in the Microsoft cloud, AWS, other clouds, on-premises, and from their supply chain. With more than a decade of experience scanning and analyzing the internet, RiskIQ can help enterprises identify and remediate vulnerable assets before an attacker can capitalize on them.

“The vision and mission of RiskIQ is to provide unmatched internet visibility and insights to better protect and inform our customers and partners’ security programs. We’re thrilled to add RiskIQ’s Attack Surface and Threat Intelligence solutions to the Microsoft Security portfolio, extending and accelerating our impact. Our combined capabilities will enable best-in-class protection, investigations, and response against today’s threats.”—RiskIQ Cofounder and CEO Elias Manousos

In addition, RiskIQ offers global threat intelligence collected from across the internet, crowd-sourced through its PassiveTotal community of security researchers and analyzed using machine learning. Organizations can leverage RiskIQ threat intelligence to gain context into the source of attacks, tools and systems, and indicators of compromise to detect and neutralize attacks quickly.

The combination of RiskIQ’s attack surface management and threat intelligence empowers security teams to assemble, graph, and identify connections between their digital attack surface and attacker infrastructure and activities to help provide increased protection and faster response.

Microsoft has long been a leader in delivering end-to-end cloud-native security with Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft Azure Defender, and Microsoft Azure Sentinel that help protect, detect, and respond to threats in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. With the acquisition of RiskIQ, we will continue our mission to help customers defend their growing digital estate against increasing cyber threats.

RiskIQ has built a strong customer base and community of security professionals who we will continue to support, nurture, and grow. RiskIQ’s technology and team will be a powerful addition to our security portfolio to best serve our mutual customers. 

www.microsoft.com

Microsoft, Accenture, GitHub and ThoughtWorks start Green Software Foundation

As the world works to address the urgent carbon crisis, more companies than ever before are making environmental impact pledges to be carbon neutral or carbon negative. Accenture, GitHub, Microsoft and ThoughtWorks are proud to be among the companies that have made commitments to help address the global climate crisis, but as an industry, we can come together to accomplish more.

Today, at Microsoft’s annual (virtual) Build Developers Conference, software development is front and center and at the heart of every keynote, every session and every panel. As we think about the future of the software industry, we believe we have a responsibility to help build a better future – a more sustainable future – both internally at our organizations and in partnership with industry leaders around the globe. With data centers around the world accounting for 1% of global electricity demand, and projections to consume 3-8% in the next decade, it’s imperative we address this as an industry.

To help in that endeavor, we’re excited to announce the formation of The Green Software Foundation – a nonprofit founded by Accenture, GitHub, Microsoft and ThoughtWorks established with the Linux Foundation and the Joint Development Foundation Projects LLC to build a trusted ecosystem of people, standards, tooling and leading practices for building green software. The Green Software Foundation was born out of a mutual desire and need to collaborate across the software industry. Organizations with a shared commitment to sustainability and an interest in green software development principles are encouraged to join the foundation to help grow the field of green software engineering, contribute to standards for the industry, and work together to reduce the carbon emissions of software. The foundation aims to help the software industry contribute to the information and communications technology sector’s broader targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Paul Daugherty, group chief executive – Technology and chief technology officer at Accenture, said, “Sustainability is our greatest responsibility, and this is the decade that organizations must deliver on their promises to improve our communities and our planet. Accenture is proud to be a founding member of the Green Software Foundation and we look forward to collaborating with other organizations to evolve the culture of software engineering so sustainability is embedded by design, contributing to a meaningful reduction in the carbon emissions of computing and making a positive impact on the environment.”

Erica Brescia, chief operating officer, GitHub, said, “We envision a future where carbon-free software is standard—where software development, deployment, and use contribute to the global climate solution without every developer having to be an expert. GitHub is proud to be a founding member of the Green Software Foundation and we remain committed to building an environmentally sustainable home for all developers.”

Mike Dolan, general manager and senior vice president, the Linux Foundation, said “The software industry and open source software community have both the opportunity and ability to build digital infrastructure with the least possible impact to our environment.  We are happy to support the Green Software Foundation and its mission to build a neutral ecosystem for collaboration on standards, tooling and best practices for green software.”

Brad Smith, president, Microsoft, added, “The scientific consensus is clear: the world confronts an urgent carbon problem. It will take all of us working together to create innovative solutions to drastically reduce emissions. Today, Microsoft is joining with organizations who are serious about an environmentally sustainable future to drive adoption of green software development to help our customers and partners around the world reduce their carbon footprint.”

Alongside founding members, Accenture, GitHub, Microsoft and ThoughtWorks, Goldman Sachs and nonprofits including Leaders for Climate Action, Watt Time and The Green Web Foundation have also joined The Green Software Foundation.

The purpose of the Green Software Foundation:

  • Establish green software industry standards: The foundation will create and publish green software standards, green patterns and practices across various computing disciplines and technology domains. The group will encourage voluntary adoption and help guide government policy toward those standards for a consistent approach for measuring and reporting green software emissions.
  • Accelerate innovation: To grow the green software field, we need to nurture the creation of trusted open-source and open-data projects that support the creation of green software applications. The foundation will work alongside our nonprofit partners and academia to support research into green software.
  • Drive awareness and grow advocacy: If we want companies to build greener applications, they need people who know how to build them. As such, one of our key missions is to drive widespread adoption of green software across the industry through ambassador programs, training and education which leads to certification and events to facilitate the growth of green software

www.blogs.microsoft.com