Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Inspire 2019
Photo: Microsoft

Embrace, extend, Ignite

Protocol Enterprise

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: Microsoft shows off its latest enterprise tech announcements at Ignite ‘22, what you need to know about the Mobileye IPO, and why identity-based security tools are so hot right now.

Light a fire

It was Microsoft’s turn in the spotlight Wednesday, the first day of its Ignite event. Coming the day after Google Cloud’s Next '22 event, Microsoft rolled out some incremental advances to a host of its cloud and enterprise software products, and highlighted some of its more interesting AI projects underway.

Here are a few areas from CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote speech that stood out to us.

In the cybersecurity arena, Microsoft made a handful of product announcementstoday at Ignite including across code and cloud security, identity governance, and security operations.

  • Updates announced for the Microsoft Defender for Cloud product include the introduction of Defender for DevOps, which aims to provide improved insights around code security and remediation of vulnerabilities, and Defender Cloud Security Posture Management for prioritizing and addressing cloud security risks such as misconfigurations.
  • Microsoft also announced Entra Identity Governance, which provides visibility and control over user access to corporate resources, as well as automation for ensuring that users receive the right permissions based on their role.
  • "It really helps you check and control identities [so they] don't get misused or get excessive access," said Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president for security, compliance, identity, management, and privacy at Microsoft, in an interview.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft said that with Sentinel, its cloud-native SIEM (security information and event management) tool, lower-cost options for ingesting certain types of log data are now generally available.
  • The announcement came a day after Google Cloud announced the launch of Chronicle Security Operations, a Sentinel competitor that aims to stand out with lower-cost data ingestion.

GitHub Copilot is already writing 40% of the code for users of the AI pair programming tool, which turns natural-language prompts into suggested code, according to Nadella.

  • Developers are able to code 50% faster using Copilot, which became generally available to all developers in June, Nadella said.
  • “Just like the rise of compilers and interpreters, we believe AI-assisted coding will fundamentally change the nature of software development, giving developers a new tool to write better code easier and faster,” Nadella said.
  • “We are experimenting with new functionality through GitHub Copilot Labs, like explain code, which lets you highlight a block of code and see what it does in plain English, and translate code, which lets you select a language and translate the code into it,” said Nadella, who promised more news on Copilot at next month’s GitHub Universe conference.

Microsoft is also previewing AI-powered, natural-language Copilot capabilities for Power Automate, its service that helps create automated workflows between apps and services.

  • “You can describe what you want to automate, and it'll generate suggested flows to jumpstart your flow creation,” Nadella said. “All that's left for you to do is simply set up the connectors and finalize the flow design.”
  • Power Automate uses OpenAI Codex to translate the provided everyday language description into code and then produces a list of corresponding flows that can be created instantly.
— Kyle Alspach (email | twitter) and Donna Goodison (email | twitter)


Today, we expect instant results from our every action, from calling an Uber to ordering a t-shirt. Companies can no longer afford to not adopt technologies like automation. We are now living in the Automation Economy – a new world that requires agility and a complete reimagining of how we work.

Learn more

Mobileye set to test the IPO market

It’s clear from the Mobileye prospectus Intel filed on the last day of September that the Israel-based self-driving car business is one of the strongest divisions the company operates.

Mobileye reported a net loss of $67 million on revenue of $854 million for the six months ending in July, nearly a 20% jump in the top line compared with the year-ago period. Most of that revenue comes from its custom-designed EyeQ chips that it sells to automotive suppliers.

Compared with Intel’s other struggling businesses, Mobileye is a highlight (you can read our full write-up of the Mobileye prospectus here).

Filing the Mobileye S-1 is a clear signal — though not a guarantee — Intel is inching closer to its promise to IPO the business. Intel will bank $3.5 billion from the transaction, though it’s not yet clear how much Mobileye will make, or what valuation it can achieve.

Mobileye has a clear advantage in that it started working on assisted driving and self-driving tech in 1999, at the same time Nvidia was still in the graphics card business. Now Mobileye makes chips, and a suite of cloud-based software that offers more advanced driver help, and it operates a robotaxi unit.

The company does need to watch out: Nvidia and Qualcomm are making concerted efforts to muscle their way into the auto chip business, and have announced a number of big new customers that will begin to pay off in the coming years.

— Max A. Cherney (email | twitter)

Identity security rocks

For those still harboring doubts about the momentum in identity security after reading our special report last week, behold another piece of evidence: ForgeRock has a deal to get acquired by PE firm Thoma Bravo for $2.3 billion, at a 53% share price premium. I spoke with ForgeRock CEO Fran Rosch for that report, and while our interview obviously took place before the Thoma Bravo deal emerged, I think it sheds some light on the news.

When identity is done right, how much can that improve an enterprise's security?

I think substantially. I think the trick is, how do you continue to improve that security without becoming like Fort Knox, where you're so locked down that your users can't do anything? So we're really trying to help our customers do both — improve that security posture, but also make things more user-friendly.

What's an example of how you’re doing that with ForgeRock?

We released a tool several years ago called autonomous identity, or self-driving identity, that can take algorithms [and run them] across a customer's data set. And the anomalies really jump out. It's good for a one-time cleanup of any risky entitlements. But it could also be used if a new employee starts, or an existing employee requests access to a new set of applications or information. If that request makes sense, and it's aligned with [their role], it can give them instant access — no human intervention required. But it can also block requests where there's no reason they should need access to that information.

What does the future look like for identity security?

I think ultimately, users are going to demand better, more frictionless experiences, without compromising on security. I think the ultimate winners in this [space] are ones who can bring more intelligence, by collecting signals behind the scenes of user and device behavior. That's really where we're investing as a company. It's [also about] making that intelligence actionable for our customers. That's what they care about.

— Kyle Alspach (email | twitter)

Around the enterprise

Applied Materials warned investors that the Biden Administration’s new chip-export controls would reduce revenue for the current quarter by $250 million to $550 million, sending its shares lower in after-hours trading.

The U.S. Army plans to solicit bids for a $1 billioncloud-migration project, as the broader military continues to ponder the much-bigger JWCC contract.


Today, we expect instant results from our every action, from calling an Uber to ordering a t-shirt. Companies can no longer afford to not adopt technologies like automation. We are now living in the Automation Economy – a new world that requires agility and a complete reimagining of how we work.

Learn more

Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!

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