Microsoft’s Q2 Azure revenue up 50%, commercial cloud run rate at $66.8 billion; forecast tops consensus

Microsoft’s second quarter blew by expectations as its commercial cloud sales surged 34% en route to a $66.8 billion annual revenue run rate.

The company forecast revenue this quarter, moreover, as much as $2.5 billion higher than Wall Street’s expectations.

For the three months ended in December, Microsoft reported second quarter net income of $15.5 billion, or $2.03 a share, on revenue of $43.1 billion, up 17% from a year ago.

Wall Street was expecting Microsoft to report second quarter earnings of $40.18 billion with earnings of $1.64 a share.

CEO Satya Nadella said digital transformation and cloud demand drove results for Microsoft. Indeed, Azure revenue growth was up 50% in the second quarter.

Microsoft’s growth was strong across most product lines.

Analysts said that Microsoft has benefited from COVID-19 and remote work. Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, said:

For Redmond, this cloud shift and WFH dynamic looks here

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New Google cloud service aims to bring zero trust security to the web

Google has announced general availability of BeyondCorp Enterprise, a new security service from Google Cloud based on the principle of designing networks with zero trust. 

As US security companies come to terms with the SolarWinds supply chain hack, Google and Microsoft are talking up their capabilities in the cloud around zero trust. 

Microsoft last week urged customers to adopt a “zero trust mentality” and abandon the assumption that everything inside an IT network is safe and now Google has launched the BeyondCorp Enterprise service based around the same concept. 

“Zero trust assumes there is no implicit trust granted to assets or user accounts based solely on their physical or network location (i.e., local area networks versus the internet) or based on asset ownership (enterprise or personally owned),” explains the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  

“Authentication and authorization (both subject and device) are discrete functions performed before a

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Lynk, which uses AI to connect clients, like governments, with 840K+ experts in a variety of fields, raises $24M, bringing its total raised to $30M (Catherine Shu/TechCrunch)

Catherine Shu / TechCrunch:

Lynk, which uses AI to connect clients, like governments, with 840K+ experts in a variety of fields, raises $24M, bringing its total raised to $30M  —  Lynk, a “knowledge-as-a-service” platform that connects clients with over 840,000 experts in a wide range of fields, announced today … … Read More

Grindr complaint results in €9.6m GDPR fine

Datatilsynet, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, has issued LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr an advanced notification of a NOK100m (€9.6m/£8.5m) fine – or 10% of turnover as per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – over its alleged collection and sharing of sensitive user data with third-party advertisers without appropriate consent.

The fine came about as the result of a legal complaint filed last year by Forbrukerrådet, the Norwegian Consumer Council, highlighting how advertising technology companies receive personal data about the interests, habits and behaviour of their users for use in targeted advertising, which can also potentially lead to discrimination, manipulation and exploitation.

Such concerns are amplified when it comes to Grindr, a social networking app that over the years has supplanted traditional cruising for gay men by making casual sexual encounters much easier, because many of its users live in jurisdictions where LGBTQ+ people can be legally discriminated

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Microsoft: Excel on the web just got a whole lot easier to use

Microsoft has shown off performance improvements for Excel on the web, with faster workbook loading, scrolling, selection, navigation and cell modification. 

While there are other options, like Google Sheets and Apple Numbers, Microsoft’s Excel remains the dominant spreadsheet program today. 

Excel for the web has just gained a host of productivity improvements that focus on opening workbooks, scrolling through them and manipulating cells. 

SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)

According to Microsoft, loading a new Excel workbook should be much faster now and make for a zippy experience when working with numbers in Excel on the web.   

Microsoft has also set its engineers on scrolling, a long-running complaint among macOS users who like to use Excel online

“Scrolling is a fundamental part of working in Excel. Now, even in incredibly complex sheets, scrolling is smooth and fast,” Microsoft says. 

Cell selection should also be improved with the

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Cybercriminals use deceased staff accounts to spread Nemty ransomware

Cybercriminals will often use brute-force attacks, phishing emails, and existing data dumps to break into corporate networks but there is one area that is often ignored to a company’s detriment: ghost accounts. 

It is not always the case that when a staff member leaves their employ, whether due to a new job offer, changes of circumstance, illness, or in unfortunate cases, death, that their accounts are removed from corporate networks. 

This oversight is one that cybercriminals are now taking advantage of, and in a recent case, actively exploited in order to spread ransomware. 

In a case study documented by Sophos’ cyberforensics group Rapid Response on Tuesday, an organization reached out after being infected by Nemty ransomware. 

According to Sophos, the ransomware — also known as Nefilim — impacted over 100 systems, encrypting valuable files and demanding payment in return for a decryption key. 

First detected in 2019, Nemty was

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