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AZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies 2023

Manage identity and access (20-25%)

Configure Azure Active Directory for workloads

 create App Registration

 configure App Registration permission scopes

 manage App Registration permission consent

 configure Multi-Factor Authentication settings

 manage Azure AD directory groups

 manage Azure AD users

 install and configure Azure AD Connect

 configure authentication methods

 implement Conditional Access policies

 configure Azure AD identity protection

Configure Azure AD Privileged Identity Management

 monitor privileged access

 configure Access Reviews

 activate Privileged Identity Management

Configure Azure tenant security

 transfer Azure subscriptions between Azure AD tenants

 manage API access to Azure subscriptions and resources

Implement platform protection (35-40%)

Implement network security

 configure virtual network connectivity

 configure Network Security Groups (NSGs)

 create and configure Azure Firewall

 create and configure Azure Front Door service

 create and configure application security groups

 configure remote access management

 configure baseline

 configure resource firewall

Implement host security

 configure endpoint security within the VM

 configure VM security

 harden VMs in Azure

 configure system updates for VMs in Azure

 configure baseline

Configure container security

 configure network

 configure authentication

 configure container isolation

 configure AKS security

 configure container registry

 implement vulnerability management

Implement Azure Resource management security

 create Azure resource locks

 manage resource group security

 configure Azure policies

 configure custom RBAC roles

 configure subscription and resource permissions

Manage security operations (15-20%)

Configure security services

 configure Azure Monitor

 configure diagnostic logging and log retention

 configure vulnerability scanning

Configure security policies

 configure centralized policy management by using Azure Security Center

 configure Just in Time VM access by using Azure Security Center

Manage security alerts

 create and customize alerts

 review and respond to alerts and recommendations

 configure a playbook for a security event by using Azure Security Center

 investigate escalated security incidents

Secure data and applications (25-30%)
Configure security policies to manage data

 configure data classification

 configure data retention

 configure data sovereignty

Configure security for data infrastructure

 enable database authentication

 enable database auditing

 configure Azure SQL Database Advanced Threat Protection

 configure access control for storage accounts

 configure key management for storage accounts

 configure Azure AD authentication for Azure Storage

 configure Azure AD Domain Services authentication for Azure Files

 create and manage Shared Access Signatures (SAS)

 configure security for HDInsight

 configure security for Cosmos DB

 configure security for Azure Data Lake

Configure encryption for data at rest

 implement Azure SQL Database Always Encrypted

 implement database encryption

 implement Storage Service Encryption

 implement disk encryption

Configure application security

 configure SSL/TLS certs

 configure Azure services to protect web apps

 create an application security baseline

Configure and manage Key Vault

 manage access to Key Vault

 manage permissions to secrets, certificates, and keys

 configure RBAC usage in Azure Key Vault

 manage certificates

 manage secrets

 configure key rotation
Microsoft Azure Security Technologies 2023
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Microsoft Azure Security Technologies 2022
Question: 114
You have an Azure web app named webapp1.
You need to configure continuous deployment for webapp1 by using an Azure Repo.
What should you create first?
A. an Azure Application Insights service
B. an Azure DevOps organization
C. an Azure Storage account
D. an Azure DevTest Labs lab
Answer: B
Question: 115
You have an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant that contains the users shown in the following table.
In Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM), the Role settings for the Contributor role are configured as
shown in the exhibit. (Click the Exhibit tab.)
You assign users the Contributor role on May 1, 2019 as shown in the following table.
For each of the following statements, select Yes if the statement is true. Otherwise, select No. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
Question: 116
You plan to connect several Windows servers to the WS11641655 Azure Log Analytics workspace.
You need to ensure that the events in the System event logs are collected automatically to the workspace after you
connect the Windows servers.
To complete this task, sign in to the Azure portal and modify the Azure resources.
Answer: Azure Monitor can collect events from the Windows event logs or Linux Syslog and performance counters
that you specify for longer term analysis and reporting, and take action when a particular condition is detected. Follow
these steps to configure collection of events from the Windows system log and Linux Syslog, and several common
performance counters to start with.
Data collection from Windows VM
Question: 117
You have 10 virtual machines on a single subnet that has a single network security group (NSG).
You need to log the network traffic to an Azure Storage account.
Which two actions should you perform? Each correct answer presents part of the solution. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
A. Install the Network Performance Monitor solution.
B. Enable Azure Network Watcher.
C. Enable diagnostic logging for the NS
E. Enable NSG flow logs.
F. Create an Azure Log Analytics workspace.
Answer: B,D
A network security group (NSG) enables you to filter inbound traffic to, and outbound traffic from, a virtual machine
(VM). You can log network traffic that flows through an NSG with Network Watchers NSG flow log capability.
Steps include:
Create a VM with a network security group
Enable Network Watcher and register the Microsoft. Insights provider
Enable a traffic flow log for an NSG, using Network Watchers NSG flow log capability
Download logged data
View logged data
Question: 118
You have an Azure Active Din-dory (Azure AD) tenant named that contains a user named User1.
You plan to publish several apps in the tenant.
You need to ensure that User1 can grant admin consent for the published apps.
Which two possible user roles can you assign to User! to achieve this goal? Each correct answer presents a complete
solution. NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
A. Application developer
B. Security administrator
C. Application administrator
D. User administrator
E. Cloud application administrator
Answer: C,E
Question: 119
You have an Azure subscription that contains an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant.
When a developer attempts to register an app named App1 in the tenant, the developer receives the error message
shown in the following exhibit.
You need to ensure that the developer can register App1 in the tenant.
What should you do for the tenant?
A. Modify the User settings
B. Set Enable Security default to Yes.
C. Modify the Directory properties.
D. Configure the Consent and permissions settings for enterprise applications.
Answer: A
Question: 120
You plan to implement JIT VM access.
Which virtual machines will be supported?
A. VM1 and VM3 only
B. VM1. VM2. VM3, and VM4
C. VM2, VM3, and VM4 only
D. VM1 only
Answer: A
Question: 121
You have an Azure subscription named Sub1 that is associated to an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant
You are assigned the Global administrator role for the tenant. You are responsible for managing Azure Security Center
You need to create a custom sensitivity label.
What should you do first?
A. Create a custom sensitive information type.
B. Elevate access for global administrators in Azure A
D. Upgrade the pricing tier of the Security Center to Standard.
E. Enable integration with Microsoft Cloud App Security.
Answer: A
First, you need to create a new sensitive information type because you cant directly modify the default rules.
Question: 122
Use the following login credentials as needed:
To enter your username, place your cursor in the Sign in box and click on the username below.
To enter your password, place your cursor in the Enter password box and click on the password below.
Azure Username: [email protected]
Azure Password: Ag1Bh9!#Bd
The following information is for technical support purposes only:
Lab Instance: 10598168
You need to collect all the audit failure data from the security log of a virtual machine named VM1 to an Azure
Storage account.
To complete this task, sign in to the Azure portal.
This task might take several minutes to complete You can perform other tasks while the task completes.
Answer: Step 1: Create a workspace
Azure Monitor can collect data directly from your Azure virtual machines into a Log Analytics workspace for detailed
analysis and correlation.
Question: 123
You have an Azure subscription named Sub1 that contains an Azure Log Analytics workspace named LAW1.
You have 500 Azure virtual machines that run Windows Server 2016 and are enrolled in LAW1.
You plan to add the System Update Assessment solution to LAW1.
You need to ensure that System Update Assessment-related logs are uploaded to LAW1 from 100 of the virtual
machines only.
Which three actions should you perform in sequence? To answer, move the appropriate actions from the list of actions
to the answer area and arrange them in the correct order.
Question: 124
You have an Azure subscription.
You configure the subscription to use a different Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant.
What are two possible effects of the change? Each correct answer presents a complete solution. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
A. Role assignments at the subscription level are lost.
B. Virtual machine managed identities are lost.
C. Virtual machine disk snapshots are lost.
D. Existing Azure resources are deleted.
Answer: A,B
Question: 125
You plan to connect several Windows servers to the WS11641655 Azure Log Analytics workspace.
You need to ensure that the events in the System event logs are collected automatically to the workspace after you
connect the Windows servers.
To complete this task, sign in to the Azure portal and modify the Azure resources.
Answer: Azure Monitor can collect events from the Windows event logs or Linux Syslog and performance counters
that you specify for longer term analysis and reporting, and take action when a particular condition is detected. Follow
these steps to configure collection of events from the Windows system log and Linux Syslog, and several common
performance counters to start with.
Data collection from Windows VM
Question: 126
You plan to create an Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster in an Azure subscription.
The manifest of the registered server application is shown in the following exhibit.
You need to ensure that the AKS cluster and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) are integrated.
Which property should you modify in the manifest?
A. accessTokenAcceptedVersion
B. keyCredentials
C. groupMembershipClaims
D. acceptMappedClaims
Answer: C
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The 7 Hottest Tech Stocks to Watch in 2024

InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips

With Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) skyrocketing to blistering heights in 2023, the question on everyone’s mind now is as follows: what will be the hottest tech stocks in 2024? At the start of the new year, it’s worth carefully examining this inquiry. After all, we have favorable circumstances moving in the bulls’ direction.

As a broader point, the economy last year avoided the much-dreaded recession bullet. Along with that, the Federal Reserve saw encouraging disinflationary trends. Indeed, the data was apparently so enticing that Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted at possible interest rate cuts in 2024. If so, that would likely undergird hot tech stocks.

More to the point, the technology machinery appears to be running flat out on all cylinders. As a result, semiconductor specialist Nvidia enjoyed dramatic upside. But it’s also possible that investors will be rotating their portfolio to seek out the next big hit.

If that’s you, below are intriguing ideas to consider for hottest tech stocks.


Photo of IBM (IBM) building as seen through the canopy of a tree. IBM logo is in large letters on side of building.


A legacy tech giant, IBM (NYSE:IBM) used to be the talk of the town when the baby boomers dominated the market. Now, Big Blue has given way to other hipper ideas for hottest tech stocks. Still, I believe this old dog can learn new tricks. It’s been on the move in the past half-year period. And analysts rate shares a consensus moderate buy, with the high-side price target reaching $179.

Primarily, what makes IBM an intriguing idea for hot tech stocks centers on its specialty in machine learning. Basically, ML is a component of artificial intelligence, fostering algorithms techniques for machines to learn from data. According to Statista, the ML market size will likely hit $204.3 billion by the end of this year. Further, the sector volume could land at $528.1 billion by 2030.

As an investment idea, I understand that IBM doesn’t get the juices flowing. However, investors should note that shares trade at a lowly forward earnings multiple of 16.22X. Also, its forward dividend yield stands at 4.1%, which is very generous for one of the hottest tech stocks.

Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft logo close up. Microsoft (MSFT) Flagship Store Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, NYC.

Source: The Art of Pics /

An everywhere, everything idea within the vast innovation ecosystem, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) offers a sensible idea for hot tech stocks. No, it’s not exciting. However, it more than held its own in 2023, beating out the performance of the Nasdaq Composite index. Analysts believe the solid run will continue this year, pegging shares a consensus strong buy. Also, the average price target lands at $424.36.

For me, MSFT is appealing because it has its hands on several innovative fields. However, if I had to pick one, it would be its aggressive investments in AI, particularly generative AI. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global generative AI market size reached a valuation of $29 billion in 2022.

Further, the segment could expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47.5% to 2030. At the forecast culmination, the segment could be worth nearly $668 billion. And that’s not including other compelling business units such as Azure and its Office Software as a Service (SaaS) platform.

Finally, MSFT isn’t exactly traded at a discount. However, it enjoys solid long-term revenue growth and consistent profitability. Thus, it’s one of the hot tech stocks to consider.

Leidos (LDOS)

Leidos (LDOS) logo on the side of an office building

Source: Jer123 /

Formerly known as Science Applications International Corporation, Leidos (NYSE:LDOS) has its hands in several relevant businesses, including defense, aviation, information technology and biomedical research. Thus, it’s one of the great investments to consider for the long haul. However, it does have the advantage of being one of the hottest tech stocks. Analysts rate shares a strong buy with a $121.83 average price target.

Fundamentally, Leidos draws attention for its cybersecurity business. Per its website, the company is recognized as a sector leader across the federal government. Further, at the end of this year, the global cybersecurity market could print revenue of $183.1 billion. Plus, experts project that the sector will expand at a CAGR of 10.56%. If so, we’re talking a market volume of $273.6 billion by 2028.

Finally, Leidos makes an enticing case for hot tech stocks to buy because of its attractive valuation. Currently, the market prices at LDOS at a forward earnings multiple of 14.11X, lower than the sector median 23.8X. Given the upward growth trajectory of cybersecurity along with its other relevancies, the discount appears credible.

Meta Platforms (META)

Threads app logo seen on screen. Instagram Threads app is a micro blogging platform, developed by Facebook Meta.

Source: Ascannio /

Formerly known as Facebook, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) inherently draws attention for its massive social network. Cynically, META ranks among the hottest tech stocks thanks to leveraging a veritable data goldmine. However, the company has also transitioned to several innovative arenas. It performed quite well last year and analysts remain enthused, pegging shares a consensus strong buy. Also, the average price target lands at $391.57.

One of the compelling focus areas for Meta has been its investment in the metaverse. Now, I’m not going to say that I’m a huge fan of the concept. Nevertheless, the underlying virtual reality market should be huge. According to Mordor Intelligence, the VR market size reached a valuation of $54.24 billion last year. Further, the segment should expand at a CAGR of 24.74%, ultimately reaching $163.82 billion by 2028.

To be sure, with META marching toward the 200% up mark (it fell a bit short) in 2023, you’re not going to get a discount here. However, the company maintains a strong long-term revenue growth rate while staying consistently profitable. Thus, it’s a solid idea for hot tech stocks.

Canaan (CAN)

web browser showing Canaan (CAN) logo on website


Moving into the extremely speculative segment of the hottest tech stocks, investors that are willing to throw caution to the wind should take a look at Canaan (NASDAQ:CAN). As a specialist in blockchain mining hardware, CAN might be appealing to those who want to participate broadly in the cryptocurrency sector but don’t actually want to directly take the risk. Analysts rate shares a moderate buy with a $4.25 average price target.

Obviously, the narrative for Canaan revolves around how well cryptos perform in 2024. If the sector continues to build upon what materialized near the end of last year, CAN may fly higher. What makes the idea more tempting is that its market performance wasn’t really that impressive compared to its blockchain-mining peers. However, a once-ignored opportunity could easily transition to a blistering outperformer in the crypto paradigm.

Still, caution is key. For example, it’s true that Canaan enjoys a three-year revenue growth rate of 37.6%, which is outstanding. Still, the problem is that the mining equipment specialist’s fortunes are heavily tied to crypto sentiment. So, just be careful how much exposure you have.

D-Wave Quantum (QBTS)

QBTS stock: Person holding mobile phone with logo of Canadian hardware company D-Wave Systems Inc. on screen in front of web page.

Source: T. Schneider / Shutterstock

As the name suggests, D-Wave Quantum (NYSE:QBTS) specializes in quantum computing. Per its public profile, D-Wave claims to be the world’s first company to sell computers that exploit quantum effects in their operations. It’s been incredibly choppy over the past 52 weeks. Nevertheless, analysts appreciate the opportunity, pegging shares a unanimous strong buy. Also, the average price target clocks in at $2.17.

In a nutshell, classical computers – no matter how fast they are – operate in a binary linearism. In order for a set of problems to be solved, the initial challenge must be addressed before the next obstacle can be engaged. Think about unlocking a lock by entering every possible combination. It would take a while. On the other hand, quantum computers can run multiple problem sets simultaneously due to the underlying weird nature of quantum mechanics.

Here’s the bottom line. According to BCC Research, the sector may grow from $904.7 million last year to $6.5 billion by 2028. That would be a CAGR of 48.1%, which is astonishing. However, the risk is that QBTS trades for 12.62X trailing revenue, which is screaming high.

Asensus Surgical (ASXC)

An image of two medical professionals performing a procedure on a patient

Source: Roman Zaiets /

A literal penny stock, you want to be supremely cautious with Asensus Surgical (NYSEAMERICAN:ASXC). Frankly, I’m hesitant to even naming this idea for the hottest tech stocks available. As you can see from its 52-week chart, ASXC is volatile as fudge, as the kids like to say. Still, the underlying surgical robotics specialty draws much interest. Analysts are split with a moderate buy rating. The average price target stands at $1.50, which is intense.

According to Grand View Research, the global surgical robots market size reached a valuation of $3.92 billion last year. Experts project that the sector may expand at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2024 to 2030. At the forecast culmination, the industry may generate annual revenue of $7.42 billion. For ASXC, the idea is to get a piece of the pie. With a market capitalization of less than $100 million, it may not need to grab much for shares to skyrocket.

Frankly, whether it will or not requires a whole lot of faith. We’re talking the kind that led to Indiana Jones taking a step in that deep chasm, hoping that his foot would land on an invisible bridge. Shares trade at 13.84X trailing revenue so you really need to think about this one carefully before diving in.

Penny Stocks

On Penny Stocks and Low-Volume Stocks: With only the rarest exceptions, InvestorPlace does not publish commentary about companies that have a market cap of less than $100 million or trade less than 100,000 shares each day. That’s because these “penny stocks” are frequently the playground for scam artists and market manipulators. If we ever do publish commentary on a low-volume stock that may be affected by our commentary, we demand that’s writers disclose this fact and warn readers of the risks.

Read More: Penny Stocks — How to Profit Without Getting Scammed

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

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Thu, 04 Jan 2024 09:50:00 -0600 en text/html
Get a Microsoft tech education for just $79.99 No result found, try new keyword!Want to earn more in the IT world? You need to earn certifications. With The Complete 2024 Microsoft Tech Certification Training Super Bundle, you can get on the track to becoming a Microsoft ... Sun, 24 Dec 2023 21:46:21 -0600 en-us text/html Microsoft Disables Key Windows App Install Tech Used to Distribute Malware


Microsoft announced today that it was forced to disable a key component of its Windows app installer technologies because it detected multiple instances of financially motivated threat actors using these technologies to distribute malware. It also worked with Certificate Authorities to revoke the abused code-signing certificates that were subverted to deliver malware.

“Since mid-November 2023, Microsoft Threat Intelligence has observed threat actors, including financially motivated actors, utilizing the App Installer to distribute malware,” the software giant explained. “In addition to ensuring that customers are protected from observed attacker activity, Microsoft investigated the use of App Installer in these attacks. In response to this activity, Microsoft has disabled the [App Installer] protocol handler by default.”

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The App Installer is used by developers to install a packaged Microsoft Store app in MSIX format from the web, a process that used to be described as “side-loading” because it bypasses the Store. But this episode casts doubt on whether Microsoft can ensure that packaged apps installed from outside its Store can ever be considered safe: As Microsoft notes, the hackers that attacked the App Installer protocol were able to impersonate legitimate software installers that were indistinguishable from the real thing.

What this means in practical terms is that it is no longer possible to install packaged Windows apps from the web. Instead, users will need to download the app package before installing it, which Microsoft says will provide locally installed antivirus and anti-malware services a chance to test their integrity. Microsoft says that its Defender-based products and services have been updated to address this need, including handling post-compromise scenarios.

“We will continue to monitor future malicious activity and make ongoing improvements to prevent fraud, phishing, and a range of other persistent threats,” the Microsoft Security Response team promises. “Microsoft will remain vigilant as attackers continue evolving their techniques.”

Fri, 29 Dec 2023 06:06:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Microsoft’s first-in-three-decades ‘key’ change is a tangible symbol of CEO Satya Nadella’s AI bet No result found, try new keyword!For the first time in 30 years, Microsoft is adding a new button to the standard keyboards for Windows PCs. Meet the Copilot AI button, coming soon to your next Windows PC. Thu, 04 Jan 2024 06:38:00 -0600 en-us text/html Microsoft signs forest restoration deal No result found, try new keyword!The 15-year deal with Chestnut Carbon covers the removal of 2.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide to support Microsoft's climate ambitions. Wed, 03 Jan 2024 21:06:00 -0600 en-US text/html Microsoft disables MSIX protocol handler in Windows to thwart malware attacks No result found, try new keyword!Microsoft has disabled the ms-appinstaller URI scheme handler by default in the latest version of App Installer due to a rise in cyberattacks. Thu, 28 Dec 2023 19:37:33 -0600 en-us text/html Microsoft patched a critical Windows 11 vulnerability, so you can rest easy No result found, try new keyword!Microsoft just patched a critical vulnerability in Windows 11 that allowed malicious actors to install harmful malware on your computer. Fri, 29 Dec 2023 05:22:00 -0600 en-us text/html Science and technology trends that defined 2023

The year 2023 has been marked by significant advancements and breakthroughs in science and technology. From AI and quantum computing to genomic medicine and renewable energy, emerging technologies have reshaped various industries. With trends like the metaverse and advancements in space exploration, the future looks promising for continued progress and advancements in the years to come. Let's explore some of the key trends that have defined 2023:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have revolutionised industries in 2023. AI has been instrumental in diagnosing diseases, predicting patient outcomes, and streamlining tasks through virtual assistants. Generative AI, powered by advanced algorithms, has enabled the creation of text, images, and videos that are indistinguishable from human-generated content, transforming industries and enhancing human capabilities.

Some popular AI chatbots that have emerged in 2023 include ChatGPT by OpenAI, Bing Chat by Microsoft, and Bard by Google.

Quantum Computing

2023 has witnessed significant milestones in the field of quantum computing. Quantum computers, with their immense processing power, have the potential to revolutionise cryptography, drug discovery, and optimisation problems. Breakthroughs in quantum error correction and the development of stable qubits have brought us closer to achieving practical quantum computing capabilities.

Genomic Medicine

Genomic medicine has made tremendous strides in 2023, leading to personalized treatments for various diseases. Advances in gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, have enabled precise modifications to the human genome, opening up new possibilities for curing genetic disorders. Gene therapy has also shown promising results in treating previously incurable conditions.

Renewable Energy

The transition to sustainable energy sources has gained further momentum in 2023. Solar and wind power technologies have become more efficient and affordable, making renewable energy a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Breakthroughs in energy storage systems have also addressed the intermittent nature of renewables, ensuring a stable and reliable power supply.


The concept of the metaverse has gained significant attention in 2023. The metaverse refers to a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users in real-time. It has the potential to revolutionise entertainment, gaming, social interactions, and work, collapsing the distance between the digital and physical worlds.

Biotechnology and Bioengineering

2023 has witnessed remarkable advancements in biotechnology and bioengineering. Innovative methods for tissue regeneration, including 3D-printed organs and bioengineered implants, have been developed. The field of synthetic biology has also made significant strides, with the creation of novel organisms and the production of sustainable materials.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing continues to dominate in 2023, providing scalable and flexible computing resources for organizations. It enables the storage and processing of large amounts of data, deployment of applications, and leveraging of advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning. Cloud computing has become an essential component of digital transformation strategies across various sectors.

Data Privacy and Security

With increasing reliance on technology and data, data privacy and security have become critical concerns in 2023. Organizations and individuals are prioritizing the protection of sensitive information and compliance with data protection regulations. Technologies such as encryption, secure authentication, and privacy-enhancing techniques are being developed and implemented to safeguard data and maintain trust in digital ecosystems.

Space Exploration

Space exploration has reached new heights in 2023. Private companies, in collaboration with national space agencies, have made significant progress in commercial space travel. The launch and landing of reusable rockets have reduced the cost of space missions, making space more accessible. Advancements in satellite technology have improved communication networks and Earth observation capabilities.

India's Space Program

India has firmly established itself as a frontrunner in space exploration. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) successfully completed its mission, placing India among the elite group of nations to reach the Red Planet. The Chandrayaan-3 mission aims to land a rover on the Moon's surface, further enhancing our understanding of lunar terrain. The Aditya-L1 mission will study the Sun's outermost layer, and the Gaganyaan mission aims to send Indian astronauts to space for the first time. India's satellite technology and the integration of AI and robotics in space missions have further propelled its scientific prowess.

Sun, 31 Dec 2023 20:15:00 -0600 en text/html
Tech hub, Microsoft deal and more fill the plate for WEDC CEO Hughes

At the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., CEO Missy Hughes looks back on 2023 as a significant year for the state’s business community — at home and on the world stage.

In a late December interview, Hughes rattled off some big hits for the state. One is the federal government greenlighting the next phase for an ambitious proposal to establish a biohealth tech hub in Wisconsin. Another is a new and promising future for the highly touted, perennially doubted Foxconn site in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO Missy Hughes (Photo courtesy of WEDC)

Hughes isn’t shy in her enthusiasm for the biohealth tech hub and its focus on “personalized medicine” — tailoring diagnosis and treatment of illness to a patient’s distinctive genetic characteristics. “It’s going to transform health care,” she declares.

Doctors treating a patient with a tumor won’t have to throw “the kitchen sink at this tumor,” Hughes says. Instead, they’ll be able “to provide the most effective treatment the most directly, with as little damage to the rest of the healthy body as possible and get you back to work, get you back to your family, as quickly as possible. It’s really, honestly, going to be game-changing.”

The federal CHIPS and Science Act passed in 2022 authorized and provided funding for the tech hubs. But Hughes says the state was only able to take part because of groundwork laid well before by the participants.

Advancing work that’s already underway

The biohealth tech hub project brings together faculty from the University of Wisconsin and Madison and Milwaukee technical colleges, health technology businesses, and economic and workforce development agencies. Universities conduct research, businesses develop technologies that make use of those findings and health care providers then put those technologies to the test.

 “That work is already happening,” says Hughes. “With the designation of the tech hub, we’re able to expand on that.” It brings together “a whole bunch of different skill sets that we already have in Wisconsin” — artificial intelligence, research into gene functions, drug development and advanced manufacturing.

Wisconsin’s was one of 31 tech hub projects that the federal government designated in October for initial funding, with the prospect of larger federal investments to come. Just getting this far gives Wisconsin additional allure for everyone from academics looking to relocate to employers eying the state, Hughes says.

From Foxconn to Microsoft

In March, Microsoft announced a $1 billion investment to establish a data center on a 315-acre site in the Racine County village of Mount Pleasant — part of the land originally developed for Foxconn. In November Microsoft announced it was expanding its footprint there with the purchase of another 1,030 acres.

The Foxconn project that began under previous administrations in Madison and Washington, D.C., and never approached the original promise sold in 2017 by then-Gov. Scott Walker and President Donald Trump: a $10 billion high-tech flat screen manufacturing complex employing 13,000 people.

Critics were skeptical from the start, especially at the $3 billion in potential tax credits that the Legislature and Walker promised the company, and questioned the $700 million that Mount Pleasant spent on infrastructure development.

Tony Evers ran for governor criticizing the project as a massive boondoggle. Foxconn’s genuine operational plans changed repeatedly, leading WEDC to disqualify the company’s tax credit applications.

Midway through Evers’ first term, WEDC and Hughes renegotiated the tax credits, which for the first time enabled the company to actually qualify for them, but at much lower cost to the state than the original credits would have cost if the company had ever qualified for them. The April 2021 renegotiation was “right-sizing for what Foxconn is prepared to do in the marketplace,” Hughes says — putting it on the same level as other companies that WEDC has rewarded with tax credits for job creation.

Having employed about 1,000 people over the course of its history in the state, “it’s a good company to have here in Wisconsin,” she says of Foxconn. “But they’re just like any of our other companies at this point.”

Getting a return on infrastructure

Reworking the deal was important to ensure an eventual return on the money sunk into developing the site. “The way that I looked at it was, it would be a shame for all of the infrastructure investment that happened to go to waste,” Hughes recalls. And as it became clear that the company would only use about a third of the redeveloped land, WEDC “very aggressively went out … doing everything we could” to market the remaining vacant land, Hughes says.

Microsoft showed interest with a $500 million investment initially, later doubling that and then adding to it. “We were very involved with having conversations” with the company, she says. Lawmakers and Evers included a sales tax exemption for data centers in the 2023-25 state budget — a further incentive for Microsoft.

Milwaukee 7, the economic development organization that covers seven southeast Wisconsin counties, handled “the nitty gritty work of working through the new development agreement and the purchase and sale of the land with Microsoft and Foxconn, Hughes says.

“A blue-chip company like Microsoft is the best outcome that we could have hoped for, and worked for,” she says.

Aiding small business

While working with large business enterprises occupies much of WEDC’s agenda, the agency has continued to dig more deeply into small business support. Emblematic of that side of the operation is the Main Street Bounceback program, now completing its second year of providing expansion grants of up to $10,000 each to 9,500 small businesses around Wisconsin.

Small business development is an important part of WEDC’s mission, Hughes says, because small businesses such as retailers and service providers help bring character, life and value to the communities where they thrive.

In Prairie du Chien, Main Street is bouncing back

“Having communities where folks want to live and go downtown and spend time with each other is incredibly important,” Hughes says. “At WEDC we like to say we can walk and chew gum at the same time, so we can focus on our small businesses and our large businesses.”

The Bounceback program gave the participating businesses opportunities to expand, perhaps renovate or move into new space and to increase their value without owners having to drain their own savings. Small businesses “often become large businesses if we provide them enough support,” she adds. “Supporting small businesses, along with the tens of millions of dollars that we provide to large businesses every year in the form of tax credits, is a way of evening things out.”

Venture capital on deck

In the coming weeks, WEDC expects to announce the first investments to be made by the Wisconsin Investment Fund, a venture capital project.

The Wisconsin Investment Fund is being seeded with a federal grant — $50 million from U.S. Treasury  State Small Business Credit Initiative. The Evers administration had sought $75 million in the state budget for venture capital, but the budget committee’s Republican majority removed that request.

“We had a lot of conversations with the Legislature about how other Midwest states — Michigan, Minnesota — are really digging in and investing in economic development,” Hughes says, “and I would have liked to have seen more willingness to really invest and think about the future with regard to economic development from our Legislature.”

Nevertheless, she considers the investment fund one of WEDC’s big priorities for the new year.

“Access capital is going to be incredibly important — whether it’s our small businesses, our mainstream businesses, but also our startups or entrepreneurs who need significant capital to bring their product to market, or to develop their software or their medical device,” Hughes says.

Green innovation

Hughes is also looking to other opportunities afforded by the federal government. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act included a number of provisions aimed at addressing climate change, including funding for the state green innovation bank.

“The governor has told WEDC we’re responsible for that,” Hughes says. Working with a commission that Evers established in June, WEDC will be looking at projects “all around the state that help businesses become more sustainable, Wisconsinites choose renewable energy.”


There are also bank federal tax credits to reward cleaner energy choices in the legislation, and WEDC will dig into “how can we help our communities and our businesses” make use of those incentives, she adds.

“A lot of the exact federal funding is ‘get it while you can and be first in line,’” says Hughes. “We want to make sure that for those opportunities, our businesses and our communities are up at the front of the line.”

Hughes says she’s also been glad to have an opportunity in the last year “to get back on the road and travel internationally,” helping Wisconsin businesses make new connections around the world.

“I think it’s incredibly important for Wisconsin businesses to realize that they’re part of a global marketplace and that there are opportunities in Asia, there’s opportunities in Africa, there’s opportunities in Europe — and not only grabbing those opportunities, but also just having that understanding that there are markets to expand to and places to sell your goods that are different and interesting, and pursuing them,” she says.

Exports are increasing, Hughes observes “And I think that’s going to continue to create opportunities for Wisconsin businesses.”

Tue, 02 Jan 2024 21:30:00 -0600 Erik Gunn en-US text/html

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