Daily Tech Briefing: Oct. 22, 2014

Google recently announced that it will be embracing a new form of two-factor authentication by supporting the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance's Universal 2nd Factor technology. U2F allows Google's Chrome users to secure access to Google accounts by way of a physical USB security key device.

The FIDO Alliance officially got its start in February 2013 with the goal of enabling more advanced forms of user authentication to secure user access. While the new security key option provides users with a more secure choice for two-step verification, the existing Google Authenticator method can still also be used.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the company's Cloud and Enterprise group, recently announced major updates to the company's cloud computing ecosystem. For example, to enhance the company's global reach, Azure is setting up shop in Australia. On the storage front, Guthrie announced Azure Premium Storage, as well as the Azure Cloud Platform solution.

OpenStack cloud vendor Mirantis has raised $100 million in a new Series B round of venture funding. This brings the company's total capitalization to $120 million as it positions itself for an IPO in 2016.

Lead investors in the latest funding round are Insight Venture Partners and August Capital. Mirantis President and CEO Adrian Ionel explained that the company's existing investors--including Dell Ventures, Intel Capital, WestSummit Capital, Ericsson, Red Hat and SAP Ventures--are all still on board as well.

Four U.S. senators sent a letter to Sens. Jay Rockefeller and John Thune asking that their committee--the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation--conduct an oversight and information-gathering meeting about the Internet of things by the end of the year. Rockefeller chairs the committee; Thune is the ranking member. In the letter, the senators explained that, given the expected explosion in the number of connected smart devices over the next several years and the impact the IoT will have on society, now is the time for the Senate to begin getting involved.

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