Azure PaaS Database Root CA Certificate Changes

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.


Transport Layer Security (TLS) provides server authentication and channel defenses (encryption and integrity verification) for communication between two applications such as a web browser and a web server. Optionally, TLS can provide client authentication, too.

Most TLS connections today use X.509 certificates, and core to certificates are root Certificate Authority (CA) certificates. For a client to successfully establish a secure connection to a server using TLS, the client system must trust the CA that issued the server’s certificate. The word ‘trust’ in this scenario means the client has the CA’s root certificate installed in the client system.

Later this year, we will update the root CA certificates used by all Azure services, including the database services such as Azure SQL Database, Cosmos DB, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, and Azure Database for MySQL.


This root certificate change might have implications for you as an Azure database user.

What is Changing?

Azure is changing the set of root certificates used by Azure services. Right now, almost all Azure services use one root CA certificate for TLS:

  • Baltimore CyberTrust Root

By the end of the calendar year 2022, Azure services will chain up to one of the following CAs:

  • DigiCert Global Root G2

  • DigiCert Global Root CA

  • Baltimore CyberTrust Root

  • D-TRUST Root Class 3 CA 2

  • Microsoft RSA Root Certificate Authority 2017

  • Microsoft ECC Root Certificate Authority 2017

What’s the Impact?

Most Azure database users will see no impact because the new set of root CA certificates are commonly installed on systems including mobile devices. Their client code will continue to make secure connections to back-end databases on Azure.

The potential issue is if developers design their code in a way that restricts which root CA certs are valid and trusted. This is called Certificate Pinning. You could have, for example, a dozen roots on a device, but your application only trusts one specific root. So, in your code, you explicitly check for that certificate when making a TLS connection. This is usually performed by checking the thumbprint of the certificate in your code.


At the time of its invention, pinning seemed like a good idea, but it has since fallen out of favor as it leads to fragility. You can read one point of view from DigiCert at Stop Certificate Pinning |


A more concrete example is if your code pins the Baltimore CyberTrust Root CA certificate, but Cosmos DB uses the DigiCert Global Root CA certificate, then the client will not connect to Cosmos DB. If your code is C/C++ Windows code, another way to mimic certificate pinning is to use Certificate Trust Lists (CTL).


You can learn more about the certificates we will use at Azure TLS Certificate Changes | Microsoft Docs and the Cosmos DB specific post is at Upcoming changes to Azure Cosmos DB TLS certificates – Azure Cosmos DB Blog.


What You Need to Do

Review all your code that interacts with Azure services, including our PaaS database products and make sure TLS connections do not limit which root CA certificates are valid. For Windows C/C++ code, make sure there is no use of CTLs.


Installing Root CA Certificates

You probably won’t need to add the new root CA certificates to your clients, but if you do, here is how to do it on Ubuntu Linux Installing a root CA certificate in the trust store | Ubuntu and how to use Global Policy on Windows to deploy certificates to your enterprise Distribute Certificates to Client Computers by Using Group Policy | Microsoft Docs or manually How to install Windows 10/11 root certificates. Some applications might have their own root CA store and not rely on the operating system, however.

SQL Server IaaS is not Affected

Note that SQL Server running in a Windows or Linux Virtual Machine is not affected by this change because you can configure any certificate and root used by the database server within the operating system. You cannot do this when using PaaS Azure databases because certificates are handled by Azure.



Most people will see no issues at all with this update. Just perform a little due diligence on your client-side code to make sure it is not restricting CA certs.


Thanks to Ashutosh Korde for his review of this post.

Meet a recent Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador graduate: Arsalan Khattak

Meet a recent Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador graduate: Arsalan Khattak

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors  who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassador community, and what they’re up to now. 


Today we meet Arsalan Khattak who is from Pakistan and recently graduated from the National University of Modern Languages – Islamabad with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.



Responses have been edited for clarity and length.  


When you joined the Student Ambassador community in 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as a particular skill or quality? 

The goal I had in my mind was to be a part of a community, connect with like-minded people, and help others by sharing my knowledge. I wanted to make an impact through my blogs, videos, and sessions. As a Student Ambassador, I believe I achieved what was possible.  In 2021 alone, I impacted around 1500+ people with just my live streams for the GitHub Education Twitch Channel.


Arsalan’s livestream set-up


I also helped many students learn how to code. Also, I used to be too shy to give a public speech or even walk in front of many people. I believed that being in a community would be a great way to overcome my fear and get out of my comfort zone, and it has been a success.


What were the accomplishments that you’re the proudest of and why? 

As a Student Ambassador, one of my visible and prominent contributions was speaking at a Microsoft Reactor virtual event about Visual Studio Code, where I went through the VS Code structure and taught how to customize it according to your needs, including setting up themes, extensions, customizing title, etc.


I helped a couple of Alpha Ambassadors with their efforts to be promoted to Beta level. I helped them with how to give good presentations and gave them tips on how to engage and present to their audiences as well as some good resources to get technical information and knowledge.


I am the founding member of MLSA Islamabad, one of the leading communities in Pakistan. MLSA Islamabad hosted some very successful events, such as Digital Design Roadshow, and I secured partnerships with international communities and companies like Telenor.


What are you doing now that you’ve graduated? 

Currently, I am employed at Major League Hacking working in their Fellowship Department as a Program Associate where I help students learn market-required skills and stay updated with technologies. My long-term goal is to make my community focused on web technologies. 


If you could redo your time as a Student Ambassador, is there anything you would have done differently? 

There isn’t much that I would have done differently, but one thing is that I would have spent more time on soft skills, that is, time management, project management, etc. I believe I spent quite a lot of time focusing on technical skills but didn’t give much attention to my soft skills which actually hold an equal amount of importance in one’s career as tech skills do.


If you were to describe the community to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say about it to convince him or her to join? 


A community is a group of like-minded people that come together to solve a shared struggle and problem. The problem could be something technical like helping juniors to level up their skills, or completely nontechnical helping kids to learn skating. Being in a community helps you grow and learn faster as you have like-minded people to help you solve problems, and you can also do a lot of networking and expand your connections. For example, when you join the Students Ambassador community, you get access to thousands of other Ambassadors all around the globe who have expertise in different domains.


What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors? 

My only advice to them is to get the most out of the community and network as much as possible. I have noticed some folks focusing just on the swags, which should not be the motivation to join a community. Everyone loves swag, including me, but treat it as an extra perk. The motivation should be expanding your network and connecting with industry experts and like-minded people.


What is your motto in life, your guiding principle? 

My motto is to learn, build and open source. I help others learn technologies to build things with them and open source them. I do this by creating video content on my YouTube and Instagram accounts.


Planning content for a YouTube Video


What is one random fact about you that few people are aware of? 

I can wiggle my ears.



Good luck to you in all your endeavors, Arsalan!


Readers, you can find Arsalan on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter

Healthcare Short: Medication Adherence Model

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

Story Background

Daily medication is a fact of life for a lot of patients. Too many, however, are not compliant with their medication regimens. Failure to follow doctors’ orders has a significant impact on health outcomes and healthcare costs. There are many reasons for patients not taking their medications, and many of those reasons stem directly from where and how those patients live and work. In fact, a sizeable percentage of patients are considered to be at moderate-to-high risk for financial insecurity, isolation, housing insecurity, transportation trouble, food insecurity, or health illiteracy.


Business Challenge 

Providers typically prescribe drugs to patients after a detailed diagnosis or treatment. They expect the patient to stick to the regimens.

According to the WHO, increased medication adherence had a greater impact on population health than any improvements in medical treatments, highlighting the pressing need to focus on the issue. Studies also estimate that non-adherence racks up $300b yearly in avoidable U.S. healthcare costs, 15% of which is linked to cardiovascular disease and statin medication non-adherence.


Business Outcomes 

Healthcare organizations face increased pressure to lower costs and improve care outcomes. The traditional approach of reactive patient care has been replaced by a predictive, data-driven approach.


Providers are armed with the right data and analytics capabilities that can target care management programs at the specific patients who need them, improving outcomes and helping to keep people healthy. Patients are provided with relevant information at the point of prescription to enhance medication adherence.


Solution Overview 

The figures above, along with encouragement from government programs such as CMS Stars, are driving the healthcare sector to study adherence patterns using predictive analytics to adjust care managers’ intervention strategies.


This model incorporated synthetic datasets on patient medication, encounters, and observation to analyze therapy progress and gaps on a year-to-year basis, covering a ten-year follow-up period. We used the frequency of drug dispensation per patient per year as a proxy for adherence and pegged the threshold cut-off at over the third quartile of the population. According to research, tracking medication fill rates may help measure non-adherence in some patients. In 1986, the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale, a simplified four-question survey demonstrated preliminary data on how the tool could assess non-adherence and overall treatment success in a smaller sample of hypertensive patients. The study found that patients who scored higher on the scale were significantly more likely to have their blood pressure under control after 42 months.



Thanks for reading, Shelly Avery |EmailLinkedIn 

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