Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington. Being a ‘Windows Server’ guy, it is somewhat of a Mecca for me (Linux aficionados, please hold your laughter). The reason for my visit was to see what’s new in the Microsoft Cloud Security space. With the big shift to The Cloud, Microsoft is placing a big emphasis on securing their cloud offerings, Azure and Office 365. During the 3-day summit, presenter after presenter told us how Microsoft is now a major player in security…and they weren’t all Microsoft employees either! There are hundreds of vendors in the cybersecurity industry and traditionally Microsoft has enjoyed a very small piece of the pie. When you talk to experts about the many vendors in security today, Microsoft typically does not come up in the conversation.

Microsoft’s $1B Commitment to Cybersecurity

I believe that Microsoft will become part of that conversation. They have committed to spending $1 billion per year on cybersecurity. A billion dollars is not a trivial amount, even as a one-time outlay. Microsoft is going to write that cheque year after year, for the foreseeable future. This level of commitment shows how serious Microsoft is about security. When you think about it, how likely are you to place your trust in a company that isn’t doing much to protect your data? Frankly, I wouldn’t even want to save my recipe for the world’s greatest chili in a location that could be compromised without too much difficulty. Microsoft has wagered heavily on cloud adoption. It’s becoming apparent that traditional infrastructures are becoming less attractive to a lot of organizations. Cloud providers offer a model where your data is stored in their hosting solutions, allowing for stabilization of costs and protection through SLAs. Traditional network security won’t be going away anytime soon, but moving to the cloud can simplify on-premises efforts to thwart attacks.

Protecting your identity, not just your data

The interesting thing about Microsoft, regarding security, is that they are focusing their efforts on protecting your identity, not just your data. The philosophy is simple: by protecting you, they can protect the data you have access to (and the data you don’t have access to). Protecting your identity also follows you from one device to another. It’s a much more holistic approach to cybersecurity. The idea of protecting an infrastructure through its endpoints moves from firewalls to protecting your users out in the world, working from anywhere. Traditional infrastructure was the perimeter. In today’s world, mobile users each become their own perimeter. Microsoft knows this and is putting in the work to protect them.

So is Microsoft a Security Company?

Yeah I think so. More and more people are starting to agree. My 3-day visit to Redmond provided a lot of insight as to where they are heading. The cloud is the future and protecting it matters. Azure and Office 365 have some cool weapons in their collective arsenal. Microsoft Security is definitely on the right track.

 

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