Microsoft Revamps Security Plan as Part of $1 Billion Investment

  • Company building new facility, creating security group
  • Cybersecurity is key challenge after high-profile attacks

In his first moves on cybersecurity in nearly two years as Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella is building a dedicated site and assembling a new group of experts to help Microsoft Corp. respond faster to threats across its various products.

“This is so that, like any intelligence operation, we don’t have silos,” Chief Executive Officer said Tuesday at a conference in Washington. “We’ll have people who’ll be able to in real-time connect the dots across what’s happening across all of these services.”

Cybersecurity and preventing hacking and stolen data has become a key challenge in the software industry after a number of high-profile attacks in recent months, including on Sony Corp., Anthem Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Just in 2015, the top eight breaches have led to 160 million data records being compromised, Nadella said.

Bulking Up

Microsoft, whose software and operating systems run the vast majority of personal computers, has been working to bulk up cybersecurity features as it seeks to boost sales in cloud and productivity products. The company spends more than $1 billion in security research and development every year, Nadella said. Microsoft has also bought a number of security startups including Adallom and Aorato Ltd. 

Now, Windows 10 is the most secure operating system and is ready for deployment to all enterprises and organizations, Nadella said.

Microsoft’s new security strategy centers around a platform that offers features to protect from, detect, and respond to threats, an intelligence network and coordination with other industry players, Nadella said. 

To facilitate that effort, Microsoft is planning a site staffed with employees around the clock from across different departments that will analyze data from all the products and respond in real-time to threats, he said. Microsoft also has created the Enterprise Cybersecurity Group to support customers’ needs to keep their data safe.

Part of the new strategy is to offer cloud, mobile and on-premise security features accessed through Microsoft’s Windows 10, Azure and Office 365 products, he said. The products integrate with one another and “inter-operate” with other security providers as well, such as Barracuda Networks Inc. and Symantec Corp.

15 Features

“We don’t think of security as being a separate piece of technology,” Nadella said. “It has to be core to the operational systems that you use, where your data resides, where your most critical applications usage is.”

The security platform includes more than 15 features designed to protect information and data across all devices and sensors, detect threats and attacks and help enterprises respond more quickly.

Nadella also emphasized the importance of working with partners across the industry, noting that Microsoft internally uses third-party products to boost security.

“The knowledge we gain is something we share broadly with industry and with the customers it’s going to take us all to come together to combat this,” he said.

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