How Microsoft is expanding its cybersecurity offering

Microsoft (MSFT) is increasingly moving into the cybersecurity business, and CEO Satya Nadella says the company is investing $ 20 billion by 2026. But the technology giant says a lack of cybersecurity experts is making it difficult for everyone from local governments to large companies to protect yourself.

To that end, Microsoft is expanding its cybersecurity capabilities to five new services that will allow its customers to use Microsoft cybersecurity experts as their own.

“What we’ve realized is that technology is absolutely critical and not enough,” said Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s security, compliance, identity and management business.

“You have to have people right there. This was a very big gap with our clients where they don’t have the teams needed to scale. They are hungry for that help and that is why the service element is so important, ”Jakkal added.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will give the keynote address at Build, the company’s annual conference for software developers on Monday, May 7, 2018, in Seattle.  (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will give the keynote address at Build, the annual conference for software developers on Monday, May 7, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

Microsoft says the offerings will help its customers cope better with an increasing number of cyber attacks that disable entities of all sizes, from small municipalities and local hospitals to large technology companies.

According to Jakkal, Microsoft tracks more than 35 ransomware families and 250 unique threat actors. This is good for Microsoft customers who can use automated services or who have cybersecurity experts on hand to combat these threats, but a problem for those companies that simply don’t have the staff they need.

“You take all this and look at what’s happening from the perspective of talent in our world, especially in cyber security, and it’s quite challenging,” Jakkal explained. “In the United States, one in three cybersecurity jobs is unfilled. We have 2.5 million jobs that are currently vacant. ”

That, she said, is where the new Microsoft services are coming from. Defender Experts for Hunting, for example, is designed to help companies better look for malware and cyber security holes in their systems. Once one of Microsoft’s security experts finds a potential security issue, it will tell the customer and provide information on how to resolve it.

Microsoft’s Defender Experts for XDR (Extended Response to Discovery) should be a step further than Experts for Hunting and will help companies look for threats and respond to burglary.

Defender Experts for Technology Giant Enterprises is the best offering and brings Microsoft employees to take in everything that both Hunter Experts and XDR Experts offer. It basically allows users to use Microsoft cybersecurity experts as their own cybersecurity professionals.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Incident Response offer aims to help customers recover from cyber attacks, while Security Services for Modernization helps companies modernize their cybersecurity systems to protect themselves from attacks.

Microsoft has made a name for itself in cyberspace, acting as one of those responsible for hacking SolarWinds 2020, in which a Russian-backed group attacked a network infrastructure company and gained access to government organizations, including the Defense Ministry.

At the time, Microsoft President Brad Smith called the attack one of the largest in history. Eventually, hacking and related malware infiltrated several U.S. organizations, including the Treasury, Trade, and Justice Department, along with 100 private-sector companies.

Today, U.S. companies and government agencies are on special alert due to the threat of cyber attacks linked to the Russian war in Ukraine. It’s not just Russia. China, Iran, and North Korea regularly launch cyberattacks and campaigns to influence the United States. And there are countless cybercriminals working with those nations to steal data from American corporations and citizens.

While Microsoft’s solution is a welcome add-on to help companies protect themselves from these threats, there is no perfect form of cybersecurity. Microsoft is not the only company to offer cybersecurity support through real people. CrowdStrike (CRWD), for example, sells security services that use the company’s own experts to help assess potential threats to companies and eliminate them.

However, the more companies try to protect themselves, the harder it becomes for nation states and criminals. And at least it’s worth the effort.

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Do you have any advice? Email Daniel Howley at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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