Microsoft a leading software provider in the world has unveiled security tools that protect not only its Azure cloud user’s enterprise workloads, but also customers of other competing clouds, such as those from Amazon Web Services.
On Tuesday this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave a keynote at a Government Cloud Forum in Washington, DC. He talked about his company’s broad security efforts and revealed that Microsoft spends around $1 billion annually on research and development to improve security across the company’s three major products
- Windows 10
- Office 365
- Microsoft Azure
Microsoft’s two year old CEO admitted that his company never thinks security is a separate piece of technology, but is core to the operational systems that users use, where their data resides and where a user’s most critical application usage is.
Microsoft has begun testing Azure Security Center, a web-based console where IT administrators can get a central view of their cloud environment’s security posture. It uses policy-based scans to detect if security best practices are in place. For example, if there is a server hosting a website that does not have a Web Application Firewall (WAF) attached to it, Azure Security Center can flag that and provide users with an opportunity to download a WAF from a the third-party vendor, like Symantec, Barracuda, F5, or Trend Micro for a premium.
Amazon Web Services-touted as a major competitor for Azure cloud is also testing a similar product named ‘Inspector’ which works in the lines of Azure Security Center.
Advanced Threat Analytics is being used by Azure Security Center to search for unusual behavior in a customer’s environment. For example, it could detect a user logging in from an unusual location/device, has attempted incorrect passwords an abnormal number of times, and has eventually gained access. It can also detect communications between a virtual machine and a malicious IP address that the Redmond based company has found as notorious.
This function is not only restricted to Microsoft Azure platform, but can also be extended to customers using other on-premises environments such as services delivered by AWS. In this case, a user can be alerted if a virtual server used by them is communicating with a malicious IP address.
Microsoft also revealed a variety of security features at The Government Cloud Forum and that includes Facial recognition authentication in Windows 10, automatic scanning of emails for malware and viruses in Office 365, and securing access to endpoint devices using Active Directory and Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite.
Highlight- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that Microsoft inspects around 200 billion emails a month for malware. This proves that Microsoft is not just interested in offering services, but also wants to satisfy its customers on a complete note.