As Microsoft moves more of its business into the cloud, the success of the company relies on its ability to protect an increasing amount of customer data from cybersecurity threats.
The Redmond, Washington-based company’s chief executive Satya Nadella on Tuesday announced Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) spends more than $1 billionannually on cybersecurity research and development, including a new command center where security experts work around the clock. Microsoft employs roughly 1,200 at its offices in Irving.
When Microsoft last year dismantled its Trustworthy Computing group and rolled cybersecurity into its cloud division, many wondered how that would affect the company’s data protection systems.
Microsoft’s enterprise products rely on cloud storage, so an increasing number of business are storing available data on the company’s servers. Microsoft needs to be able to ensure that data is protected to compete with other cloud and enterprise service providers.
“Everything is in the cloud, so all of the eggs are in one basket now,” Bryan Seely, a Seattle-based cybersecurity consultant, said. “It’s good for customers – Microsoft storing your data is like Fort Knox opening safety deposit boxes – but Microsoft needs to prove the data is safe.”
Microsoft’s $1 billion annual budget, according to a spokesperson, includes acquisitions – such as the $320 million deal earlier this year to purchase Israeli cloud security startup Adallom– staff and the company’s new cybersecurity command center.
The company’s new Redmond-based Cyber Defense Operations Center connects security experts who monitor threats with security partners, governments and enterprise customers. To boost security for business, Microsoft is building a new security group dedicated to large-scale enterprise customers.
Microsoft, Seely said, is more secure than cloud rival Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) Web Services.
“ If I had to go after one or the other, I’d probably go after Amazon as a hacker,” he said. “Microsoft fights against people trying to steal customer data, they’re fighting against governments trying to look at everybody’s data and they’re protecting that data from within.”