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Microsoft releases new security solutions for multi-cloud

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Fri 25 Feb 2022

Microsoft has announced new security solutions to help customers strengthen visibility and control across multiple cloud providers, workloads, devices and digital identities from a centralised management view. 

Some of the new solutions include the extension of native capabilities of the Microsoft Defender for Cloud to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), a public preview of CloudKnox Permissions Management, and new security data analysis capabilities on Microsoft Sentinel. 

The company says increased security considerations have been brought about by businesses adapting and transforming through the adoption of cloud, mobile and edge platforms. 

The Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report shows that 92% of respondents use a multi-cloud model, meaning they rely on apps and infrastructure from multiple cloud providers. In a recent Microsoft sponsored survey, 73% of respondents say it is challenging to manage multi-cloud environments.

"Cyber risks are inevitable and ever-evolving, but the more we build comprehensive, integrated, and cloud-powered defences using automation to prevent, detect and mitigate risk, the more we can empower organisations of all sizes to be fearless in their digital transformation and continue to innovate," says Microsoft corporate vice president, Security, Compliance and Identity, Vasu Jakkal.  

"We're committed to delivering comprehensive solutions that work seamlessly across platforms and extend to clouds and apps well outside our offerings so that our customers can secure their entire digital estate end-to-end."

The future of multi-cloud 

With organisations continuing to embrace multi-cloud strategies, Microsoft says their security solutions must reduce complexity and allow them to strengthen overall security postures. To address this, the company says it will be extending the native capabilities of Microsoft Defender for Cloud to the GCP. With GCP support, Microsoft is now the only cloud provider with native multi-cloud protection for the industry's top three platforms: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, announced at Ignite in November 2021, and now GCP. 

Support for GCP comes with out-of-the-box recommendations that allow customers to configure GCP environments in line with key security standards, such as the Center for Internet Security benchmark, and protection for critical workloads running on GCP. Microsoft says this lets organisations manage their security centrally and natively across clouds. 

Identity and zero trust

Identity has become the new battleground for cyberattacks. A multi-cloud world means that the number of platforms, devices, users, services and locations multiplies exponentially, and organisations often face the challenge of securing this.

Microsoft has announced that it will be offering the public preview of CloudKnox Permissions Management. This follows the company's acquisition of CloudKnox Security in 2021. CloudKnox will help provide organisations visibility into user and workload identities 
across clouds, with automated features that consistently enforce the least privilege access and use machine learning-powered continuous monitoring to detect and remediate suspicious activities. 

The economics of data

Microsoft has also announced new ways for security teams to access and analyse security data with Microsoft Sentinel. It says this will reinvent the economics of working with security information and event management data and deliver new ways to access and analyse security data by embracing all data types, wherever they are, to provide a comprehensive threat hunting solution. 

New capabilities include basic logs that allow Microsoft Sentinel to sift through high volumes of data and find high-severity but low-visibility threats. Microsoft Sentinel will have a new data archiving capability to extend data retention beyond Microsoft's current policy of two years to seven years to support its customers' global data compliance needs. Microsoft will also be adding a new search experience to enable security analysts to hunt for threats effectively. They can now search massive volumes of security data quickly from all logs, analytics, and archives. 

"As cyberattacks continue to evolve, organisations need to prepare for attacks to come from both inside and outside their networks," says Jakkal.

"We have announced a slew of comprehensive solutions that organise security, compliance, identity, endpoint management, and privacy as an interdependent whole while extending protection across platforms and clouds."

Further solutions announced by Microsoft:

  • Secure workload identities with Azure Active Directory (ADD): Beyond its core capabilities of protecting user identities.  
  • Secure payment processing with Azure through the launch of a new service, Azure Payment HSM: An in public preview for payment card issuers and network and payment processors to securely process payments in the cloud. Azure Payment HSM provides protection for cryptographic keys and customer PINs for secure payment transactions.  
     
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