Microsoft plans to invest over $1 billion annually on cybersecurity research and development in the coming years, a senior executive told Reuters at the the firm's BlueHat cyber security conference in Tel Aviv.
With the rate of internet penetration reaching up to 87%, the United States has become one of the best connected countries in the world. It has also become the centre point for cyber attacks, with the average cost of cyber crimes estimated to be $15 million.
A recent report on the North American Cyber Security Market made the following observation:
“Cyberspace is continually expanding with new and innovative developments like the ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Big Data’, which will add to more levels of complexities and security challenges with regard to the various networks and systems.”
Bharat Shah, Microsoft’s vice president of security, shares this opinion. He told Reuters that as more and more people use the cloud, cyber security spending has to go up. The company has made cloud a priority in recent years and, in October, they announced that quarterly sales from its flagship cloud product Azure had rose 116 percent. They have set a target of achieving $20 billion in annual sales of commercial cloud products in the fiscal year 2018.
But this shift in focus has made the company a target for cyber attacks. According to Microsoft Data, the number of attempted cyber attacks per week has risen from 20,000 to 700,000 in little over three years. The company has sought to address these concerns with a number of acquisitions. Over the last two years, Microsoft has bought three security firms based in Israel: enterprise security startup Aorato, cloud security firm Adallom, and Secure Islands, whose data and file protection technology has been integrated into cloud service Azure Information Protection.
Earlier this week, they invested an undisclosed amount in Illusive Networks, which uses deception technology to detect cyber attacks. Though Microsoft does not have any near-term plans to implement deception technology, "we look at lots of different technologies that might be of use in the future," Shah said.
Shah also confirmed the $1 billion figure does not account for further acquisitions the software company may make in the sector.
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