Microsoft will continue its push against cyber crime and has confirmed it will invest over $1 billion per year on cyber security. The company says the amount is reserved solely for research and development. Any acquisitions in the sector will be made with separate funds. The commitment was made by Bharat Shah, Microsoft vice president of security.
Shah spoke to Reuters at Microsoft’s BlueHat cyber security conference in Tel Aviv, Israel. He suggested that the number of new customers moving to the cloud means Microsoft must continue with robust research in cyber security.
Microsoft’s own data shows that cyber attacks have increased significantly over a few years. There were 20,000 attacks per week around three years ago, but now that number is between 600,000 and 700,000.
The company has discussed its security and privacy protection significantly for platforms such as Windows 10. However, cybersecurity in the cloud is arguably more important as customers move to an always-connected world. Service like Azure and Office 365 are hugely popular, so Microsoft needs to make sure customers feel secure.
Azure has enjoyed significant growth over last year, with quarterly sales rising 116% through Q3, 2016. Microsoft is locked in a battle for cloud supremacy with Amazon. With cyber crimes increasing, the war could be won or lost on how secure companies can make their cloud platforms and services.
To bolster its security investments, Reuters reports that Microsoft has acquired three security firms. All of them are from Israel, which is viewed as a growing center of cyber security start-ups. The company will integrate acquired services into its own products.
Indeed, Microsoft has made two Israeli-based cyber security investment during this month. Just two days ago, the company announced an investment in start-up company Illusive Networks. The company’s technology helps organizations protect themselves with deception techniques. Using deception frameworks, the technology finds and traps hackers before they find a target.
Also this month, Microsoft Ventures invested inacquired Team 8, an Israeli start-up, a company that specializes in creating security start-ups. The investment was part of a wider funding round that also included companies such as Qualcomm.