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Microsoft boosts security spend with 'holistic' strategy

The company's approach brings together Windows 10, Office 365, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite

A padlock against a golden background to represent cyber security

Microsoft has announced a "holistic, agile security system", which will see the unification of its Windows 10, Office 365, Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite solutions with partner offerings to make it one of the most secure ecosystems in existence.

The company's Satya Nadella revealed how the innovations across devices and infrastructure will be used alongside the intelligent security graph to prevent password-based attacks, the loss and theft or corporate data and safeguard against the installation of malware on machines and networks.

Windows 10's Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello work together to implement biometric-based safeguards, eliminating the needs for traditional passwords, while Credential Guard has been designed to stop hackers being able to use one account to access others in the same network using virtualisation.

Advanced Threat Analytics protects and organisation's system users by identifying inconsistent patterns in traffic and recommends configuration changes according to information flagged as suspicious. The Azure Active Directory aspect of the ecosystem unifies sign-in for IT departments and users to make it simpler for users and of course, more secure.

To prevent companies and users being subject to accidental or intentional data loss, Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite is on hand to manage corporate apps and services across all screens - whether an employee is using Android, iOS or Windows on their mobile device.

"As an increasing number of employees work from personal devices we are having to balance user privacy with the need to protect the confidentiality of corporate apps and data," Bret Arsenault, chief information security officer at Microsoft explained. "To enable this scenario, today we started rolling out support for mobile application management without the need to enroll the device."

Another new addition is Azure Security Center, which has entered private preview. It works with a number of third parties including Barracuda, Checkpoint, Cisco Systems Inc., CloudFlare, F5 Networks, Imperva, Incapsula, and Trend Micro Inc. to provide analytics-driven threat detection allowing IT staff to respond to threats as they happen.

Third parties including Box, Adobe and SAP will all be contributing to the robust security system, with the former two companies offering Microsoft Intune native apps on iOS and Android and the latter adding customer-developed mobile apps supporting Intune mobile app management. Customer Lockbox will secure data in Office 365 from December 1st while Equivio Analytics for eDiscovery will help manage large quantities of data for eDiscovery using machine learning and text analytics.

"We've always done a good job in caring about writing secure code and making secure services. We needed to do more to protect endpoints and get intelligence from the cloud so we're making investments in a number of areas," Arsenault explained.

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