Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will continue to sink large chunks of money to battle cyber-attacks over the next several years, as it has pledged to spend at least $1 billion every year to protect its users. That amount includes research and development to stay ahead of hackers, but it doesn’t include any cash Microsoft might spend on acquisitions in the area of cyber-security.
Ready for the growing threat
Microsoft data suggests that two to three years ago, hackers attempted to carry out about 20,000 cyber-attacks each week. However, the firm states that the number of attempts is now up to between 600,000 and 700,000 per week.
But the growing number of cyber-attack attempts isn’t the only reason cyber-security is growing in importance. Microsoft Vice President of Security Bharat Shah told Reuters at the company’s BlueHat conference in Israel that it’s also important because of consumers’ growing adoption of cloud services.
Microsoft also makes external investments in cyber-security
Over a little more than two years, Microsoft has also acquired three firms with expertise in the area of cyber-security. The company has bought startup Aorato, which focuses on enterprise security, Adallom, a general cloud security company, and Secure Islands, maker of a technology for protection of data and files. Secure Islands’ technology has already been integrated into Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection cloud offering.
The Windows maker is also sinking money into cyber-security by making investments externally through its venture capital arm. The company has reportedly invested into three Israel-based firms. One of those investments was made just this week, with Microsoft investing an undisclosed amount into Illusive Networks. The firm is able to detect cyber-attacks through its deception technology, which some banks and retailers have already been using. Microsoft also said earlier this month that it had invested in Team8, the maker of Illusive Networks.
Shah told Reuters that they don’t currently plan to start using deception technology in any of its products, it does examine many different kinds of technologies that could be of use at some point. He also expects to move toward broadening non-password methods for user authentication. Among the company’s newer offerings is Windows Hello, which is part of Windows 10 and enables users to sign in using a face scan, fingerprint or iris scan.