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Microsoft Boosts Cloud Security For Office 365 And Azure To Better Compete With Google And Amazon

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In a bid to give stiffer competition to Amazon and Google, Microsoft has beefed up the cloud security for its Office 365 and Azure.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced that it would be launching several products that will offer more online security tools to make companies feel secure.

"As attackers get more sophisticated, we need to evolve our ability to get real-time insights and predictive intelligence across our network so we can stay a step ahead of the threats," noted Bret Arsenault, Microsoft's CISO, in a blog post. He added that "In the 100 days since Satya discussed our newly invigorated approach to security, we've made some significant progress."

So what is the progress Arsenault is talking about? Microsoft has introduced a new service dubbed Advanced Threat Detection for its Azure Security Center, which has been in public preview since December 2015. This service, as the name suggests, is an intelligent method of spotting potential threats that could affects data and apps which are being run by companies on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft has announced security features for its cloud offerings such as SharePoint Online, Microsoft Azure and Office 365. Microsoft has also integrated tools for threat visualization and identity protection to offer insights that are real time, as well as predictive intelligence. These tools are in addition to the improved reporting and security management capabilities being offered.

Moreover, Microsoft is set to add several security management, as well as reporting features for its Azure and Office 365 cloud services. This is in keeping with Microsoft's holistic approach philosophy for enterprise security, which it announced in 2015.

Come April 2016, Microsoft is poised to unleash a new product dubbed Microsoft Cloud App Security to the market. The Microsoft Cloud App Security will enable users to get improved control, visibility and security for data which is held in cloud-based apps such as ServiceNow, Office 365, SalesForce, Ariba and Box. The Microsoft Cloud App Security product is based on Adallom's technology, a company Microsoft acquired the company in September 2015.

Microsoft will be bringing new security management abilities to its Office 365, which will be integrated with the new Microsoft Cloud App Security product. The abilities include security notification which will alert administrators of any mistrustful activity in the service. The IT department will also know what cloud services users of Office 365 are connecting to thanks to the cloud app discovery feature. The app permission feature will offer the administrator the ability to grant permission for or revoke third-party services to which the users are connecting Office 365 to.

In early Q2 2016, Microsoft intends to push out Customer Lockbox for OneDrive and SharePoint Online. This feature will enhance the process of consumer approval, as well as give additional transparency in scenarios where a Microsoft engineer is required to access data and accounts of Office 365 to troubleshoot issues. Currently, Customer Lockbox is available for Exchange Online.

Microsoft also has the Azure Active Directory Identity Protection feature in the works which will be capable of detecting suspicious end-user activities. How? By deploying the data Microsoft has on leaked credentials, brute force attacks, known infected devices and authentication from unknown locales.

Photo: Robert Scoble | Flickr

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