Microsoft's cybersecurity exec on growth strategies – Business Insider


  • Microsoft announced $10 billion in annual security revenue on Tuesday.
  • Its head of cybersecurity marketing says end-to-end security and AI will continue growth.
  • The company also announced new cloud security services and IoT security tools. 
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On Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that as part of the firm’s strong Q2 earnings it recorded $10 billion in cybersecurity revenue over the past 12 months, a 40% year-over-year jump. Vasu Jakkal, the software giant’s marketing chief for cybersecurity, says Microsoft will harness two “superpowers” to continue that growth as a “great unifier” in the cybersecurity industry. 

Jakkal, a corporate vice president who joined Microsoft from competitor FireEye six months ago, told Insider the company’s ability to address cybersecurity, data compliance, identity authentication and system management gives it a uniquely comprehensive approach no other company can match. And she said the company’s artificial intelligence abilities – its system processes 8 trillion security data points a day – is unsurpassed, too. 

“Those superpowers – end-to-end value proposition coupled with the signals for AI and automation — I believe that’s what has helped us reach this milestone and positions us really well for future growth,” she said. 

In the coming year, Microsoft plans to expand its focus on security tools to protect Internet of Things devices, as well as additional cloud security services for companies with multi-cloud projects. On Wednesday it announced product news in those areas, with new cloud security products for IoT devices, especially in the industrial sector, and cybersecurity support services for Azure multi-cloud protection.

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In a complicated industry with many competitors vying for enterprise market share, Microsoft aims to provide a “simple button” that unifies tools for companies, Jakkal said. 

“The security landscape is very fragmented. You have endpoint security companies, email security companies, compliance companies — and we have all of this in one portfolio, stitched up,” she said. “That’s important because you don’t know what is the weakest link in your organization, and you have to look at it from all aspects.”

Jakkal said the company sees itself as a “great unifier” that will partner with other cybersecurity companies to further its “zero trust” approach to security that authenticates all users continually, rather than relying heavily on network parameters, such as antivirus or firewalls.  

Nadella called the $10 billion a “milestone” that was “a testament to the deep trust organizations place in us, and we will continue to invest in new capabilities across all our products and services to protect our customers.”

While the company says that the cyber revenue shows up in its Office 365, Azure, and Windows figures — which means that it’s spread across the firms three reporting units — Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives believes that it cybersecurity had a significant impact on its Azure cloud. 

“Microsoft is in a firm position to gain more market share” from cloud-computing rival Amazon Web Services, he said, adding that”Microsoft and Nadella would not be having the cloud success they are today if it was not for the gargantuan security initiatives that have come out of Redmond,” Microsoft’s Washington state headquarters. Revenue for Microsoft’s Azure cloud grew 50% year-over-year, though the firm doesn’t disclose specific figures (its “Intelligent Cloud” unit, which includes Azure, reported revenue of $14.6 billion in the second quarter). 

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The sweeping SolarWinds supply-chain attacks — first publicized late last year — that compromised major corporations and federal agencies could actually benefit Microsoft’s security business, some analysts say — even though hackers used its products as part of the attack and spied on its source code.



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