Yesterday, Microsoft published its latest earnings report, revealing details of a strong quarter for its Office and cloud businesses, with further significant increases in revenue and usage of its Azure platform. As Microsoft's cloud services grow in popularity, the company is spending vast sums on security efforts to protect its consumer and enterprise customers.
Last May, Microsoft published its biannual Security Intelligence Report incorporating cloud data for the first time, in recognition of the growing importance of the cloud. It detailed the company's efforts to track, respond and prevent malicious threats in an era of online computing.
Microsoft vice president of security Bharat Shah told Reuters at the company's BlueHat conference this week that it's spending over $1 billion per year on cybersecurity research and development, and that it will continue to do so. But Shah also noted that "as more and more people use cloud, that spending has to go up."
According to recent Microsoft data, the number of cyberattacks worldwide has risen from 20,000 a week, to as many as 700,000 a week, over the last three years. With cyber-threats growing at such an alarming rate, Microsoft has little choice but to continue increasing its cloud security investment, developing systems such as Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
Microsoft's $1 billion annual spend on cybersecurity R&D doesn't include investments into, or acquisitions of, other companies to help boost its own development efforts. Just this week, Microsoft invested an undisclosed amount into Illusive Networks, which develops deception technology to help analyze and even prevent potential cyberattacks.
Shah added that greater progress needs to be made in moving towards a 'post-password' future. This includes efforts such as Microsoft's Windows Hello biometric authentication platform, which supports iris scans, facial recognition, and fingerprints as an alternative to conventional password security.
Microsoft is also said to be developing a new 'Cloud Shell' for Windows 10, described as a "lightweight version of Windows designed for the modern computing world".