A Microsoft exec explains its new 'simplification' strategy for cybersecurity, including bringing its flagship antivirus tools to Android and iPhone

  • Microsoft is announcing new cybersecurity tools on Tuesday at its Ignite conference. 
  • The company is taking a strategy of simplifying an increasingly complex cybersecurity world for companies protecting remote workers. 
  • Part of that simplification is bundling emerging tools in a new version of its antivirus software — including the availability of its Defender antivirus tools on Android and iOS, as well as Windows.
  • A Gartner analyst praised the strategy, saying: "Microsoft is just making it so bloody easy." 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In a new strategy to "simplify security," Microsoft is bundling several emerging cybersecurity tools in one product that can protect multiple platforms, including iOS and Android, the company is announcing at a virtual edition of its annual Ignite conference on Tuesday. 

"We are super-focused on simplification," Vasu Jakkal, a Microsoft corporate vice president, told Business Insider.

Jakkal, formerly chief marketing officer of $2.8 billion FireEye, recently joined the company in a new executive role overseeing cybersecurity marketing. She explained the strategy to Business Insider as providing an "easy button" many companies need. 

The new approach, which she is speaking about Tuesday at Ignite, seeks to address "the complexity which is out there with the explosion of devices and data during remote working and remote learning."

Gartner analyst Peter Firstbrook says the simplification play is a winner. "We're seeing a ton of customers who need to standardize their security around a company, and Microsoft is just making it so bloody easy. It's definitely a good strategy."  

In bundling products, Microsoft is pulling together a tool that tracks threats within company networks, called extended detection and response (XDR), with a cloud-based dashboard that provides a comprehensive view of all security data, called security information and event management (SIEM).

Firstbrook says pulling XDR, which is real-time detection of phishing emails, hackers and other threats, is a big plus for companies seeking to protect remote workers. 

Bundling the latest tools into a product that works across platforms is the latest in ambitious steps the software giant has taken in cybersecurity since the COVID-19 pandemic sent workers home. 

As leading proponents of the "zero trust" cybersecurity philosophy, Microsoft has advocated agile tools that find threats in real time. But that represented a loss in its industry-leading Windows Defender antivirus, built into many PCs. The new product pulls the emerging tools into the revised antivirus in a product called Microsoft Defender, which will also be available to protect different platforms, including Android and iOS. 

The new mobile products will protect against phishing emails and other threats such as malicious text messages on mobile devices, pulling cybersecurity data and alerts into a central dashboard that monitors employees' laptop and mobile threats in the same place. That way, phishing emails are reported to the company in the same dashboard, whether they are received on a laptop or phone. Tracking those threats on different products from separate vendors can prevent companies from seeing a comprehensive view of threats, Microsoft says. 

At the same time, Microsoft says it is integrating with other companies on cybersecurity more than in the past. Microsoft is also announcing new application integrations that help companies securely sign into Box, Slack, Zoom and other enterprise apps. 

Partnering with other security companies and companies that make remote working tools is another big security theme of Ignite. "There has been a widespread sentiment that Microsoft protects Microsoft," Jakkal says. "We want to secure the competition."

Source: Read Full Article