Microsoft’s Security Business Swells to $10 Billion | #microsoft | #hacking | #cybersecurity


Microsoft Corp.’s

security business surged to $10 billion in revenue over the past 12 months, the company said, reflecting an uptick in cyber threats during the coronavirus pandemic as companies rejiggered their computer systems to operate remotely.

The more than 40% year-over-year growth illustrates how cloud providers are gobbling up big slices of the fast-growing cybersecurity market as many companies accelerate their shift to cloud-based services, executives and analysts say.

Microsoft’s investments in security in recent years have made it a hulking competitor to some smaller cyber firms that specialize in areas such as email security and identity management, said

Alex Henderson,

a cyber analyst at investment bank Needham Group Inc.

“It’s not that [companies] think Microsoft is necessarily a better product,” he said. “But it’s cheaper and bundled in with other products that you need.”

Microsoft Chief Executive

Satya Nadella

shared the growth of the company’s security business Tuesday alongside record fourth-quarter sales. The overall results were driven in part by increased adoption of cloud-based services, which cybersecurity experts say improve companies’ flexibility to work remotely but can reduce visibility of potential threats to computer systems.

Pointing to the sprawling hack of U.S. agencies and corporations revealed last month, Mr. Nadella said, “The recent

SolarWinds

attacks are a stark reminder of how critical security is to our customers.”

Microsoft said in December that the attackers who breached the network management company SolarWinds Corp., sending a malicious software update to as many as 18,000 customers, also breached its systems. The attack has forced a reckoning across the public and private sectors with supply chain security.

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While the SolarWinds hack showed how attackers could weaponize a vendor’s scale,

Vasu Jakkal,

Microsoft’s corporate vice president of security, compliance and identity, said in a blog post Thursday that the company’s footprint across the cloud and traditional apps allows it to analyze more data in real time.

Other major cloud providers, including

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google and

Amazon.com Inc.’s

Amazon Web Services, have invested in bolstering their security in recent years.

Some cyber firms, such as

Cloudflare Inc.,

partner with cloud providers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services to secure companies’ digital infrastructure, Cloudflare CEO

Matthew Prince

said. Companies often rely on multiple such vendors depending on the workplace tools they need, he said, requiring security teams to stitch together and monitor decentralized networks.

“Over the long term,” he added, “there will be times that we compete and times that we cooperate.”

Write to David Uberti at david.uberti@wsj.com

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