- Microsoft wants to market its $15 billion cybersecurity business to remote workers and distributors.
- The company just announced a slew of new products, including a security chip initially designed for the Xbox.
- Vice President of Security David Weston spoke about the company’s strategy to control the security of remote work.
Microsoft believes remote work is here to stay — and it’s betting on this $15 billion cybersecurity proposal.
That’s because remote workers can be more vulnerable to cyber attacks than office workers, given that companies no longer control the networks and devices employees use. Those threats have already started – a survey of IT leaders by security firm Tenable found that 74% of respondents cited remote work as the cause of at least one attack last year.
In an interview with Insider, Microsoft’s Vice President of Enterprise Security, David Weston, dismantled the company’s strategy for controlling remote work security, which relies on moving its security tools from legacy network architecture to devices and applications used by remote workers. It also includes the help of a piece of security hardware that was initially created to prevent Xbox players from cheating.
The new products reflect Microsoft’s broader strategy to invest in security offerings for both consumers and businesses.
“The security defenses of your traditional organization are aligned with being in the same physical space,” Weston said. “Hybrid Action took a hammer and smashed that to shreds.”
The company announced a slew of new cybersecurity products for Windows 11 this week, including tools that give companies more control over how employees use their devices. New Smart App Controls will use artificial intelligence to block the running of any seemingly suspicious or malicious apps, and Configuration Lock will lock the device if users try to disable important antivirus software.
Microsoft is also rolling out new hardware security products for Windows 11. It’s releasing the new Microsoft Pluton security processor, which was originally designed for Xbox to prevent gamers from modifying their systems to cheat in games. When used in a computer, the processor is intended to make it difficult for hackers to physically break into the CPU if they gain access to an employee’s physical device. The Pluton chip also updates automatically when Windows pushes software patches, unlike previous security chips.
“We want to secure both ends of the software — both the software on the chip and the software in the operating system that makes everything work together,” Weston said.
Microsoft’s security business has fueled the company’s growth in the past year. CEO Satya Nadella, in the company’s latest earnings call, said he wants to market the company’s cybersecurity to a variety of customers, including those who use other vendors for services like software or cloud infrastructure.