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2/20/2020
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Microsoft Announces General Availability of Threat Protection, Insider Risk Management

Microsoft made several security announcements ahead of RSA Conference, including its decision to bring Microsoft Defender to iOS and Android.

Microsoft today announced the general availability of its Threat Protection and Insider Risk Management platforms, as well as the decision to bring Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection to iOS and Android. The announcements come amid a wave of security product news ahead of RSA Conference.

When Microsoft Threat Protection (MTP) arrived in public preview last December, it was described as an "integrated solution" built on the Microsoft 365 security suite: Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for endpoints, Office 365 ATP for email and collaboration, Azure ATP for identity alerts, and Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) for software-as-a-service applications.

MTP is designed to bring the capabilities of all of these Microsoft systems together into a single tool and, in doing so, to coordinate threat detection and response. It looks across domains to understand a chain of events, pinpoint affected assets, and protect resources. MTP prioritizes incidents for investigation and response, terminates malicious processes on endpoints, and removes mail-forwarding rules an attacker may have put in place. It's meant to give admins greater visibility, stop attacks from spreading, and automatically fix assets affected in an attack.

Insider Risk Management, built into Microsoft 365 and launched in preview at last year's Ignite, aims to help security teams address a threat that has become a primary concern among CISOs. It started with an internal demand at Microsoft to use machine learning to detect threats based on user behavior, explains Ann Johnson, corporate vice president of cybersecurity at Microsoft.

"It's one of those solutions that when we brought it to market, the demand was instant," she says. Insider Risk Management uses the same technology that classifies and protects 50 billion documents for Microsoft users; it's meant to bring signals, sensitivity labels, and content into a single view so admins can get a picture of what's happening and take appropriate action.

Many insider threat cases are not inherently malicious, Johnson explains. In one preview case, an employee had forwarded a work email to their personal email because there was data they wanted to access, and they didn't realize the email contained confidential proprietary data. In another, the tool picked up on users authenticating into applications from different locations.

The preview process taught Microsoft about how companies approach insider threats, which the company believed would be more of a compliance issue, Johnson says. "What we've learned is a lot of customers consider insider risk management solely a SOC problem," she explains. Going forward, a goal is to add new capabilities to educate customers on how they can integrate insider threat management into their broader risk management platforms.

In addition to making MTP and Insider Risk Management generally available, Microsoft is bringing Defender ATP to Linux in public preview and plans to bring the security platform to Android and iOS later this year. Mobile apps for both platforms will be demonstrated at next week's RSA Conference. Defender ATP is already available on Windows and Mac platforms.

Among Microsoft's announcements are changes and capabilities to Azure Sentinel, first debuted in February 2019 and made generally available in September. The cloud-native SIEM narrows down high volumes of signals into the significant incidents security teams should prioritize. In December, Microsoft used Sentinel to evaluate nearly 50 billion suspicious signals and generated 25 high-confidence alerts for the security operations team to investigate.

Microsoft is bringing in new data connectors and workbooks from Forcepoint, Zimperium, Quest, CyberArk, Squadra, and other partners to enable easier data collection. A new connector for Azure Security Center for IoT lets admins onboard data workloads from the Internet of Things into Azure Sentinel from deployments managed in the IoT Hub. It's also releasing new developer documents, guides, samples, validation criteria, and updated GitHub Wiki.

To show how Azure Sentinel can pull security insights from across the enterprise, Microsoft is letting new and current Azure Sentinel users import Amazon Web Services CloudTrail logs at no additional cost from Feb. 24 through June 30, 2020.

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's featured story: "10 Tough Questions CEOs Are Asking CISOs."

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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