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Microsoft will rent out security pros along with Defender software

Microsoft will rent out security pros along with Defender software
Photo Credit: Pixabay
9 May, 2022
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Microsoft, today, announced that it will expand the Defender range of cybersecurity services by adding skilled personnel to the offering. The company, which provides the Microsoft Defender software as a service, will now allow enterprises to rent skilled security personnel along with the software. The expansion is part of a programme called "Security Experts".

The range of services under Security Experts include "Defender Experts for Hunting", for companies that need active threat hunters to join an existing cyber security team. Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice-president and chief marketing officer of security, compliance and identity at Microsoft, said that "Experts for Hunting can help firms with a good level of cyber security maturity to better understand factors such as attack vectors of a specific cyber exploit, or what targets are exploited by nation-state hackers, among others."

The second category is Defender Experts for XDR, or managed extended detection and response. The service will be launched in late 2022, and will be targeted at companies looking to expand their cyber security operations without adding to manpower, infrastructure or office costs.

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Microsoft Security Services for Enterprises combines the two above-mentioned services, and includes other features such as Microsoft’s cross-platform Defender for Cloud tool. This umbrella service offers an all-inclusive package for companies looking to set-up a fully managed cyber security team, which would take care of both proactive threat hunting and reactive cyber threat responses as well.

To be sure, this is not an industry-first example of companies offering human expertise alongside software as part of managed cyber security services. For instance, US-based cyber security firm Crowdstrike offers MDR services under its Falcon Complete suite – a service identical to Microsoft’s Security Experts. UK-based security firm Sophos also offers Managed Threat Response – a fully-managed cyber security service with a team of professionals to augment a company’s own security efforts. US-based Cybereason also offers its own service, MDR Complete, to companies across the world.

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s annual Internet Crime Report for 2021 stated that total money lost to cyber crimes increased by 64% year on year to reach $6.9 billion last year. A report by market research company Cybersecurity Ventures projected that by 2025, total losses including monetary, infrastructure and other aspects could amount to $10.5 trillion.

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This, Jakkal wrote, citing a Gartner report, would urge up to 50% of all companies that are connected to the internet to opt for MDR services within the next three years. This is further compounded by a lack of skilled cyber security professionals around the world – while Jakkal said in a blog post that one out of every three cyber security roles in USA remain vacant right now, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report from earlier this year said that globally, over 3 million cyber security jobs need to be filled.

Security Experts is an effort to catch a piece of this burgeoning field. Both big and small cyber security companies have already made efforts to expand the scope of their services by offering cross-platform compatibility, as well as hybrid tools for multi-cloud and on-premise software support.

With Security Experts, Microsoft doesn’t want companies to use just its security software – it wants them to use their people, too.

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