Microsoft bolsters zero trust play with CloudKnox buy

Microsoft, acquired security vendor RiskIQ,  reportedly paid US$500 million cash

Microsoft has acquired cloud security start-up CloudKnox, a move it hopes will offer Microsoft Azure Active Directory customers greater granular visibility, continuous monitoring and automated remediation for hybrid and multi-cloud permissions. 

Based in California, CloudKnox operates a platform for managing the identity privilege lifecycle across hybrid cloud environments. It employs an activity-based authorisation model to do this.  

The company claims its approach offers a non-intrusive way to manage identity privileges and protect organisations’ critical infrastructure from malicious and accidental credential abuse. 

From the perspective of Microsoft Identity corporate vice president Joy Chik, the move fits in with the vendor’s ongoing efforts to promote a zero trust security approach that verifies explicitly, grants least privileged access and always assumes breach — with identity as the first line of defence. 

“Since IT modernisation often spans multiple clouds, cloud security and identity are top of mind for most of our customers,” Chik said in a blog post. “Modern identity security needs to protect all users and resources consistently across multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.  

“Today, Microsoft is taking a significant step toward this goal with the acquisition of CloudKnox Security, a leader in cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM). 

“CloudKnox offers complete visibility into privileged access. It helps organisations right-size permissions and consistently enforce least-privilege principles to reduce risk, and it employs continuous analytics to help prevent security breaches and ensure compliance. This strengthens our comprehensive approach to cloud security,” she added. 

Now, CloudKnox’s solutions will be integrated with Microsoft’s identity, security and compliance solution portfolio.  

“Our acquisition of CloudKnox, like our recent acquisition announcements on RiskIQ and ReFirm Labs, shows our focus and execution in acquiring, integrating and expanding the strongest defences for our customers — from chip to cloud — backed by more than 3,500 defenders at Microsoft and the more than [eight] trillion security signals we process every day,” Chik said.  

Earlier this month, Microsoft said it had acquired security vendor RiskIQ in an effort to boost cyber security around digital transformation and the concept of zero trust. 

The global giant reportedly paid US$500 million cash for the surface-based security and risk management vendor, according to Bloomberg, and was said to gain access to the company’s alleged 100,000 users. 

On its website, RiskIQ said at the time that it would integrate its complementary data and solutions with Microsoft’s Security portfolio, which includes Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft Azure Defender and Microsoft Azure Sentinel. It also said it would continue to “grow and work with the valued members” of its Interlock Partner Program. 

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