Microsoft has announced the renaming of Adallom, a company it purchased last year in a deal which cost it around $250 million, to Microsoft Cloud App Security. The renaming, which is of course an attempt to completely amalgamate the company with Microsoft, is another step along CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy of securing the key elements of the Microsoft ecosystem along with the infrastructure.
A Microsoft blog post outlined the challenges of using the cloud and the need for a comprehensive protection scheme.
While moving to the cloud has increased flexibility for employees and reduced IT cost, it has also introduced new complexity and challenges for keeping your organization secure. To realize the full benefit of cloud applications, IT teams must find the right balance of enabling access while maintaining control to protect critical data.
Which is where Cloud App Security comes in. The service will help companies detect cloud apps that are being used in their IT infrastructure. The cloud apps need not to bear the Microsoft logo in order for the Cloud App Security feature to recognize them as such and the service will let admins look across their own organization and recognize any and all cloud apps operational at any given moment.
So you can have apps from Azure or virtually any other competing platform: If it’s based on the clouds, Microsoft Cloud App Security will recognize it as such.
The feature is bound to come in handy when dealing with the excesses of employees at work. For example, how many cloud apps are being used by an employee while he/she is at work and even more importantly, how many of the said apps are unsanctioned.
Cloud App Security is a critical component of the Microsoft Cloud Security stack and a comprehensive solution to help organizations take full advantage of the promise of cloud applications while maintaining control with improved visibility into activity and increased protection of critical data across cloud applications. With tools to help uncover Shadow IT, assess risk, enforce policies, investigate activities and stop threats, organizations can safely move to the cloud while maintaining control of critical data.
As per data collected by Adallom turned-into Microsoft Cloud App Security, the average employee at work uses 17 cloud apps at work behind the back of the not-so-vigilant IT department. And while there certainly were tools to look into the issue, the Cloud App Security service is taking things to a completely new level. Not only is the service capable of putting the amount of data is moving outside the organization in black and white, but is also capable of pinpointing violation of security or compliance rules.
The app will also let admins apply controls across the breadth of their organizations, that will not only let them prevent unauthorized access to information from cloud based sources, but will also prevent unwarranted sharing of information. Again, this is not about exerting control or peeking over the employees shoulder, but rather about ensuring that the resources provided by the company are deployed in correct places.
Microsoft has succinctly put what you can do with the service, in three points:
Discover all the cloud apps in your network, identify users and usage, and assess risk—no agents required.
Shape your cloud environment with granular controls and use out-of-the-box or custom policies for data sharing, and data loss prevention (DLP).
Identify high-risk usage and security incidents, detect abnormal user behavior, and prevent threats.
The service has several other benefits over competitors as well, including a deeper integration leading to advanced security management capabilities for Office 365 apps and a “simple deployment and management process, which is scalable, non-intrusive, and integrates with your current solutions.”
The Adallom acquisition has proved quite beneficial for both the parties involved. While Microsoft gained access to a cutting edge technology that it was able to adopt as its own, and deploy to enhance its security framework, Adallom gained all the benefits of being associated with a company of Microsoft’s stature. Along with access to the Azure security stack, its security graph data, top-notch security and IT executives, the company traded its identity to become part of one the biggest corporations on the planet.
The Cloud App Security service is available as a per-user subscription basis at an estimated cost of $5/user/month and can be deployed with any supported cloud application.