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Microsoft today ad he acquired CloudKnox Security, a platform designed to protect resources and identities in multicloud and hybrid cloud environments. With the purchase, the terms of which were not disclosed, Microsoft says Azure customers will be able to properly size permissions and enforce least privilege principles, using ongoing scans to help prevent breaches. of security.

As organizations adapt to hybrid work and deploy more cloud services, virtual machines and containers proliferate. These entities have service accounts and associated permissions, privileges and rights, some of which threaten to expose organizations to new attack vectors. Problematically, organizations often struggle to assess and manage privileged access in cloud environments. Even if they put systems together, they still get an incomplete view of privileged access.

CloudKnox, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Which was co-founded in 2015 by former VMWare engineer Balaji Parimi and Rao Cherukuri, provides a service that leverages activity-based authorization APIs to discover and remediate machines and users. too privileged. The company emerged from stealth in 2017 and launched its authorization management product for hybrid and multicloud infrastructure the following year, in 2018. It claims to have invented technology to manage the rights of any identity – human or non-human. , regardless of their origin – across any cloud infrastructure with the same operating model.

CloudKnox reveals who has access to multicloud environments and endpoints, workspaces and workflows on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, active directories and VPNs. Built-in tools monitor users and digital identity actions on resources across clouds for anomalies. And an identity management component detects suspicious changes in geolocation and customer type.

CloudKnox, which had 58 employees, had raised $ 22.8 million in pre-acquisition venture capital. ClearSky, Sorenson Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital and Foundation Capital were among the investors in the startup’s previous funding rounds.

“We saw opportunities to deliver even greater value and a seamless experience across hybrid and multi-cloud clouds with deeper integrations within the Microsoft ecosystem,” Parimi wrote in a blog post. “By joining Microsoft, we can unlock new synergies and make it easier for our mutual customers to protect their multi-cloud and hybrid environments and strengthen their security posture. “

Strategic game

The market for cloud identity and access management solutions was worth an estimate $ 1 billion in 2020, and it is expected to grow to $ 16.2 billion by 2027. As Gartner analyst Michael Kelley told VentureBeat via email, the segment – as well as management services cloud infrastructure rights (CIEM) – remains an area of ​​great interest due to digital. transformation initiatives and “moving everything to the cloud”.

“Visibility for appropriate access into infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a significant concern for many organizations. And given the emphasis many organizations place on a multi-cloud approach to IaaS, while some platform vendors offer limited capabilities here, the market will find tools that can span multiple large IaaS environments, ”Kelley said. . “Managing access rights to cloud infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important challenge due to their rapid increase in number and complexity, further exacerbated by multicloud, where rights are defined and configured inconsistently. Traditional privileged access management and identity governance and administration solutions have not adequately addressed the need to manage extremely granular and dynamic rights. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) platforms also typically do not offer more in-depth identity controls over account access governance, such as identity lifecycle tasks. . “

Like CNBC Notes from Jordan Novet, in January, Microsoft announced that it generated more than $ 10 billion in security revenue in 2020, an increase of more than 40% year-over-year. Along with the company’s recent acquisition of the cybersecurity startup RiskIQ, which detects threats in the company’s computer footprints, the purchase of CloudKnox appears to be a doubling of the technologies likely to become in demand as public cloud threats spread. Global spending on cybersecurity products and services is expected to exceed $ 1 trillion in total over the five-year period from 2017 to 2021, according to cybersecurity companies.

“As IT modernization often spans multiple clouds, cloud security and identity is a priority for most of our customers. Modern identity security must protect all users and resources consistently in multicloud and hybrid cloud environments, ”Joy Chik, vice president of Microsoft Identity, wrote in a press release. “As the perimeter of the corporate network disappears, it is crucial to establish a strong cloud identity foundation, so that you can apply the least privileged access to protect critical systems while improving business agility. ‘business. We are committed to making it easy to enforce least privileged access for all user and workload identities.


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