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Microsoft to Add Secure Islands to Its Cloud

By Richard Adhikari
Nov 11, 2015 2:28 PM PT

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to purchase data security firm Secure Islands.

It will pay between $78 million and $150 million, according to reports, but company spokesperson Joel Sider declined to disclose the terms of the acquisition, which requires regulatory approval.

Secure Islands' products will be integrated into the Azure Rights Management Service, but current clients can continue using its products for now, Microsoft said.

"Secure Islands intends to continue to sell and support its existing solutions," Sider told the E-Commerce Times. "Over time, we'll integrate the solutions into Azure Rights Management Service."

In the short term, Secure Islands will continue to support its existing customer base, which includes several banks and Hewlett-Packard, suggested Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

In the long term, "it will depend on whether this separate business makes sense or a different bundle or offering will better meet both Microsoft's and its customers' needs, but they won't give up the business unless it's unprofitable to continue it," he told the E-Commerce Times.

What the Technology Does

Secure Islands' products provide data classification, protection and loss prevention for virtually any type of file.

Its flagship IQProtector and other products have supported Windows Azure Active Directory Rights Management Service and on-premises Active Directory infrastructure since at least 2013.

The solutions incorporate intelligent data-centric security technology that's classification-driven. Secure Islands technology automatically applies RMS protection to any file from any source, including applications, file shares and cloud services. It enables use of protected files within unsupported RMS applications as well.

Customers include UBS, Vodafone and Credit Suisse as well as HP.

Closing the Circle

Microsoft earlier this year purchased Adallom, whose technology monitors the use of Software as a Service applications from Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, Dropbox and Amazon.

Adallom lets IT use log analytics to monitor SaaS application activity, define and enforce cross-SaaS policy, see who did what and when to satisfy auditing and reporting requirements, and identify and block suspicious behavior.

Adallom's technology will protect users of Office 365 and other Microsoft SaaS apps.

Together, Secure Islands' technology in Azure RMS and Adallom's technology will provide customers with a comprehensive data solution, Microsoft said.

"There's simply no excuse today not to follow best practices of encrypting all sensitive personal and financial data as it enters a system, is at rest, in use and in motion," said Mark Bower, global director of product management at HPE Security - Data Security.

"The ability to render data useless if lost or stolen, through data-centric encryption, is ... essential," he told the E-Commerce Times.

Cloud Booms

Cloud service revenues exceeded $6 billion in the third quarter of 2015, and growth rates are increasing, Synergy Research Group found.

For the second consecutive quarter, the annualized growth rate went above the 50 percent mark, according to John Dinsdale, managing director at Synergy. The top four cloud service providers -- Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM and Google -- are aggressively launching more services that target a broader range of IT workloads and applications.

Security is one area where more can be done.

"The cloud is still seen as mostly a value play, trading off security and reliability for cost," Enderle said. "As it matures, the various vendors are differentiating on all three vectors."

Innovative startups are driving the security market for public cloud services, according to ABI Research. The most dynamic area is identity and access management, and ABI expects this area to top $2 billion in revenues by 2019.

Microsoft and Security

Microsoft announced earlier this year at AzureCon the Azure Security Center, which integrates with security solutions from various cybersecurity vendors, including Cisco Systems, CloudFlare, F5 Networks, Barracuda and Trend Micro.

It also analyzes information gathered from customers' deployments and compares that with global threat intelligence Microsoft aggregates.

Azure Security Center will be available broadly by year's end, and it's likely Secure Islands' and Adallom's technologies will be rolled into it.

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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