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Microsoft bolsters cloud security with acquisition of Adallom

Microsoft announces the acquisition of cloud security firm Adallom at the same time as fighting one of the most important legal battles in the history of digital privacy

Microsoft has made its second acquisition in as many weeks, this time snapping up cloud security specialist Adallom.

Founded in 2012 by alumni of the Israeli Intelligence Corps, Assaf Rappaport, Ami Luttwak and Roy Reznik, Adallom has carved a niche out for itself as a cloud access security broker.

Adallom allows users to gain a degree of visibility in otherwise opaque clouds and works with popular cloud applications such as Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, ServiceNow, Ariba, and Microsoft’s very own Office 365.

“With more frequent and advanced cybersecurity attacks continuing to make headlines, customer concerns around security remain top of mind,” Takeshi Numoto, VP of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft, wrote in a blog. “These concerns pose real challenges for IT, who are charged with protecting company data in this rapidly evolving mobile-first, cloud-first world. In this world, identity is a critical control plane for managing and protecting access to applications and data.”

“Adallom expands on Microsoft’s existing identity assets, and delivers a cloud access security broker, to give customers visibility and control over application access as well as their critical company data stored across cloud services.”

Neither party have revealed the financials behind the acquisition and, for the time being at least, it looks as though it will be business as usual Palo Alto-based company.

“The team will continue to evolve, build technology, sell solutions and work with customers as we complete the integration into Microsoft,” Numoto said.

Assaf Rappaport said on the company’s blog that the acquisition represented further ‘validation’ of Adallom’s vision, team and technology.

“This acquisition represents a major investment in cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) application security for the Microsoft team,” he wrote.

Last week, Microsoft announced that it was gobbling up Seattle-based organisational analytics firm VoloMetrix. The technology will be integrated into Office 365 and its forthcoming Delve Organisational Analytics solution. The aim of the game with VoloMetrix, is to make us all that little bit more productive.

While the two acquisitions are not directly related, they underpin Nadella’s cloud-first strategy, with the company focusing heavily on the development of the Office 365 suite.

With an apparent fondness for Israeli security solutions, the Redmond firm also bought hybrid cloud security provider Aorato last year. Aorato’s solution uses machine learning to build a picture of all of the people and machines accessing an organisation’s Active Directory (AD) and reports on suspicious activity.

Landmark court case

In other news, a federal appeals court will today hear arguments over the validity of a search warrant from the US government, insisting that Microsoft hand over emails stored in its Ireland data centre. The emails allegedly pertain to narcotics deals.

The case will set the precedent as to whether the United States government is entitled to compel US tech companies to hand over data stored in foreign countries.

Since the Snowden revelations, Microsoft and other US firms have been working hard to regain the trust of customers, particularly when it comes to data stored in the cloud. Microsoft recently gave Office 365 users the ability to choose regional data centres - the idea being that their data would not subject to often draconian US laws; however, Microsoft’s efforts will be in vein, should the courts rule in favour of the federal government. 

In an open letter, Microsoft urged both Congress and the White House to re-evaluate their stance on data sovereignty.

“In the U.S. we believe there is an important debate to be held about the best way to reform the law and our international relationships, and there are critical policy considerations on both sides,” the letter said. “Law enforcement needs to be able to do its job, but it needs to do it in a way that respects fundamental rights, including the personal privacy of people around the world and the sovereignty of other nations.”

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