Michael Wignall – Microsoft UK – leads the front line response to cyber security incidents against the UK in his role as CTO
cyber security uk
cyber security uk Microsoft is a huge player in the cyber security space, although many people don’t realise this. The company invests $1 billion annually in cyber security.
The majority of this investment goes into securing Microsoft’s own systems — which makes sense for an organisation whose systems, such as Office 365, Windows on the desktop and the Azure cloud platform. But, because of their popularity, these systems need to be trusted and secure.
Microsoft, like many multinationals, is a big target for hackers. The security of its platform, therefore, needs to be state-of-the-art. And that’s why there is such large levels of investment in it.
However, that is not where all the cyber security investment goes. The second area surrounds particular security products or services that Microsoft offers to its customers.
“We deliver a number of capabilities, such as our Advanced Threat Protection products, around mobile device management, which customers use to secure their own estates,” says Michael Wignall, CTO, Microsoft UK. “In that space, we’ve got Microsoft Security Graft, which takes all of the signals and telemetry we have from billions of data points around the world to give us a good view of the threat landscape. We feed that information into the systems to try and proactively mitigate threats as they come up.”
From a UK perspective, Wignall and his team do a lot of work around making sure the global message of cyber security meets any UK-specific requirements.
For example, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has published 14 cloud security principles for cloud providers to evidence how they do things, such as encrypt data at rest and in transit, or provide strong authentication for user access.
Accordingly, Wignall and his team have done a lot of work to make sure the controls they put in place on their platforms meet the UK Government’s security principles. This means “we can run workloads that are ‘official’, or official sensitive on our cloud platforms. We’ve done that for Government.”
“If the UK has a particular requirement, which it often does, and it’s quite forward thinking in this space, then that gets fed back into corporate engineering and then built into the product as a whole. So everyone gets the benefit of it.”