Microsoft has released the latest version of its biannual Security Intelligence Report (SIR), which covers July to December 2015. This report, which is Microsoft’s twentieth in the last ten years, is the first to include cloud security data. Microsoft claims the SIR “reveals how Microsoft is leveraging an intelligent security graph to inform how it protect endpoints, better detect attacks and accelerate its response, to help protect its consumers.”
The report provided some interesting statistics about how services like Azure Active Directory are being used. Among other security features, Azure Active Directory provides single sign-on to thousands of cloud apps and features multi-factor authentication. It notes:
- At the end of 2015, Azure Active Directory was being used by 8.24 million tenants with over 550 million users
- Azure Active Directory averaged over 1.3 billion requests per day.
- Every day, Microsoft processed over 13 billion logins from hundreds of millions of Microsoft Account users.
Microsoft also studied incidents of cyber-attacks to determine where they were coming from, so it can design machine-learning systems to prevent attacks in the future. The report found:
- Compromised login attempts were blocked from unfamiliar locations nearly three quarters of the time
- Attackers were located in different parts of the world:
- 49% in Asia
- 20% in South America
- 14% in Europe
- 13% in North America
- 4% in Africa
According to Microsoft, “account compromise is among the most serious cyber risk that consumers and organizations face.” Luckily, the sheer size and scale of Microsoft’s cloud allows it to gather “an enormous amount of intelligence on malicious behavior” and the effectiveness of certain protections against these attacks. Microsoft says that with intelligent analysis of data like the statistics I’ve listed above, the company “automatically detects and prevents more than 10 million attacks, from tens of thousands of locations, including millions of attacks where the attacker has valid credentials – adding up to more than four billion attacks prevented in 2015.”
This news will be comforting to organizations that are still hesitant to move to the cloud because of lingering concerns about security. Despite advances in security practices, many are hesitant to make the jump. While fears are beginning to subside as more and more businesses see the value in utilizing the cloud, they’re not fully dissipated yet. Reports like Microsoft’s SIR are helpful in assuring IT decision makers that data protection in the cloud is a top priority. This was just a snippet of the information provided in the SIR, which is available for free download here.