Microsoft plans to continue investing more than $1 billion annually on cybersecurity R&D in the coming years, according to Bharat Shah, vice president of security at Microsoft, speaking to Reuters at Microsoft’s BlueHat cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv this week.
Microsoft cited the growing number of weekly cyberattacks as the reason for the continued large investment. Two to three years ago there used to be 20,000 attempted cyberattacks per week. Now, Microsoft says, 600,000-700,000 attacks are attempted per week.
In addition to its internal security investments, Microsoft is also investing significantly in Israel, having bought three Israel-based security firms over the last 18 months. The company’s venture arm also recently made three cybersecurity investments in Israel.
Microsoft clearly sees cybersecurity as a growing priority, and perhaps also a strategic investment for future growth. The company has already experimented with biometrics in Windows Hello, which allows users to scan their face, iris or fingerprints to verify their identity and sign in, as part of the Windows 10 operating system.
Large investments in new cybersecurity methods could potentially pay off big if a groundbreaking new security method emerges.
As technology continues to advance rapidly, even well-established companies like Microsoft must continue to look for the next big thing in order to ensure future survival for itself, as well as its customer base.