Microsoft, The Security Company

During its lifetime, Microsoft has had to overcome many challenges. Everything from beating out Apple and IBM to become the dominant PC OS to dealing with the European Union after it was concluded the company was using monopolistic practices to push its own software ahead of its competition.

Even with these obstacles, the company has managed to capitalize on trends in the market before they arrive, such as the creation of their cloud platform, while also missing some obvious ones, too, such as the mobile smartphone segment. But with each change in the market, Microsoft has found a way to adapt and remain relevant, and if you are not looking closely, the company is in the middle of another pivot about how it is positioning its products.

Microsoft is quietly becoming a security vendor as layers of protection are now being built deep into all of its platforms from Azure down to Edge.

At Microsoft’s Ignite conference, the company announced a plethora of security features coming to both Office and Windows. For Windows, there is a new secure browser tool that will make using Edge in the enterprise space the safest browser, and the new Advanced Threat Protection features being built into Office will make it a quintessential part of the security layer corporations depend on to protect their data.

This is a profound move for the company but it’s also a forward-looking one as well. Today, it is quite easy to build a word processor or PowerPoint competitor, and even Excel, while much harder to replicate, is not immune to outside competitors. Google has released an entire suite of productivity tools that live in the browser that works for most tasks and Apple also has a productivity suite, although the Cupertino-based company has not updated it as frequently as either Microsoft or Google.

The change is happening across all of Microsoft's products, but it's Office that has the most profound impact for the company. Security built into Windows is a given, as we expect our operating system to be secure and the fact that they have 400 million people running Windows 10 also gives Microsoft the scale to be able to understand attack vectors unlike any other company on the planet. The same can be said for the company’s enterprise products such as Windows Server; we expect it to be secure as that’s what is demanded of enterprise grade products.

But Office is a productivity tool and Microsoft has figured out how to turn this product into another security layer that will soon become invaluable to large customers; announced at Ignite are several additional security features that will come with the company’s E5 version of Office 365. The ability to actively scan and recall malicious emails and Office 365 ATP being extended to the Office apps and OneDrive reduces the number of open attack vectors. Office is now a productivity tool as well a security layer.

At first, adding security to its products in the way that Microsof...

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