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Microsoft to acquire Hexadite for $100 million

Microsoft on June 8, 2017, announced that has firmed up its decision to acquire Hexadite for a consideration of $100 million. Apparently, the buyout will help Microsoft to incorporate artificial intelligence in its automated responses to cyber threats, E-Commerce Times reported. It may be recalled that the media reported sometime back that Microsoft was negotiating with Hexadite for a consideration of $100 million, though both the firms declined to disclose the terms of the official agreement.Advantage The acquisition will help bolster Microsoft’s efforts to help commercial Windows 10 customers deal with advanced attacks on their networks, quoting a company statement, the report said. Currently, Microsoft offers Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection to detect zero-day attacks, ransomware, and other advanced threats, and the Hexadite technology will build on that, noted the report.The buyout includes Hexadite's endpoint security automated remediation. Support for activations of WDATP, which currently protects two million devices, will continue, said the report.

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Terry Myerson, EVP of the Windows and devices group at Microsoft said, "Our vision is to deliver a new generation of security capabilities that help our customers protect, detect and respond to the constantly evolving and ever-changing cyber-security landscape. What is more, Hexadite's technology and talent will augment our existing capabilities and enable our ability to add new tools and services to Microsoft's robust enterprise security offerings.”Automation and OrchestrationDan Cummins, senior analyst for security at 451 Research said: "Hexadite is not detection technology. Rather, it is incident response automation and orchestration, fed by data that originates -- usually -- on detection sensors or systems and then is processed by a SIEM, where it's correlated and perhaps enriched with other data, internal or external. Hexadite further enriches and prioritizes. Their primary differentiation, I believe, is their belief in nearly full automation of investigation, response, and close out, even for complex incidents.”Good FitCharles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT said: "Broadly speaking, IT vendors pursue acquisitions because buying existing technology is generally faster and cheaper than building it themselves. The technology being acquired should fit well within the buyer's strategy and skill sets. That's clearly the case here, given both companies' focus on and innovative work in proactive security services, AI, machine learning and the needs of enterprise customers. In addition, it helps if there are existing connections between the companies. One of Hexadite's early investors is Moshe Lichtman of Israel Venture Partners, who spent two decades as a senior executive with Microsoft, including five years running the company's Israel R&D center. It doesn't require a stretch of the imagination to consider how Lichtman may have vetted and facilitated the deal."Main FocusThe deal represents one of Microsoft's most important cyber security acquisitions since its 2015 buyout of Adallom, a specialist in cloud security, for $250 million. Microsoft used Adallom's technology to bolster its ability to protect its Azure and Office 365 services from cyber threats.Dealing with security threats has been top of mind a Microsoft. The company was at the center of the massive Wannacry Ransomware attack in May, which hit more than 300,000 computers in at least 150 countries worldwide.Microsoft earlier this year announced a series of upgrades to its enterprise security toolkit, including Azure SQL Database Threat Detection, which uses machine learning to find suspicious database activity; and Enterprise Threat Detection, which uses machine analytics and proprietary telemetry sources to monitor for advanced threats. The rollout was part of a $1 billion annual investment that Microsoft made in addressing security threat issues.