At a time when governments the world over are struggling to tackle cyber-attacks and data breach, technology giant Microsoft India on Friday launched a full-scale Cybersecurity Engagement Centre (CSEC) in India.
After a successful year-long pilot - the centre is India's first and Microsoft's seventh Cybersecurity Centre globally - opened at a juncture when over three million debit cards of various banks are believed to be 'tainted' following a suspected security breach in the country.
"We believe security of critical information is imperative for our corporate customers, just as it is vital to ensure security and privacy of citizen data and transactions. Our first investment towards this was setting up our local data centres in India and the Cybersecurity Engagement Centre is the second," Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, told reporters in New Delhi.
Microsoft's strategy is to provide protection across all end-points - from sensors to the data centre, detection of attack using targeted signals, behavioural monitoring and machine learning - and eventually closing the gap between discovery and action taken to neutralise the attack.
According to the leading software security group Kaspersky Lab, India is among the top five countries in the world to be attacked by ransomware - malware that forces its victims to pay a ransom through certain online payment methods to regain their data.
In the last 12 months, Microsoft's cyber-security management team met with over 100 organisations in the country to understand what plagued them.
"The team observed three common IT issues plaguing them that include unmanaged and unregulated IT assets usage, procurement and maintenance, poor knowledge of cyber hygiene among users withing organisations and inability of companies to timely monitor, detect and remove cyber threats," the company said.
The CSEC will bring together Microsoft and its partners to identify and respond to cyber threats in the country.
"As governments and enterprise embrace digital transformation and strive for resilience, a holistic and agile security platform is ever more critical. This is where Microsoft's unique threat intelligence innovations and trusted cloud ecosystem offer them powerful protection against security threats," added Madhu Khatri, Associate General Counsel of Microsoft India.
In addition to enabling and empowering enterprises to manage modern security threats effectively, the CSEC aims to expand Microsoft's public-private partnerships in India.
"This will build on the momentum in the last few years, where the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) has fostered various partnerships with public sector and enforcement agencies globally. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) seeks to build trust by fighting global malware, reducing digital risk and protecting vulnerable populations," Microsoft said in a statement.
"The DCU does this by combining big data analytics, cutting-edge forensics and novel legal strategies. This includes strategic collaboration with Interpol in global malware botnet disruption operations and a PhotoDNA licensing collaboration to support Interpol’s efforts in preventing child sexual exploitation online, as well as cyber threat intelligence sharing partnerships with several Internet Service Providers in the region and government Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs)," the statement added.
The centre will also enable customers tap into a pool of resources such as security specialists and technologies at Microsoft.
As part of Microsoft Consultancy Services (MCS), a dedicated India-based response team will offer security consultancy services to enterprise customers. "The MCS team works closely with enterprises to understand their business goals, challenges and technical maturity to develop enterprise security strategies and empower them through their critical digital transformation," Microsoft added.
Microsoft has also rolled out Microsoft Secure, a nationwide campaign to increase awareness on cyber-security to help organisations understand their security requirements better.
"Through its three-pronged approach of comprehensive platform, unique intelligence and partnerships, Microsoft is aiming to drive educational sessions and coaching sessions with enterprises in the country," the statement added.