Microsoft doubles down on cybersecurity with CloudKnox acquisition

Microsoft today announced that it acquired CloudKnox Security, a platform designed to protect resources and identities across multicloud and hybrid cloud environments. With the purchase, the terms of which weren’t disclosed, Microsoft says that Azure customers will be able to right-size permissions and enforce least-privilege principles, employing continuous analytics to help prevent security breaches.

As organizations adapt to hybrid work and deploy more cloud services, virtual machines and containers are proliferating. These entities have service accounts and associated permissions, privileges, and entitlements, some of which threaten to expose organizations to new attack vectors. Problematically, organizations often struggle to assess and govern privileged access in cloud environments. Even if they piece systems together, they still get an incomplete view of privileged access.

Sunnyvale, California-based CloudKnox, which was cofounded in 2015 by former VMWare engineer Balaji Parimi and Rao Cherukuri, provides a service that leverages activity-based authorization APIs to detect and remediate over-privileged machines and users. The company emerged from stealth in 2017 and launched its permissions management product for hybrid and multicloud infrastructures the following year, in 2018. It claims to have invented technology to manage entitlements of any identity — human or non-human, irrespective of their origin — across any cloud infrastructure with the same operating model.

CloudKnox reveals who has access to multicloud environments and endpoints, workspaces, and workflows across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, active directories, and VPNs. Built-in tools monitor users and digital identity actions on resources across clouds for anomalies. And an identity management component spots suspicious changes in geolocation and client type.

The 58-employee CloudKnox had raised $22.8 million in venture capital prior to the . ClearSky, Sorenson Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, and Foundation Capital were among the investors in the startup’s previous funding rounds.

“We saw opportunities to provide even greater value and seamless experience across hybrid and multi-clouds with deeper integrations within the Microsoft ecosystem,” Parimi wrote in a blog post. “By joining Microsoft, we can unlock new synergies and make it easier for our mutual customers to protect their multi-cloud and hybrid environments and strengthen their security posture.”

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