Microsoft's new cybersecurity service combines tech and human experts

Microsoft expands managed security services for more comprehensive threat detection and response.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has unveiled a set of new managed cybersecurity services to help customers combat malware and other threats amid an ongoing cybersecurity skills crunch. 

Microsoft has created a new umbrella managed service category called Microsoft Security Experts consisting of "human-led" services and machine learning to help customers address security, compliance, identity, privacy and productivity goals. 

"Security Experts combines expert-trained technology with human-led services to help organizations achieve more secure, compliant, and productive outcomes," it said in a post explaining the new offering.

New to this group is Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting, a service to help customers hunt for threats by combing over data from Microsoft Defender, Office 365, cloud applications, and identity. Microsoft says its experts will investigate findings and pass contextual alert information and instructions to customers. 

Also new is Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR, referring to the managed extended detection and response (XDR) service category offered by multiple cybersecurity firms. An XDR service collects data from endpoints, cloud infrastructure and networks to accelerate investigations, threat hunting, and response times. 

Microsoft's Defender Experts for XDR promises to provide detection and response for endpoint email, data, cloud applications and identity. The managed part of the service offers customers the capability to rapidly detect, analyze, investigate and respond to threats across email, services, identity and cloud apps. 

Defender Experts for XDR will go into preview in fall 2022, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft is also launching Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise, a "high-touch", dedicated managed service offering for enterprise customers that combines threat hunting and managed XDR, using Microsoft's security information and event management (SIEM) and XDR to protect all cloud environments and all platforms. 

The three new managed service security products join existing services such as Microsoft's Security Services for Incident Response and its Security Services for Modernization. 

The company hopes its managed security services are taken up by enterprises facing difficulties filling cybersecurity roles. Microsoft last year estimated there were over 460,000 open cybersecurity roles in the US, accounting for 6% of all unfilled jobs in the nation.   

Highlighting its scale, Microsoft says it employs over 8,500 security pros and is investing $20 billion in security over the next five years. It is actively tracking more than 35 ransomware groups and 250 unique threat actors.

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