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Microsoft buys IoT/OT industrial cybersecurity firm

23 June, 2020

Microsoft is buying the Israeli IoT/OT cybersecurity specialist, CyberX, for an undisclosed amount, reported to be around $165m. The acquisition will complement Microsoft’s existing Azure IoT security capabilities and extend them to devices such as those used in industrial IoT, OT (operational technology) and infrastructure applications.

Microsoft plans to integrate CyberX’s analytics platform with Azure to deliver end-to-end security across managed and unmanaged IoT devices. It says that the combined offering will allow security personnel to identify threats spanning converged OT and IT networks that were previously difficult to detect.

CyberX’s IoT/OT technology allows users to discover their IoT assets, and manage and improve the security of those devices. They can view digital maps of thousands of devices across a factory floor and gather information about their asset profile and vulnerabilities. This can help to understand where security risks may exist and to mitigate those risks. It will also help to implement smart manufacturing and other digitisation applications securely across production facilities and supply chains.

CyberX, founded in 2013, claims to be offering the only IoT/OT cybersecurity platform built by experts with a track record of defending critical national infrastructure. Its platform uses patented behavioural analytics and can be deployed in minutes to deliver insights into IoT/OT risks faced by industrial users.

CyberX’s founders will join Microsoft and the platform will continue to be available as a hybrid model supporting both cloud-connected and air-gapped networks.

“By joining forces with Microsoft, we will rapidly scale our business and technology to securely enable digital transformation for many more organisations,” says CyberX’s chief technology officer, Nir Giller. “Together, CyberX and Microsoft provide an unbeatable solution for gaining visibility and a holistic understanding of risk for all IoT and OT devices in your enterprise.”

Microsoft says that while the benefits of IoT are well established and significant, one of the biggest hurdles for users is securing IoT devices, both for new digitisation initiatives and for legacy OT and industrial control system environments.

CyberX's cybersecurity platform warns users of risks from IoT/OT network threats and unmanaged devices.

Two years ago, Microsoft announced a $5bn investment in IoT to help build a trusted, easy-to-use platform. The software giant already provides multi-layer IoT security and monitoring in Azure, and says that its mission is to simplify IoT and securing IoT devices.

It adds that the CyberX acquisition will help to solve challenges such as providing visibility into which IoT devices are connected to a network, and managing the security on existing IoT devices – traditionally a difficult exercise because of the many proprietary protocols in use.

Microsoft points out that as companies implement digital transformation and Industry 4.0, they are getting increasingly worried about the risks of deploying large numbers of connected IoT and OT devices. These create an expanded target area for cyber-attackers, giving them more scope to cause downtime, safety and environmental incidents, and to steal data and intellectual property.

By integrating the CyberX platform with its Azure IoT stack, Microsoft says it will be able to offer a simpler approach to security across both IT and industrial networks, as well as end-to-end security across managed and unmanaged IoT devices.

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