Channel investors, Content, Identity

Microsoft Acquires Zero Trust, IAM Company CloudKnox Security

Microsoft has acquired CloudKnox Security to bolster Microsoft Azure Active Directory's identity and access management (IAM) capabilities. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is M&A deal 435 that MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E have covered so far in 2020. See the full M&A deal list here.

In a blog about the CloudKnox Security acquisition, Joy Chik, corporate VP of Microsoft Identity, said the deal "further enables Microsoft Azure Active Directory customers with granular visibility, continuous monitoring and automated remediation for hybrid and multi-cloud permissions."

Microsoft Buys CloudKnox: Three PAM Benefits

Joy Chik,
Joy Chik, corporate VP, Microsoft Identity

Moreover, Chik pointed to three priorities in the areas of unified privileged access management (PAM), identity governance and entitlement management. They include:

  1. "Automated and simplified access policy enforcement in one integrated multi-cloud platform for all human and workload identities."
  2. "The widest breadth of signal-enabling, high-precision machine learning-based anomaly detections."
  3. "Seamless integration with other Microsoft cloud security services, including Microsoft 365 Defender, Azure Defender and Azure Sentinel."

CloudKnox Security is the latest in a growing list of security-related acquisitions for Microsoft. Other recent deals include RiskIQ for threat intelligence capabilities and Internet of Things (IoT) security company ReFirm Labs.

Microsoft's overall security business now spans 3,500 employees (i.e., "defenders") and the monitoring of 8 trillion security signals each day, Chik says.

CloudKnox Security: Potential MSP and MSSP Benefits

The CloudKnox deal could potentially benefit MSPs and MSSPs, hundreds of which now monitor and manage Microsoft Azure cloud workloads on behalf of end-customers.

MSSP partners seeking to protect Azure services for customers should check out the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA).

MISA is an independent ecosystem of software vendors, MSSPs and MDR (managed detection and response) service providers that have integrated their solutions to better defend partners and customers from cyberattacks, Microsoft says. Roughly 133 organizations were MISA members as of mid-2020, up from 57 in 2019.

Microsoft Acquires CloudKnox: More IAM Business Details

CloudKnox, which has 58 employees listed on LinkedIn, was venture funded. The company in January 2020 raised $12 million in funding led by Sorenson Ventures, with participation from Dell Technologies Capital, ClearSky Security, and Foundation Capital.

CloudKnox released a momentum statement in April 2021. Such statements sometimes signal that a company is seeking buyers or investors. At the time, CloudKnox said the company had achieved 400 percent annual revenue growth -- though actual dollar figures were not disclosed.

Moreover, the CloudKnox momentum statement from April 2021 emphasized integrations and partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), HashiCorp, Okta, PingServiceNow and Splunk. Ironically,  that April 2021 momentum statement made no mention of a Microsoft partnership.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.