Microsoft invests in Rubrik to boost Zero Trust efforts amid ransomware boom

Ransomware attacks are growing more than 150% annually, according to Group-IB research. (Pixabay)

Microsoft is investing in and partnering with Rubrik, a provider of Zero Trust data protection, as an increasing number of companies across a variety of industries continue to be targeted by crippling ransomware attacks.

In announcing their strategic agreement, the two companies quoted research from Singapore’s Group-IB that suggested ransomware attacks from groups such as Darkside, Maze and Conti, among others, are growing yearly at a 150% rate, and that ransomware payments have surged more than 300%. 

Also, more than 50% of attacks are being aimed at publicly-accessible servers, with traditional phishing attacks being used less frequently. Accenture was one of the most recent big-name victims of a ransomware attack, but others have included Colonial Pipeline, as well as several major hospitals.

Microsoft did not reveal how much it is investing in Rubrik, though a Bloomberg report put the figure in the range of “tens of millions of dollars.” The companies already have a long-standing working relationship under which they serve more than 2,000 mutual customers. They now plan to focus on co-developing and marketing Zero Trust data protection solutions through Microsoft 365, hybrid cloud data protection and integrated cloud services, and built on Microsoft Azure. 

That partnership should be capable of quickly expanding the services that Rubrik has provided to enterprises, such as rapid recovery from ransomware, automation of data operations, and the transition of data to the cloud--to include Zero Trust data protection for hybrid cloud environments spanning data center, edge and cloud, the companies said. Rubrik said it follows the NIST principles of Zero Trust for anyone accessing a company’s data, which means operating with the assumption that no person, application, or device is trustworthy, and ensuring data at a native level can’t be modified by outside sources. 

“Customers, across industries, are migrating to the cloud to drive business transformation and realize growth,” said Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President, Global Partner Solutions, Microsoft. “End-to-end application and data management is critical to business success, and we believe that integrating Rubrik's Zero Trust Data Management solutions with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 will make it easy for customers to advance their Zero Trust journey and increase their digital resilience.”    

In the last few years, many companies in addition to Rubrik have cropped up to enable Zero Trust Network Access and related cybersecurity services. However, some enterprise WAN managers initially were slow to study and embrace these services, according to a Telegeography survey from last year.

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Rubrik also offers additional support and protection for Microsoft 365 including instant search and restore and policy-based management at scale. Additionally, Rubrik and Microsoft provide long-term archival of Microsoft 365 data for the purposes of regulatory compliance. Also, the companies allow mission-critical applications such as SAP, SQL, Oracle, VMware, as well as enterprise NAS workloads, to tightly integrate protection and automation with Azure, which is critical as customers accelerate their digital transformation, Rubrik and Microsoft said.