Microsoft is moving deeper into managed security solutions to help IT departments and infosec pros cope with the increasing number of cyberattacks.

Called Microsoft Security Experts, the program joins a bulging number of IT companies ranging from giants like IBM and HP, telecom companies like Bell Canada and Verizon, and managed detection and response firms such as Arctic Wolf and eSentire, offering managed security solutions.

One difference is that certain Microsoft programs will offer online access to an expert for consultation at the click of a button.

“Our experts will augment a customer’s existing security team, or alongside our partners, to manage security for them entirely,” Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice-president of Microsoft’s security, compliance, identity and management business, said Monday.

“Our vision is to deliver this new category of services across security, compliance, identity, management, and privacy.”

The program also includes something for Microsoft’s managed XDR (extended detection and response) channel partners: A new managed XDR partner designation and support program.

No pricing of the new service offerings was announced. More details will be available Wednesday at the annual Microsoft Security Summit.

Solutions will begin with

Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise. A custom service for large enterprises, it is available now.

It combines proactive threat hunting and managed XDR with dedicated Microsoft security experts to manage onboarding, daily interaction, incident response, and modernization of a customer’s infrastructure. It covers all cloud environments and operating systems;

Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting, which will be generally available later this summer. Hunting Experts is an evolution of the Microsoft Threat Experts managed hunting service launched two years ago

It’s for customers who already have a robust security operations centre and want Microsoft to help them proactively hunt for threats.

It will go beyond traditional endpoint hunting to include Office 365, cloud applications and identity, Microsoft said — and it protects Linux, macOS, iOS and Android platforms as well as Windows

Through a security portal, IT departments will get targeted attack notifications. If needed, they can also access experts on-demand to discuss a specific incident, nation-state actor, or attack vector;

Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR, which goes into private preview in the fall.

A managed detection and response service, it covers the entire Microsoft 365 Defender XDR capabilities across Office 365, identity, data, and cloud applications.

Being folded into the Microsoft Security Experts umbrella are the company’s existing incident response service – now called Microsoft Security Experts for Incident Response – and security advisory services – now called Microsoft Security Services for Modernization.

As for channel partners, many of whom are members of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA), Microsoft said it will be making an incremental multi-million-dollar financial investment this year in its managed XDR partner community to help them get business.

The goal is to showcase verified partners and their managed XDR solutions on Microsoft marketing websites and in direct sales conversations with customers.

It will be done in three ways:

  • a new managed XDR partner designation within MISA, which Microsoft will “unlock an expanded set of co-marketing benefits to ensure partner offerings are front and center in each customer conversation;”
  • a new co-sell benefit for managed XDR partners. “This worldwide investment represents millions of dollars that can help you build your business around Microsoft’s advanced security products,” the company said;
  • new APIs to help ensure partners have access to Microsoft threat intelligence.

More information on the new partner investments will be available during the annual Microsoft Inspire worldwide partner conference in July.