Microsoft Makes Premium Features Free Following Criticism

Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu Writer

In a move seen as a critical shift in Microsoft’s cybersecurity strategy, the company announced it will make some of its paid tools available to customers free of charge.

The decision came on the heels of criticisms that the tech giant was requiring customers to pay for protection against errors in its own software. A recent hack, allegedly perpetrated by Chinese spies, which facilitated the theft of senior U.S. officials’ emails, sparked the criticism.

“We are expanding Microsoft’s cloud logging accessibility and flexibility even further,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “Over the coming months, we will include access to wider cloud security logs for our worldwide customers at no additional cost.”

These tools are part of Microsoft’s auditing suite — Microsoft Purview — and while they’re unable to completely prevent cyber attacks, they play a crucial role in enabling organizations to detect intruders within their network, ascertain the entry point, and develop strategies to eliminate them.

Previously, Microsoft had been under fire for charging customers for the advanced version of these tools. The issue came to light in the wake of a recently disclosed hack on the US State and Commerce Departments, attributed to a breach and coding flaws in Microsoft’s system. The hack was allegedly perpetrated by a Chinese threat actor known as Storm-0558, and it involved the theft of senior U.S. officials’ emails.

The incident involving Storm-0558 exposed the discrepancies in Microsoft’s security practices. Criticisms mounted when it was discovered that not every government department had access to the same level of security logging, which was available only to departments with higher-paid tier accounts.

Microsoft’s decision to offer security tools free of charge is seen as a positive step toward greater cybersecurity by officials like Eric Goldstein from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). According to Goldstein, charging for these tools is a “recipe for inadequate visibility into investigating cybersecurity incidents.”

About the Author

About the Author

Kamso Oguejiofor is a former Content Writer at SafetyDetectives. He has over 2 years of experience writing and editing topics about cybersecurity, network security, fintech, and information security. He has also worked as a freelance writer for tech, health, beauty, fitness, and gaming publications, and he has experience in SEO writing, product descriptions/reviews, and news stories. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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