Here’s how Microsoft’s chairman is fighting hackers – CNBC

Security breaches are getting more frequent and extreme, seemingly by the day. Yahoo said last week that 500 million customer accounts had been stolen, marking potentially the biggest hack in history.

In response, companies and governments are expected to spend $202 billion a year on cybersecurity tools by 2021, up 66 percent from this year, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

Thompson, who ran Symantec from 1999 to 2009 and remained as chairman for another two years, joined Microsoft’s board in 2012 and spearheaded the search for Steve Ballmer‘s successor as the software company’s CEO. Ultimately, Satya Nadella was promoted to the top job in February 2014, and at the same time Thompson was named chairman of Microsoft’s board.

Since leaving Symantec, Thompson has invested in about 20 start-ups in security, storage and data analytics. He was also CEO of performance analytics start-up Virtual Instruments from 2010 until earlier this year. His tenure there ended in disappointment when Virtual Instruments hit a growth roadblock and merged with Load DynamiX in March.

Thompson brings obvious security expertise to Contrast. But his role at Microsoft could also be beneficial.

All apps are moving to the cloud, where they’re typically hosted by big infrastructure vendors like Amazon, Google, IBM or Microsoft. Amazon Web Services is by far the market leader and currently the only one that counts Contrast as a formal partner.

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