In the mobile-first, cloud-first era, technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives at a dramatically rapid pace. Advances in healthcare, education, communication, and productivity have increased life expectancy around the globe and helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, writes Theo Watson, legal attorney at Microsoft SA.
For many, the ability to tap into the power of mobility and cloud computing to connect to the people that they care about as well as with the information that they are looking for instantly from any location, is so commonplace that they already take it for granted.
Despite the potential of cloud computing as well as other technology trends to expand access to economic opportunity and address some of humanity’s most pressing problems, their adoption is delayed by questions over security, privacy, and compliance.
The first of these adoption hurdles is security. Rightfully so, since in the past year alone there have been a staggering increase in cybercrime including a proliferation in cyber-attacks that range from theft of data through to malware, Man in the Cloud “MitC”, and side channel attacks to co-ordinated spam emails or phishing attempts. Cybercrime already costs the South African economy an estimated $573-million annually and the cost of data breaches will increase to a staggering $2.1 trillion globally by 2019.
Microsoft works with individuals, companies, organisations and governments to address cybersecurity. In fact, each year the company invests $1 billion in cyber security, culminating in the largest anti-virus and anti-malware service in the world. Microsoft updates nearly 1 billion Windows devices worldwide each and every month and every second, the company adds hundreds of Gigabytes worth of the telemetry to its Intelligent Security Graph, including the results from 200 billion emails scanned for malware and phishing each month.
All this means that the company’s enterprise-grade security offering with regards to cloud computing sets the standard for the industry. Achieving success in the digital world, requires companies to partner with organisations like Microsoft in order to adopt a new approach to how we deal with security threats.
This entails better protection of all endpoints from sensors and datacentres to identities and SaaS applications, as well as moving faster to detect threats using the scale and intelligence of the cloud, machine learning and behavioural monitoring. This will enable organisations of all sizes to respond quickly, and empower their staff with actionable security insights whilst keeping them productive.
The next hurdle is compliance, because in a world where data breaches and government requests for access to online customer information are daily occurrences, it is essential for organisations to choose a cloud service provider that makes every effort to comply with regulations and protect customer data.
Microsoft provides legal and compliance teams with a comprehensive repository of information resources, which have been designed to help them understand and verify the compliance requirements of their organisation’s cloud deployments. Moreover, the company’s solutions comply with all local regulations including the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act 4 of 2013.
When customers utilise our business cloud services, they are entrusting us with their most valuable asset – their data. They trust that their privacy will be protected and that their data will be used only in a way that is consistent with their expectations.
Microsoft’s approach to privacy is grounded in our commitment to give you control over the collection, use, and distribution of your customer data. We are transparent about the specific policies, operational practices, and technologies that help ensure the privacy of your data in Microsoft business cloud services.
* As a customer, you know how we manage your data. We use your customer data only to provide the services we have agreed upon, and do not mine it for marketing or advertising. If you leave the service, Microsoft follows strict standards and specific processes for removing data from our systems.
* You know where your data is located. Customers who must maintain their data in a specific geographic location, such as within the EU, can rely on our expanding network of datacentres around the world. Microsoft also complies with international data protection laws regarding transfers of customer data across borders.
* You know who can access your data and on what terms. We take strong measures to protect your data from inappropriate access, including limits for Microsoft personnel and subcontractors. However, you can access your own customer data at any time and for any reason.
* Microsoft sets and adheres to stringent privacy standards. Strong contractual commitments back our privacy standards and best practices.
As a customer, you have visibility into our practices. Microsoft believes that you have a right to as much information as possible about how we handle your customer data in the cloud.
We provide you with clear explanations about where your data is stored and how we help secure it, as well as who can access it and under what circumstances. And you don’t have to take our word for it. You can review a wide range of evidence, including independent audit reports and certifications for most of our business cloud services, to confirm that we meet the standards we set.
Once an organisation overcomes these hurdles, it will be well on its way to tapping into the power of the cloud to fuel the growth of the business, drive competitiveness, and fuel innovation. Public enterprises and NGOs can also use the cloud to help boost economic growth and assist them in creating prosperity for all.