Societies around the globe are growing ever-more dependent on information and communications technology. They rely on them for easier access to information and communication, more efficient delivery of government services, and as a key component of national economy.
However, this interconnectivity has also created interdependencies and risks that need to be managed at the national level. These threats span identity theft and fraud to politically motivated “hacktivism,” and sophisticated economic or military espionage. All threaten citizens and corporations alike.
The UK Government has been at the forefront of defending against increasing cyber-threats, backed by a £1.9bn investment. Underpinning this is the 5-year National Cyber Security Strategy and the creation of National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a single authority on cyber-security. Their goal: to improve the UK’s understanding of the threats, reducing the harm from cyber-attacks, and providing a unified source of advice and support.
Enhancing cybersecurity and protecting critical information infrastructures has, therefore, become essential to every nation’s security and economic well-being.
Protecting our customers, partners and UK Citizens
Globally, we invest over $1 billion annually on Cyber Security Research, and we have over 3500 security engineers building enhanced security features into all of our technologies.
To support our global and UK customers we created the Microsoft Cyber Defense Operations Center (CDOC), a 24/7 cyber-security and defence facility with leading security experts and data scientists that protect, detect, and respond to threats to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure, products and devices, and internal resources. This includes a UK based Threat Intelligence Center responsible for delivering timely threat intelligence across our product & services teams, assist with our engineering response to security issues/incidents, and assisting with government policy outreach. Our operations enables us to analyse 470 billion emails, scans 1.2 billion devices, and check over 18 billion Bing web pages every month.
A great example of how this transpires into supporting the UK in Fighting Cyber Crime is the work our Digital Crimes unit are doing in partnership with the City of London Police to teach people how to protect themselves from phishing scams.
In 2018 we expanded our defending democracy program to the UK by making Account Guard, a service that provides notifications of cyber threats to candidates running for office including protection from known nation-state actors.
Increasing skills and awareness for individuals and organisations
While the government focuses on cyber-security from a national and global perspective, we, as individuals, must remain similarly vigilant. When it comes to combatting cyber-threats, awareness and education is key. To support UK Citizens with these skills we introduced the Microsoft digital skills programme.
Drawing on that experience, this programme seeks to close the UK skills gap by providing everybody with basic online skills. It’s also designed to nurture a passion for computer science, and provide essential training to help businesses and IT professionals deepen their understanding of the cloud.
For younger generations, we also support the CyberFirst program through nurturing Cyber Security Apprentices and working closely with our partner ecosystem to increase the UK Cyber talent pool. We have also been awarded Government funding as part of an industry consortium to transform part of Bletchley Park into an Institute of Technology that will teach digital skills.
In our continued efforts to combat cyber-threats, Microsoft are also committed to supporting businesses through our UK start-up and accelerator programs. This programme helps a number of innovative cyber and security tech companies accelerate their business and product development to better serve the UK market. An example of which is Callsign who proactively defends against data breaches and cybercrime.
Explore more about how, together, we can keep each other safe from cyber-security attacks.
And, if you’re a customer or partner in the national security or defence space, you can learn more about how Microsoft helps defence and intelligence agencies foster a safer more secure world.
With the right combination of skills and experience, together, we can work tirelessly to keep you and your business online.
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About the author
Aaron is passionate about helping our Public Sector customers exploit Microsoft’s secure Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge capabilities to transform the way that they deliver services and protect UK Citizens. He particularly enjoys working with regulated customers to help them challenge the status quo and benefit from innovation in the cloud.