For Microsoft Global Security the Cloud changes everything

At the end of 2010, Microsoft Global Security was at a crossroads.  How could we meet the continuing needs of our business to deliver a world-class secure working environment, while remaining efficient, driving down our costs, and improving productivity by using scalable and extensible solutions? 

We realized that the Cloud was the most viable option to help meet our goals. But first, we needed to build a strategy to understand, develop, and put in place a sound Cloud security program. Fortunately for us, the needs of Global Security and the business of Microsoft were in alignment.  For Microsoft Global Security (MSGS), Cloud technology was a priority, it wasn’t mandated – we chose it, understanding the benefits it would provide. 

Cloud innovation can be compared to the development of the printing press. In the security Cloud, users can consume security applications without owning the infrastructure, just as readers of books do so without owning a printing factory. Cloud technology lowers or eliminates the transaction cost of existing functions.  It enables previously unthinkable functions to become affordable because they can be delivered on a mass scale, in a cost-effective manner.

When we considered the Cloud, we asked a couple of questions. How will this enable us to be more efficient and provide deeper insights and agility for the functions of security? How will we add business value to the services we offer?  The answers became clear.

During a crisis situation abroad, we can use the Cloud to quickly visualize where traveling Microsoft employees are located. The Cloud provides relevant information from several sources at once. In a few clicks, Global Security knows who needs to be contacted and where.  With Cloud-based partner apps from conTgo, MapCast and IDV Visual Command Center, we are better able to save lives because having the right information enables quick response, which is key in life- threatening situations.

Click here to read about a great example of how we used these tools during the Arab Spring.

Going forward, there is greater flexibility and opportunity to deliver many new security functions with real-time data, as a consumable experience to anybody, anywhere, anytime. There are also new opportunities for functions that have yet to become mainstream and the Cloud is an ideal mechanism to deliver these functions as-a-service.

As we reached the realization that apps as we know them today will become a consumable service, the Cloud became an “all-in” proposition for Global Security.  Good things are built on solid foundations. The reality is that the foundation requires the right environment in which it can be developed and tested and Microsoft provides that environment.

As we continue our journey to the Cloud, we are exploring new possibilities for the delivery of security services on platforms and devices that did not exist even a short time ago.  The possibilities that this family of devices and platforms offer are phenomenal, and even more exciting, is the opportunity to make a meaningful difference when it comes to saving lives. This sharpens our focus.

About the Author

Mike Howard | Chief Security Officer (CSO)

Mike has global responsibility for Microsoft’s security functions including: operations, investigations, risk mitigation, crisis management, executive protection, security technology, strategy, intelligence, and employee awareness. Read More