The Trend Toward Transparency: Announcing the Microsoft Transparency Center in Brasilia

I recently came back from Singapore where we launched our first combined Transparency and Cybersecurity Center. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we are launching a new Transparency Center in Brasilia, which will serve Latin America governments and enterprise customers and form part of the global network now covering 4 regions. We opened a North American facility in Redmond, WA USA (July 2014), a European facility in Brussels, Belgium (June 2015), and the Asian facility in Singapore (October 2016). In addition, a China facility was announced earlier this month.

This new facility is designed around four key principles: security, privacy, compliance and transparency and grounded in our belief that technology can help solve some of the most pressing global challenges and address the complexities created by the digital economy. From the displacement of jobs to the risk that big data will entrench or worsen existing inequalities, this is why we are committed to working with governments, commercial enterprises, non-profits and all stakeholders to progress against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. In this case, our Transparency Center serves Goal #16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions which will advance our worldwide commitment to empower countries and drive a trusted, responsible and inclusive cloud.

From left to right: Paula Bellizia, Microsoft Brazil General Manager; Rodrigo Rollemberg, Brasilia DC Governor; Rodrigo Maia, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil ; Maximiliano Martinhão, Secretary of IT Policy for Brazil; Weder de Oliveira, Substitute Minister of Federal Court of Accounts; Toni Townes-Whitley, CVP Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector

The move to cloud technologies, with a focus on deriving insights from big data, reflects a fundamental shift in how IT is managed. Given this shift, transparency becomes a critical value in the new digital economy. In fact, it is on transparency that trust can be built, corporate responsibility can be assessed, and broad inclusive efforts can be benchmarked and replicated. In talking with some of our government affairs teams, we learned that while the concept of data security is all too familiar, “transparency” is somewhat less understood. I think Wikipedia defines it best: “Transparency…implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.”

The Transparency Centers are an extension of our long-standing Government Security Program (GSP) and are a cornerstone of our commitment to provide greater assurance of the integrity of our products and services. The GSP provides governments reassurance that there are no “back doors” in our products, and through the Transparency Center, they can work with us on security-related issues. In addition, many sources of important cybersecurity-related information previously provided under our Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (CTIP), the Security Cooperation Program (SCP), the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, and through the Microsoft Security Response Center, are now combined under the GSP. Our commitment to transparency and security of our products and services is fundamental to our dedication to build and maintain customer trust.

While here in Brasilia, we will host a two-day workshop: “Transparency in Action: Building Trust in the Cloud” features a range of cybersecurity experts, including from Brazilian Government institutions, countries in the region, and Microsoft. “Legal Compliance in the Cloud” features local, international and Microsoft experts on safely moving enterprise data to the cloud in a way that complies with governing laws and regulations.

While Microsoft focuses on Transparency, it’s interesting to note that we also help our government customers do the same.

The Puebla State Ministry of Finance and Administration had the objective to use technology to its “maximum advantage” and become an example for other states in the area of transparency, accountability, information technology, and public works. One way to share their progress with the public is through their institutional websites, which have scaled their functionality to become portals that offer numerous services. It’s extremely important that the Ministry’s services be available at all times – so they chose Microsoft Azure cloud services. The ministry’s economic objective was not only achieved, but also surpassed. They saved around 60 percent on their investment in technological infrastructure: servers and data centers.

But making this technological leap into cloud computing meant breaking one of the biggest taboos that exists in technology today: storage of information in data centers. Moving government information to the cloud is a sensitive matter—data needs to be secure, yet accessible, to the right people.

Which brings me full circle to why we are so focused on security and transparency. When we can help customers like the Puebla State Ministry of Finance and Administration realize the advantages and the savings from effective cloud solutions, we all win.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter as we make more Empowerment Tour stops throughout the year and help our governments and business leaders digitally transform.


Microsoft works with the World Bank to boost emerging economies

Technology seems to be everywhere – but for a substantial part of the world, its benefits are elusive. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2016, “Digital Dividends,” released in January 2016, finds that technological changes have not improved access to public services or increased economic opportunities as had been expected. “Digital technologies are spreading rapidly, but digital dividends—growth, jobs, and services—have lagged behind,” the report says. Key components impeding digital dividends include internet access (today 4 billion people on the planet don’t have access), stronger regulations that ensure competition among businesses, enabling 21st century worker skills and promoting good governance. At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We are committed to helping emerging economies achieve life-changing digital transformations and ensure that people all over the world have the tools, education, and technology to help transform their lives for the better. Grounded in this worldview, I believe that organizations like Microsoft have the responsibility to offer the technical assistance and insight to empower countries to harness the power of technology and create a broad range of economic and social opportunities worldwide. Through strong public-private partnerships, the gap between those who have access to the benefits of digital technologies and those who don’t can be significantly narrowed. To that end, I am very proud that Microsoft is one of the founding launch partners of the Digital Development Partnership (DDP) – a unique partnership designed to address the findings of the World Development Report by closing the digital economy divide for emerging economies. It is a partnership for enabling digital dividends for all.

Digital Development Partnership
Watch Digital Development PartnershipWatch Digital Development Partnership
The immediate focus of our partnership is on enabling countries to achieve digital dividends through 4 critical areas:

  • Data and Indicators – Help assessing and benchmarking countries’ digital readiness through data and diagnostic tools;
  • Digital Economy and Innovation – Drive innovation and create new markets through the development of digital platforms & solutions;
  • Internet Access for All – Create new business models that include a focus on enhanced connectivity and Internet access for emerging countries – with an emphasis on access for the poor and people living in rural areas; and finally
  • Digital Government – Establish digital government infrastructures and services for all.

Technology is a powerful agent of change for solving many of the challenges facing countries today as they move toward sustainable growth and inclusive development models that are made possible through Digital Transformation. Accordingly, we are looking at areas where we can accelerate economic development by harnessing the effective deployment of technology innovations. Two examples are illustrating the power of partnership and innovation.

  1. To improve technology access for citizens who are currently without Internet access, Microsoft and Kenyan Internet Service Provider Indigo have partnered to help the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications deliver high-speed internet access to areas lacking even basic electricity. The deployment is called “Mawingu,” which is Kiswahili for cloud. It is the first deployment pairing solar-power with TV white spaces, a technology partially developed by Microsoft Research, and it is bringing new opportunities for commerce, education, healthcare and delivery of government services across Kenya.
  2. Establishing intelligent transportation is another key to economic development for emerging economies. Embedding the Internet of Things not only within vehicles but within a country’s infrastructure so that goods, labor and routes are all connected will make huge strides in a region’s progress and economic opportunity. The Trans Kalahari Corridor, as an example, is a high-volume network of roads spanning some 1,200 miles across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. With intelligent transport, we can find out how many trucks and goods are going through, manage the flow, and increase operational efficiency in crossing borders. It is also about knowing what citizens and businesses should expect, digitally filling forms so containers can be tracked easily, as well as shortening times on routes and at border stops.

As the World Bank works to address these digital development issues, Microsoft will continue to be a willing partner, committed to facilitating access to affordable broadband access for all, to promoting and protecting the digital infrastructure, and to mainstreaming digital innovations so that people all over the world can benefit. When we work together and embrace the power of trusted, responsible, and inclusive technology, there is so much more that we can achieve. Microsoft is proud to be a part of the Digital Development Partnership for enabling digital dividends for all. #MSFTempowers

Addressing Cybersecurity & Transparency in Asia-Pacific with a joint Transparency Center & Cybersecurity Center

With the advent of what has been labelled by some as a new 4th industrial revolution, there is an opportunity for us to enable businesses, organizations and governments worldwide to leverage the latest technology advances and drive toward measurable societal and economic impact so every person on the planet benefits.

woman-in-city-looking-at-smartphone.1Technology continues to rapidly evolve, offering us new ways of working and powering digital transformation for all organizations – whether governments or commercial enterprises. It can help solve some of the most pressing global challenges, which is why Microsoft is committed to working with governments, commercial enterprises, non-profits and all stakeholders to progress against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

But we continually step back to think about and address the paradox and complexities created by the digital economy – from the displacement of jobs to the risk that big data will entrench or worsen existing inequalities. When I last visited the Asia-Pacific region I met with leaders to discuss how governments can better use technology to fight human trafficking, particularly as traffickers become more adepts at using technology to identify victims. So it is this paradox that frames our opportunity and responsibility as digital leaders to be purposeful and principled to ensure that our cloud-based technologies are trusted, responsible and inclusive.

A couple of weeks ago I and a number of Microsoft leaders relayed this message as we kicked off our “Empowerment Tour” at the UN General Assembly. Our upcoming tour stops will provide government and business leaders and policymakers the opportunity to learn how Microsoft cloud solutions and emerging technologies impact the most significant societal issues facing countries and citizens today.

Today, I am extremely pleased to be in Singapore and announce the launch of a joint Transparency Center and Cybersecurity Center, which directly relates to our efforts toward helping to meet UN SDG Goal #16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. The Microsoft regional Transparency Center in Singapore will serve the wider Asia-Pacific region and advance our worldwide commitment to empower countries and drive transparency, security and trust in digital technologies in our mobile-first and cloud-first world.

This Center is a cornerstone of our long-standing Government Security Program (GSP), where we support, collaborate and enable governments to protect citizens, public services and national infrastructure from cybercrime threats and  meet their rigorous cybersecurity requirements by building strong protect, detect & respond capabilities.four-people-looking-at-analytics-large-touchscreen.2

Participating government agencies can review the source code of Microsoft products, access information on cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities, and benefit from the expertise and insight of Microsoft security professionals. Nearly 40 countries and international organizations currently participate in the Microsoft GSP program with 9 participants from Asia.

To address the rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape, and the rise in cybercriminal activities, the Cybersecurity Center will comprehensively bring forth innovations and advancements by way of a security platform, threat intelligence analytics, advanced threat protection, machine learning capabilities, security services and cloud security. Our security investments include investigating, disrupting and prosecuting global cybercriminals and sharing threat intelligence through a broad set of public-private partnerships.

In the drive to fight and disrupt cybercrime and make Internet a safer place, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) has fostered various public-private partnerships with public sector and young-girl-on-laptop.1enforcement agencies in the region in the last few years. This includes strategic collaboration with Interpol in global malware botnet disruption operations and a PhotoDNA licensing collaboration to support Interpol’s efforts in preventing child sexual exploitation online, as well as cyber threat intelligence sharing partnerships with several Internet Service Providers in the region and government Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).

To support a comprehensive, cross-company and cross-industry approach to cybersecurity, Microsoft invests more than a billion dollars a year in security research, innovation and development. This includes a recently announced global Cyber Defense Operations Center (C-DOC), a state-of-the-art 24/7 facility that brings together security response experts from across the company to help protect, detect and respond to threats in real-time, securing Microsoft’s internal resources, cloud infrastructure, customer online services, devices and products. We’ve has also recently established an Enterprise Cybersecurity Group (ECG) – a dedicated team of worldwide security experts who will deliver security solutions, expertise and services that empower organizations to modernize their IT platforms, securely move to the cloud and keep data safe.

We operate in 191 countries and serve consumers, enterprises, and public sector agencies across more than 120 subsidiaries. When we work with governments, our Microsoft partners and other public sector organizations, we believe that we can create more opportunities for the world’s 7.4B citizens through our Cloud for Global Good.

I invite you to follow me as we make more Tour stops throughout the year and look to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.