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.
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.