In the amount of time it takes for you to read this sentence, cybercriminals and nation-state attackers will have launched more than 40,000 password attacks against computing systems, devices, and people around the world.1 That’s 4,000 attacks every second.
It is a sobering statistic and simply one measure of the expanding threat landscape facing several organizations in the world today. Especially for governments, the challenge is only escalating. In the past year, Microsoft threat intelligence observed that, of the dramatically increasing number of cyberattacks in more than 100 countries and territories, 53 percent focused specifically on critical infrastructure and government organizations.1
Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help governments combat cyber threats posed by nation-state attackers and cybercriminals as a company that is committed to empowering people and organizations to achieve more. This is why a foundational element of Microsoft for Government is to help our customers secure government data and protect resources.
In my role, I help public sector organizations around the world protect the digital ecosystems they manage. I advise and partner with governments to devise realistic strategies to help their organizations, agencies, and employees solve society’s big challenges—with minimum impact from cyberattacks. In this blog, I’ll share insights on the state of the challenge and offer proven guidance to help governments achieve better security—today and in the long term.
Empowering governments with technology to help solve society’s biggest challenges
For governments today, IT systems and services provide a digital backbone upon which lives often depend and which, when compromised or breached, can lead to calamity. Technology should not be viewed as merely a budget line item for an agency or nation, but rather as an essential asset to be optimized and protected.
Technology and tactics continue to rapidly evolve. Unfortunately, many government organizations still rely on approaches designed for past threat landscapes. Some continue to use legacy infrastructure—on-premises systems and siloed security tools that don’t talk to each other. Others employ a legacy mindset that is biased towards a “security through obscurity” reliance on secrecy and disconnected networks to provide a false sense of security.
These organizations are easy targets for attacks. I have witnessed numerous cases where an adversary breached an on-premises system and operated undetected for months. Only to be discovered after valuable data was exfiltrated. By then it was too late.
The good news for governments is that proven, effective solutions are readily available that can mitigate a great majority of cyber threats, as many government entities have already seen.
The most important security move that a government can make is to leverage a hyperscale cloud security platform, such as the one provided by Microsoft. The AI-based automation, scalability, and reliability of the cloud are obvious benefits to any government organization. With the Microsoft Cloud, you get advanced security and protection, which is embedded into the platform and protects against a vast majority of known, preventable attacks.
Many of our government customers have realized critical benefits through the security inherent in Microsoft solutions. To highlight just a few:
Many governments are struggling with the dual challenges of operating legacy IT systems that are not optimized for today’s threat landscape, while also managing constraints in resources and staffing. Fortunately, there is a path to cyber resiliency and data protection that is both effective and efficient. While this involves long-term thinking, there are short-term team measures that can immediately help. Many government agencies are able to reduce their digital risk profile by following these five practical steps:
Microsoft and our global partners are here to help governments leverage technology to effectively and efficiently implement cybersecurity solutions that will place governments one step ahead of cybercriminals. Here are some helpful resources to help you on the journey:
Visit the Microsoft for Government page to learn more about how we’re helping governments secure critical environments, protect data, and achieve compliance.
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Source: Microsoft Industry Blog