Cloud Computing | Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Blog

Cloud Computing Security News and Guidance for Businesses and Organizations

September, 2012

  • Working Toward a Privacy Framework for the “Big Data” Era

    Posted by Peter Cullen, chief privacy strategist, Microsoft

    Over the past several months, we’ve been convening discussions with some of the world’s foremost privacy thinkers, including representatives of regulatory bodies, government policymakers, academia, NGOs and industry to explore alternate models for privacy in a modern information economy. At meetings in Washington, D.C.; Brussels; Singapore; Sydney and Sao Paulo, we’ve debated how best to evolve the notice, choice and consent model to better meet changing societal needs. Yesterday, we advanced those discussions at a global forum here in Redmond, Washington.

    Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to privacy and, as part of Trustworthy Computing’s 10-year milestone last January, Corporate Vice President Scott Charney suggested that, in a world of connected devices, technology-enabled information use, and the emergence of “big data,” it’s time to consider evolving the frameworks that have governed aspects of the protection of personal data. He proposed a model that shifts focus toward acceptable use of data, and he suggested specific ways to hold organizations accountable for its management, as opposed to the current common themes of collection limitation, notice and choice.

  • TwC Next, an Ongoing Discussion

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing

    Earlier this year at RSA USA, Scott Charney published the Trustworthy Computing Next whitepaper and started a conversation about current and emerging computing trends with regard to the cloud and Big Data, the role of Government and the evolving threat landscape that over time continues to grow more sophisticated and increasingly complex.

    In the ten years since Microsoft announced the Trustworthy Computing (TwC) initiative, much has changed: society has become far more dependent on computing which has evolved to be more data centric and device driven; governments continue to roll out measures to safeguard personal data and critical infrastructures; and the technology industry faces new concerns about supply chain trust and competitive challenges.

    We’ve been a strong proponent of industry efforts to improve security and privacy through secure software development processes across the IT ecosystem. Over the next decade, cloud computing and our connected society will create vast amounts of data, which creates new challenges.

    TwC Next is an ongoing, live discussion. As I talk with companies, they affirm that the cloud, mobile, social, and big data are all impacting their business.  Most recently, our team continued the TwC Next discussion at RSA China with my colleague Jing De Jong-Chen's keynote that discussed factors impacting trust in computing.  Here are a few key trends on security, privacy and reliability that Scott Charney covered in his paper previously and Jing shared recently in her keynote. .

  • Washington State Aims to Stop Online Bullying

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere, director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    Young people, parents, educators, and government officials around the world continue to be concerned about online bullying, often asking:  What is it?  How can it be prevented?  And, what tools and resources are available to raise awareness and help educate the public?

    Last week, the office of the Attorney General of Washington State held a day-long Cyberbullying Summit on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington. The company’s Online Safety Team had the distinct pleasure of actively participating.  I spoke on a panel entitled, “Where are we now? Current Efforts in Education, Law and Technology to Fight Cyberbullying,” and my colleagues and I took part in the compelling working sessions that followed.

    Attendees included Attorney General Rob McKenna and other government officials; educational and community leaders from across the state, as well as local law enforcement and representatives from the private sector.  Resources were exchanged and best practices were shared.  After thoughtful collaboration a draft plan for a state-wide campaign was devised to begin communicating clearly and with a singular voice how, best to prevent online bullying among youth, and encourage all individuals to be better “digital citizens.”  Digital citizenship – responsible and appropriate use of technology – is a recurring theme in working to address many online safety issues.

  • Online Safety and Security: Sharing the Knowledge

    Posted by Kim Sanchez, director, Trustworthy Computing

    Computer security and online safety is a 24/7 hour affair. Business leaders at work are frequently family leaders at home and – particularly for security issues – are interested in online safety for their family.

    This week, the Family Online Safety Institute launched a groundbreaking new tool called the Platform for Good (PfG).  With the backing of some of the top industry leaders including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, along with the backing of the MacArthur Foundation, PfG is designed to promote and encourage good online behavior, also known as digital citizenship.

    How?  PfG will help connect parents, educators, and youth by bringing attention to the many positive ways families and schools use technology through interactive features.  It will also provide resources to help bridge the generational divide in the digital world.

  • Microsoft Makes Technology Safer & Easier to Use for Aging Baby Boomers

    Posted by Bonnie Kearney, director, Trustworthy Computing Communications – Accessibility & Aging

    Worldwide, a “Silver Tsunami” -- an increase in the average age of the population -- is occurring. In the U.S. alone, one in five U.S. workers will be 55 or older by 2025. As part of the natural aging process, many older adults experience functional limitations, and can benefit from customizing their computing experiences to better meet their personal needs.  Whether in the home, as a tool to stay connected, or in the workplace, to extend a career past what is traditionally considered “retirement age,” accessible technology can help people of all ages and abilities continue to work and play online.

    On Sept. 20 in New Orleans, AARP kicked off its annual Life @50+ National Event and Expo. This three-day conference hosts more than 20,000 AARP members and attendees. Given our long-standing commitment to making technology safer and easier to use, Microsoft understands the importance of working with organizations like AARP and attending gatherings like this one. Microsoft is providing resources and guidance, along with demonstrating the accessibility features in our products that help address the needs of individuals age 50 or older. We are also eager to hear from attendees about their online habits and concerns.  To that end, the company’s Accessibility & Online Safety Teams are conducting an on-site survey to gauge attendees’ online
    safety behaviors.

  • The Importance of Planning for Services Failure in the Cloud

    Posted by David Bills, chief reliability strategist, Trustworthy Computing

    When we’re talking about cloud services, I’m a firm believer in the idea that services failure will occur – it’s not a matter of if, it’s strictly a matter of when. This is because the more complex things become, the more challenging it is to anticipate and predict failures. As a result, designing services to withstand failure, as well as having a plan in place to recover the service quickly, is critical in building trust and maintaining long-term relationships with customers.

  • “Bing it On” and Search Yourself

    Posted by Kim Sanchez, director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    No matter which search engine someone prefers, a key piece of advice from safety advocates to help protect your online reputation, is to conduct an Internetsearch on yourself, using several search engines.  And then, evaluate whether your online life mirrors the reputation you want others to see.

    Recently, the Bing team launched an Internet search tool that lets you conduct a side-by-side search engine comparison with Google.  Now, while I think it’s cool, I thought; what if people used this double search feature for good – their own good.  What a great time to use one tool, to help manage your online reputation: Search for yourself, and check out what’s being said about you.  According to a recent study*, 37 percent of adults never do this. 

  • Lady Gaga Energizes Youth About Being “Born Brave”

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere, director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    Preventing meanness and cruelty – both online and off – involves paying attention, encouraging and displaying empathy, and promoting kindness in one’s community; and, it’s just one priority Microsoft shares with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation (BTWF).

    I recently attended the kickoff meeting of BTWF’s inaugural Youth Advisory Board (YAB).  Microsoft was approached to help sponsor the YAB’s first gathering, as the Foundation looks to realize its vision in conjunction with Lady Gaga’s upcoming North American tour.  Over the course of two and a half days, YAB members discussed everything from guidelines for their confabs
    and interactions, to their presence online, on the road, and down the street.

    As I told one colleague, “I laughed.  I cried.  I was motivated and energized.  Being around such remarkable young people is a truly altering experience – in a really good way.”

    BTWF’s YAB brings together 24 diverse and impressive young adults from across the U.S., to help carry out the Foundation’s mission of fostering a more accepting society.  Day one kicked off with a video message from Lady Gaga herself, welcoming the youth. Personal stories from each of the members followed.  These included tales of bullying, being socially ostracized, and other pre-teen, teenage, and many very adult challenges and struggles.  “Everyone has a story to tell” quickly became a theme, as adults, too, shared their reasons for getting involved.  The older set’s anecdotes ranged from a desire to help overcome and combat bullying, to inspiring hope for future generations, and a very real need among those who are parents to offer advice and guidance to hungry youth.   

  • Fundamentals of Cloud Service Reliability

    Posted by: David Bills, chief reliability strategist, Trustworthy Computing

    As the adoption of cloud computing continues to rise, and customers demand 24/7 access to their services and data, reliability remains a challenge for cloud service providers everywhere. As I said in the recent Cloud Fundamentals video on reliability, it’s not a matter of if an outage will occur; it’s strictly a matter of when. This means it’s critical for organizations to understand how best to design and deliver reliable cloud services. Microsoft manages a cloud-based infrastructure supporting more than 200 services, 1 billion customers, and 20 million businesses in more than 76 markets worldwide. So we understand what it takes to build and deliver highly-reliable cloud platforms, solutions, and services that are secure and private.