Cloud Computing | Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Blog

Cloud Computing Security News and Guidance for Businesses and Organizations

June, 2013

  • 1,000,000 Facebook fans for Microsoft Safer Online

    Post by Kim Sanchez, director, Trustworthy Computing Communications Online Safety   

    With constant access to Internet-enabled devices, we explore, learn, conduct business, and connect in new ways every day. From supporting important issues on our Facebook feeds and making disaster relief donations through Twitter, to posting captivating moments on Instagram, social media is becoming more prevalent in our daily lives. So it’s no surprise that individuals and families are looking for guidance on ways to have the best experiences online.

    This is evident as the Microsoft Safer Online Facebook page recently reached its million-fan milestone.  We believe it’s a shared responsibility to help educate our global community about the tools and resources we offer through the online channels where we discover and interact.

  • Cloud Trust Study: Top of the hill Security, Privacy and Reliability benefits for SMBs in Germany

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing

    If you’ve been following the TwC Blog this week you’ll have read about a blind study we commissioned to compare the way that small to midsized businesses (SMB) in France, the U.K., the U.S. and Germany perceive the cloud in terms of security, privacy and reliability. These answers were then compared with the real experiences of SMBs that already use a cloud service.

    This study has also reinforced a number of things to me, one of them being that gaps are likely to exist between perception and reality; and this dynamic is not unique to technology decisions.  Still, people can change their point of view and regularly do. When I think of Munich where our German results are releasing, I think of the world-renowned beer culture and Oktoberfest, which is celebrating its 203rd anniversary this year. The reality is that there are also numerous excellent restaurants ready with fine German Eisweins (Icewines) and Rieslings, providing a ready alternative in social settings. These days numerous Michelin restaurants co-exist with beer halls all inside the old walled city, providing a number of choices for a wide range of visitors.  There’s much more to Munich’s liquid choices than I originally thought. 

  • Cloud Trust Study: SMBs in France echo Security, Privacy and Reliability Benefits of Cloud Computing

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing

    Yesterday I shared some details of a study with U.S. and U.K. small and midsize businesses (SMB) about differences between perception and reality when it comes to security, privacy and reliability in the cloud. We asked SMBs that use an on-premise set up about their perceptions of the cloud and compared their responses to those SMBs using a cloud service.

    Today I’m pleased to share the study findings for SMBs in France. As with businesses in the U.S. and the U.K., similarly sized companies in France also had views prior to adopting a cloud solution that differed from their cloud using counterparts.  Not surprising – I’ve yet to meet a person without a pre-set view on something – and I’m not absent, as well, on this front. 

  • Blue Skies in London: Cloud Security, Privacy and Reliability Perceptions of SMBs in the U.K

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing

    I have some pre-conceived notions.  Based on my own travel experiences over the years, I’ve had the view that Seattle’s June weather is consistently colder than London’s.  Not so according to a side by side comparison on weather.com, which shows Seattle at an average 1 degree F higher than London over a twelve-month timeframe.  This isn’t a big difference, but tells me that my own less scientific point of view was off-base.  To the extent that perception does equal reality when there isn’t evidence to the contrary, new information is always valuable.

    Earlier I shared results of a study with small to midsized businesses (SMB) about the difference between perception and reality when it comes to the security, privacy and reliability of the cloud. In that post, I reported that U.S. SMBs using the cloud appear to be realizing benefits their counterparts still using an on-premise set up, are not.



    I’m now here in London to release the small to mid-sized business Cloud Trust Study results for the U.K.  SMB cloud users in the U.K. are realizing similar benefits. Fewer internal IT resources needed (58%) and time saved managing IT (49%) were considered the biggest benefits of cloud services. Also, 94% of U.K. SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud they didn’t have with their on-premises service, such as up-to-date systems, up-to-date antivirus protection and spam email management.

  • Cloud Trust Study: Security, Privacy and Reliability in the cloud get high marks with U.S. small to mid-sized businesses

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing

    This week I’m in Europe to share the results of a blind study that we commissioned with comScore to get a pulse on what small to mid-sized businesses (SMB) think about these topics in relation to cloud computing.

    The study divided SMB respondents in France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. into two categories.  The first category were businesses that have “on-premise” computing solutions, and we asked them what they thought of the cloud in terms of security, privacy and reliability. The second group were businesses that have adopted a cloud service, and we asked them the same questions.  comScore didn’t ask participants using the cloud for information about the service offering or the service provider so that we could learn about cloud experiences generally and avoid focusing on any specific vendor’s offering or capability; including our own.  This also allowed us to look for topical trends, independent of similarities or differences between vendor offerings.

  • Cloud Security, Privacy and Reliability Trends Study: A Silver Lining in Services Adoption

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing

    Over the past five years we’ve seen many organizations benefit from their investments in cloud services. A number of factors continue to stimulate this momentum, including cost benefits, the ability to alter capacity quickly, and time back to focus on other areas of their businesses.

    These return on investment categories are very important. However, there is one topic –security in the cloud – that is often regarded by some as a barrier to adoption. People also question the privacy and reliability of cloud services. Despite this, there are plenty of reports and studies that offer compelling information about the cloud delivering a trusted and dependable state for businesses – one that is positively contributing to their business success.

    With the various cloud pros and cons floating around, we set out to cut through the clutter – to help companies in the evaluation and decision-making stages. Microsoft Trustworthy Computing recently commissioned a cloud trust study conducted by independent company comScore Inc. that focused on small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the U.S, U.K., France and Germany. The study surveyed cloud users and non-cloud users and it was conducted blind — respondents were not aware of Microsoft Corp.’s connection with the research. Respondents were not qualified in terms of the cloud vendor, products or services they use.

    The study had two goals:
    o To better understand the cloud’s benefits relating to improved security, privacy and enhanced service reliability; better time management; and cost savings
    o To better understand perceptions about security, privacy and reliability that act as barriers to cloud adoption

    For the purpose of the research, we defined cloud users as companies using a subscription model service. For example: data storage, email or calendar and customer relationship management services.

    We found some startling contradictions between the views of people that have adopted a cloud service and those that have not. As it turns out, security – in addition to some other benefits – is delivering a silver lining. 

  • New study shows perceptions not reality for small to mid-sized businesses considering, then adopting, cloud services

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing

    Businesses considering the move of one or more applications to a cloud service, the purchase of a cloud service for their organization, or the development of a service on a cloud platform solution, often want answers to a lot of questions.  Many of them boil down to whether they can trust the cloud and their cloud vendor to protect their data, to keep their and their customers’ information private and to deliver a dependable service. 

    Recently we commissioned a study of companies with 499 PCs or less in France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. which looked at the security, reliability and privacy perceptions and realities of cloud services.  We spoke to equal numbers of companies that both use the cloud and do not use the cloud. There was no mention of Microsoft being behind the research and no company, product or service names were discussed.

    The results were very interesting! Companies that do not use the cloud have some serious concerns when it comes to security, privacy and reliability. In itself that’s perhaps not too surprising – plenty has been written about these “barriers” to adoption. What’s surprising is that the perceptions holding back companies from the cloud are in stark contrast to the realities (and benefits) experienced by similar companies that use cloud services.

    We’ll be releasing the study throughout next week. In the meantime we filmed a short video preview.  You can also check out the Microsoft News Center security news room, which is where we’ll be posting details once the study is live.  You’ll also find details of a similar study we conducted a year ago with companies in Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and the U.S. 

  • Expanding the Digital Citizenship Conversation

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft

    “You can’t cook unless you’re in the kitchen; you can’t swim unless you’re in the pool, and you can’t teach kids about digital citizenship without having a conversation with them about online safety.”  These are the words of Anne Collier, co-founder of Connectsafely.org, shared last week with school administrators, educators, parents, safety advocates, and industry leaders at the Digital Citizenship Summit held at Microsoft’s Mountain View, California campus.

    The goal of the Summit was to galvanize key stakeholders and stimulate proactive conversations about how we must all come together to help teach responsible and appropriate use of technology, what Microsoft and others call fostering digital citizenship.  

    Many schools do not teach or have access to a comprehensive, in-classroom online safety curriculum, even though experts and many Internet safety organizations identify education as an effective means of helping to protect children from online risks.  Microsoft believes online safety curricula should be an integral part of a school’s efforts to achieve technological literacy for its students, particularly as more students use mobile devices, including at school.  Indeed, data show 52 percent of youth ages eight to 12, and 77 percent between 12 and 17, own mobile phones

  • Cloud Computing: Turning Big Data into Business Insight

    Posted by Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing
     
    Today there is an unprecedented amount of information, often referred to as Big Data, being collected in our society. Using big data strategically can create value for businesses by making information transparent and usable at a much higher frequency; and moving to the cloud can lead to significant security advantages over the existing distributed systems model.

    For organizations, big data may involve higher level services in apps that may lead to saving time, cost and resources. Companies are using information to help solve important social and economic problems and make sense of data that can lead to new business insights and decisions. In Scott Charney's Trustworthy Computing Next whitepaper, he profiles big data and cloud security trends over the next decade.