Why the cloud is your friend, even for on premise infrastructures

By Stuart McKee posted May 15,2017 09:08 AM


I’ve been a technology geek all my life and fortunate to serve in the public sector for over 20 years. You might agree with my belief that we are facing one of the most disruptive times in recent history. A few things really jump out at me: hyper-scale (cloud) computing going mainstream and the emergence of a new generation of cybercriminals.  

As a former state CIO and NASCIO board member, I enjoy discussing the challenge of cybersecurity for state government IT infrastructures, and the pros and cons of cloud vs. on premise environments. NASCIO lists security and risk management as the No. 1 priority for state CIOs—with good reason:

  • The average cost of a data breach is $3.5 million.
  • In 2015, a new threshold was reached when a sophisticated attack ring successfully breached more than 100 banks across 30 countries, with losses estimated to exceed $1 billion.
  • The total cost of cybercrime to the global economy could be as high as $500 billion.
  • The impact of lost productivity and growth caused by cybercrime is estimated at $3 trillion.

These statistics comes from our Microsoft e-book “Intelligent Security: Using Machine Learning to Help Detect Advanced Cyber Attacks,” which notes that attacks can go undetected for approximately 200 days—roughly six-and-a-half months that a sophisticated attacker or syndicate has been at work inside your systems. The bad guys know that your data is accessed, used and shared on premise and in the cloud, erasing traditional security boundaries.

Microsoft recognizes that state governments face challenges that range from shifting cyber threats to managing multiple platforms and devices in disparate environments. As an industry partner, we focus on  providing the most trusted, comprehensive cloud so that our nearly 6 million government users across 7,000-plus federal, state and local organizations can achieve more in carrying out their mission-critical workloads. Security is part of our DNA and built in to the products and services we deliver. Yet we also respect that many of you have valid reasons for maintaining parts or all your IT infrastructure on premise.

In this challenging cybersecurity landscape, Microsoft has evolved its thinking to always assume there’s potential for a breach. We accept the fact that you can’t have firewalls big or strong enough to prevent sophisticated attackers. The traditional model of building thick castle walls and a deep moat are not enough for today’s connected world. That’s where cloud-based tools help make on premise environments more secure. For example, there are analytics to protect on premise resources from malicious attacks, using machine learning and behavioral analytics to automatically analyze, learn and identify normal and abnormal behaviors. If a breach has occurred, you can quickly protect your infrastructure with cloud-powered remediation tools to investigate and respond.  

For more than a decade at Microsoft, I’ve had the pleasure of working with state and local governments across the country. I’ll leave you with one closing thought: Microsoft’s Government Cloud is your friend when it comes to protecting your critical IT assets.

For more information, please visit Microsoft State and Local Government Solutions.