Microsoft Australia Cyber Security

Microsoft leads the build of Australia’s cyber shields

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Microsoft announced a $5 billion investment over two years in Australia, where the vendor would work on the cyber shields effort with the Australian Signals Directorate.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and Microsoft will work together on the Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield (MACS) as part of Microsoft’s $5 billion investment in Australia over the next two years, as stated by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The objective of MACS is to enhance cybersecurity defenses for Australian citizens, companies, and governmental organizations.

As part of this collaboration, Microsoft and ASD will develop next-generation cybersecurity solutions that are appropriate for their respective uses.

The Australian federal government unveiled its initial plans for the 2023–30 national cybersecurity strategy in mid–September. Among these plans were the establishment of six cyber shields, which will center on educating businesses and citizens, investing in cyber skills, and working with both domestic and foreign partners to safeguard the nation against evolving cyber threats.

During a press conference in Washington, D.C., Microsoft MD for Australia and New Zealand Steven Worrall stated that the alliance will allow the exchange of the 65 trillion signals that Microsoft handles throughout its network in a suitable manner to support and enhance what Australia is doing.

According to analysts, cybercrime is expected to become a $10 trillion problem by 2025. Tony Vizza, executive director of cybersecurity at KordaMentha, tells CSO that “any extra investment into more cybersecurity-related initiatives is a good thing.”

Microsoft makes training and data center investments in Australia

Microsoft also revealed plans to expand its local data center network from 20 to 29 locations in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney as part of the $5 billion investment. In only two years, this is predicted to expand Microsoft’s computer capability by 250%.

The specifics of the entire agreement and the investment conditions are yet unknown because it is still very early in the process. Nonetheless, Addiscott notes that any investment of this kind that is focused on the appropriate areas to provide Australia with strategic cybersecurity boost is good news.

Microsoft will expand its worldwide skills programs to teach over 300,000 Australians by giving them access to learning materials, certifications, and job-seeking tools. The company will also collaborate with TAFE NSW to develop a Microsoft Datacenter Academy in Australia.

Vizza issues a warning and states that rather than supporting vendor-based solutions, the federal government should work to embrace a vendor-agnostic strategy and support standards-based skill development and education. “There’s a possibility that a vendor will create industry dependence and educate within the parameters of their own products rather than enacting broad protections.” The government should also support more chances for academics and business to contribute to the development of broad, standards-based cyberskills.

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