Where Europe succeeds, we succeed
Tackling cybersecurity together
Europe matters to us. For the past thirty years, it’s been our aim to help fuel the European economy with the programs, partnerships, products and services we deliver, through ourselves and others. Our investment has reaped significant return for thousands of new and existing businesses across the continent.
The Web has prompted tremendous growth and innovation over the last two decades, but also a new set of challenges. Cybersecurity has emerged as a significant global threat. Every day more than a million people are successfully targeted by cyber criminals. That’s 14 adults every second. Malicious attacks are mushrooming and conservative estimates put the annual cost of cybercrime at $114 billion. Given this, it’s hardly surprising that the World Economic Forum’s Risk Response Network recently elevated cybersecurity to a top five global risk, alongside issues such as income inequality, rising greenhouse gas emissions and fiscal imbalances.
Recognizing the high stakes and potentially devastating consequences of a coordinated attack, many governments and organizations are stepping up their efforts to fight cybercrime. Devoting increased EU resources is certainly a welcome step forward, but at the same time we must acknowledge this as a shared, global challenge. The network effect of cybercrime means that the damage from an attack is impossible to contain within geographic borders.
There is a clear need for public-private partnerships to bolster Europe’s defenses – both at a regional and global level. That is why Microsoft hosted the EU Cybersecurity and Digital Crimes Forum this week in Brussels. Bringing together European policymakers and many other stakeholders from the public and private sectors, we examined different aspects of the debate – from policy considerations to global cooperation. I was pleased to join Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner in charge of Home Affairs, Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and many others to discuss the common goal we share – a safer internet – and how we can work toward it through improved collaboration and effectively combining private sector innovation with government for pursuing cybercriminals.
For our part, we are deeply committed to working across the security industry and the IT ecosystem to create and deliver secure, private, and reliable computing experiences based on sound business practices. The experience we have gained since we established Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group ten years ago has given us deep insight into the current and future challenges faced by our customers and has also allowed us to create effective tools and methodologies to deal with those challenges.
Addressing these risks is not easy, but it is fundamental to securing our economic stability. We look at the role of the ICT sector as a critical enabler of economic transformation and growth. In the EU, it is directly responsible for five per cent of GDP, around €660bn per year, while it directly contributes far more – 20 percent – to overall productivity growth. Perhaps even more important is ICT’s impact on other sectors, which accounts for 75 percent of the overall economic impact of the internet. Cybersecurity is of paramount importance as Europe seeks to identify new areas for growth. The region’s economic future depends on the protection of its internet infrastructure. This can only be achieved if we all play our part.