Canadian Business Leaders Report They're Not Doing Enough to Protect their Data

Microsoft survey reveals that more than three-quarters of senior executives recognize they are not fully prepared for a security breach

TORONTO, Oct. 27, 2016 /CNW/ - As digital strategy increasingly becomes a priority for Canadian business leaders and more are migrating their data to the cloud, a new survey from Microsoft Canada reveals concerns and confusion around security and preparedness when it comes to managing data.

The survey, conducted by Northstar on behalf of Microsoft, asked more than 700 Canadian business leaders about digital transformation and found that 71 per cent of senior executives say implementing a digital strategy is one of their top five business objectives in 2017, with 68 per cent saying they are already harnessing the power of the cloud and 81 per cent stating that cloud solutions will play an important role in executing their digital strategy.

However, despite this shift, there is still some skepticism among Canadian business leaders, with 58 per cent listing security as a top concern when migrating to the cloud, followed by privacy (47 per cent).  In addition to this, only 21% of executives reported that they feel they are "fully prepared" in the case of a data hack or leak.

"It's great to see that the cloud continues to gain momentum and that Canadian businesses recognize its value," said Janet Kennedy, president of Microsoft Canada. "After learning more about the cloud and our approach to security, we're seeing companies of all sizes adopt the Microsoft cloud to achieve better security. Quite simply, what they realize is that it's impossible for most organizations to match the kind of investment Microsoft is making in security technology, infrastructure and operational processes to protect their data."

According to Doug Schneider, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Technical Officer at Manulife Financial, one of Canada's leading financial services companies, Manulife chose Microsoft Azure for their journey to the cloud because of Microsoft's complete suite of technology services and strong security offering. "The use of Microsoft Azure is and continues to be a cornerstone for our transition to the cloud. Microsoft's comprehensive suite of technology and services coupled with their strong security offering for our data made this a win-win for us. It was a natural extension to our already strong partnership."

For Goldcorp, one of the world's largest gold mining companies, operating high-quality mining assets in a safe and sustainable manner is critical to doing business. "Like so many industries, we regularly face threats to our data and therefore to our operations. It is critical for us to have robust, reliable technology and effective cybersecurity solutions as we strive to be an industry leader in all parts of our business," said Luis Canepari, Vice President, Information Technology at Goldcorp.  "We've partnered with Microsoft for many of our technology needs, given the investments Microsoft has made in security, and trust Microsoft to help us protect some of our most valuable assets: our data. This frees us up to focus on what's most important – being the best at mining."

Microsoft invests more than $1 billion in security research and development every year and recently announced its Cyber Defense Operations Centre; a state-of-the-art facility that brings together security response experts from across the company to help protect, detect and respond to threats in real-time.

In addition, Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system has Credential Guard, Device Guard and improved security features such as BitLocker, which means security events related to client device management requiring IT remediation are reduced or avoided altogether.

Other notable finding from the survey include:

  • Local data residency is important for businesses with the majority (85 per cent) reporting that they want their data to remain in Canada;
  • 89 per cent of business leaders say it's important for their cloud service provider's solutions to integrate with their existing IT investments;
  • The overwhelming majority (90 per cent) indicated that it is important for cloud providers to actively target cyber criminals and work with governments to maintain top cybersecurity standards.

"The survey confirmed that business leaders need to feel confident that their data is secure and is being stored here in Canada. This is especially important for businesses with stringent compliance standards, such as government and healthcare organizations. To address this need, we recently opened datacentres in Toronto and Quebec City," added Kennedy.

Currently, 80 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies are on the Microsoft cloud. Microsoft was the first major cloud service provider to sign the international code of practice for cloud privacy, ISO 27018.  All of Microsoft's services are independently verified to meet legal and compliance requirements, are financially backed and offer transparent information on their availability. Microsoft also continues to work with industry security partners, governments and enterprise customers, and engages Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit when law enforcement needs arise.

To learn more about Microsoft's security strategy and investments, visit the Microsoft Secure website.

ABOUT THE SURVEY
The survey was conducted on behalf of Microsoft Canada by Northstar, a globally integrated insights consulting firm. Interviews were conducted with 711 senior level Canadian business leaders in the private and public sectors in October of 2016. Results are considered accurate to within +/- 5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

ABOUT MICROSOFT CANADA
Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Inc.

For further information: Katelyn Hack, Veritas Communications, hack@veritasinc.com, 416-955-4588


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