Microsoft pulls together Asian nations to fight regional cyber threats

At the forefront of the council’s vision is the drive to build a community where threat intelligence, technology and resources can be shared in a timely and open manner.
Sherie Ng (Microsoft)

Sherie Ng (Microsoft)

Policy makers from Brunei, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand have joined Microsoft’s freshly launched Asia Pacific Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council in a bid to fight cyber threats in the region. 

At least 15 policy makers from the countries listed above have become part of the council, which is supported by cyber security professionals from Microsoft.

The vendor’s goal, ostensibly, is to bring together a coalition of policy makers from government and state agencies, as well as technology and industry leaders, with the aim of building a strong communications channel for addressing cyber threats and sharing best practices across the participating countries. 

From Microsoft’s perspective, the collective, as it currently stands, marks a commitment to accelerating public-private partnerships in cyber security, while promoting a broader sharing of threat intelligence to be better positioned to respond in the event of an attack.  

At the forefront of the council’s vision is the drive to build a community in which threat intelligence, technology and resources can be shared in a timely and open manner, the vendor said.  

Now it has been established, the council is set to meet virtually on a quarterly basis to maintain a continuous exchange of information on cyber threats and cyber security solutions. 

“Cyber security is an important national agenda that cannot rely solely on the back of IT team," said Dato’ Ts. Dr. Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab FASc, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia. “It should be a priority and responsibility of all individuals, as we continue to see cyber criminal activities rise exponentially with the proliferation of data and digital connectivity.  

“This coalition certainly establish stronger partnerships with industry leaders and practitioners that allow us to fortify our security postures and combat cyber crime,” he added. 

As part of the Asia Pacific Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council, government agencies and state leaders will join a forum that includes Microsoft and its ecosystem of cyber security industry advisors.  

The aim of the forum is to share best practices and learn from Microsoft security certification training, workshops and hands-on lab sessions, with the goal of driving improvements in the digital skills of the workforce to reduce the talent gap in cyber security across the participating nations.  

Moreover, the members of the Asia Pacific Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council will share experiences and knowledge relating to cyber threats and will work to drive greater collaboration and cooperation between countries.  

“Cyber threats and attacks are inevitable in this interconnected world, which is why our collective strength and collaboration as a community is imperative,” said Sherie Ng, Microsoft Asia Pacific public sector general manager.  

“Today’s announcement is the first step towards defending our communities in cyberspace and I’m excited to announce the launch of the first APAC Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council with the founding members that include government leaders, policymakers, regulators [and] industry stakeholders across the region.  

“Our joint mission is to build a strong coalition, to strengthen our cyber security defence,” she added. 

The effort will build on existing initiatives to strengthen cyber security partnerships in the Asia Pacific region, including through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, Microsoft said. 

For ChangHee Yun, principal researcher of the artificial intelligence (AI)/Future Strategy Centre of the National Information Society Agency, Korea, the collective intelligence held by Asia Pacific nations is paramount to jointly share best practices and strategies that will help the region resolve cyber security challenges at a faster pace, and in a more proactive manner.  

“With similar threat landscapes, this partnership will ensure that we are steps ahead of the perpetrators, establishing higher standards for the cyber security ecosystem as well,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the Acting Deputy Secretary General of Thailand’s National Cybersecurity Agency, Amorn Chomchoey, said that the cyber security executive council was an instrumental platform for collaboration between the participating nations.  

“I believe with the stronger relationships we will forge via this council will enable us to anticipate threats as early as possible, prevent them before the effects of cyber crime evolves into another ‘pandemic’ for the ‘cyberworld,’” Chomchoey said.