The industry will begin the next decade with 25 times as much digital data worldwide as when this past decade began, said Brad Smith, president at Microsoft, during the company’s recent Inspire 2019 conference in Las Vegas.
He said in the past decade Microsoft made leaps in computational power, created cloud servers that made the leaps possible, and found ways to support an explosion of data.
Still, there are challenges, he noted. “We live in a time when our tools are being turned into weapons,” he said. “This has always been true for every tool in history. A broom can be used to sweep a floor or hit someone over the head. The more powerful the tool, the more formidable the weapon.”
He said Microsoft and its partners need to step up, work together and assume more responsibility for the technology created. Everything starts with trust, which is not something counted on, but rather earned. Cybersecurity is a major part of that trust.
Cyberattacks continue, Smith said. In the past 12 months Microsoft has moved to implement security features in all types of digital data, from election to news.
In 2018, Microsoft launched the Global Tech Accord to bring companies together to fight for one cause. Made up of roughly 106 companies from 22 countries worldwide, the accord aims to protect users and customers against cyber threats. It commits members to defend certain principles to protect consumers.
The accord served as a building block to a partnership with the French government. Last November, the French government unveiled the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace to protect citizens and election data against cybersecurity and fraud.
Microsoft is making business decision that require hard calls, Smith said. There are days when Microsoft turns down deals because the technology being created will be used in scenarios that are dangerous or unethical. “And as important as our profitability is, we all appreciate together that there are some values even bigger than that,” Smith said.
Among its new initiatives, Microsoft plans to do more to make campuses greener and use less energy, Smith said.