Microsoft said it will invest an additional $5bn in Australia over the next two years to expand hyperscale cloud computing capacity while collaborating with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to boost domestic protection from cyber threats.
Anthony Albanesehad confirmed the new investment on the opening day of his state visit to the United States during an event at the Australian embassy in Washington, flanked by Microsoft’s vice-chair and president, Brad Smith, and Microsoft Australia and New Zealand Managing director Steven Worrall.
The announcement in Washington comes ahead of the Albanese government articulating a new Australian cybersecurity strategy covering the period to 2030.
During his day in the US capital with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery and a visit to the gravesites of two Australians buried there, Albanese confirmed Microsoft’s plans at an event during the afternoon.
Microsoft says the collaboration with the Australian government to boost domestic cybersecurity will enhance “joint capability to identify, prevent and respond to cyber threats, which are growing in both frequency and severity”.
In a statement, the computing giant said the exchange of cyber threat information leads to better protection for Australian residents, businesses and government entities. Microsoft said the focus of its activity would be on detecting, analysing and defending against sophisticated nation-state cyber threats.
The director general of ASD, Rachel Noble, said the investments would strengthen the agency’s “strong partnership with Microsoft and … turbocharge our collective capacity to protect Australians in cyberspace”.
A recent threat report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre found one incident is reported on average in Australia every seven minutes. More than 76,000 incidents of cybercrime were reported in 2021-22.
Albanese said he welcomed Microsoft’s collaboration with ASD because a strong economy required protection from cyber threats.
The prime minister also characterised Microsoft’s commitments as “a major investment in the skills and workers of the future, which will help Australia to strengthen our position as a world-leading economy”.
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