The Microsoft Computing Safety Index – Something YOU Can Do That Will Actually Reduce CyberCrime

Share Your Thoughts: Facebooktwitterlinkedin

The Microsoft Computing Safety Index


And Something YOU Can Do That Will Actually Reduce CyberCrime

 By – Chief Information Security Officer

You have all heard me rave about how bad it’s getting in the cyberworld with the bad guys getting badder and smarter.   As a business person, if you haven’t given this some serious thought, then you…

Have your head in the sand
Have been asleep way too long
Have some really cool drugs (it’s a blog – please share suggestions…)

Today I happened upon a recently released survey conducted by Microsoft and titled The Microsoft Computing Safety Index.  You can find it at

Before you go there however, I’d like the opportunity to summarize what it is, what is says, and more importantly, suggest a way to think about it that you might otherwise miss.
This survey focuses on consumer, not business, computing habits.   Before you haze over and decide this won’t provide business value, bear with me for a few relevant words.

Microsoft’s stated goals for the survey include:

Quantify consumer perceptions of Internet safety, security and privacy


Construct a benchmark measure we can track over time

Microsoft’s stated approach to the survey includes:

Online surveys with 2,045 Windows users


Parents, educators and other adults


U.S., UK, France, Germany and Brazil

Consumers complete a short online survey about their online computing habits and configurations.   Microsoft separates the questions into three main categories and scores responses based on  a perfect “target” score of 100.   Questions are designed to be reasonably understood by a consumer.

As you will see, the international median score is 34/100 and the U.S. is slightly higher at 37/100.   Now, I don’t know what State you live in, but I’m pretty sure that wherever you are, 37/100 is a REALLY FAILING score.

Okay, thanks for bearing with me, now to my key point.

The Opportunity

I suspect that many of you might, at first glance, just shake your head and say “I’m not surprised,” but since this is consumer based, not give it too much more thought (well, maybe you’ll ask your teenager to explain this to you and see what’s going on in your own personal PC world).

I, on the other hand, see a great opportunity here that’s a win for your business and for the entire cyberworld.

First, let’s talk about why you want to give a damn about this from a business perspective. ..

Every time a consumer has identity stolen, gets hacked, gets slammed because s/he did not understand the implications of interacting with social media there is a very real business repercussion.   If  your business is one of the few remaining that don’t rely on ecommerce, then perhaps the impact is not as direct.   But for the rest of us, transacting business online is generally less expensive and carries your brand to a significantly broader market.   So, you WANT people to do business online with you.

Studies show that consumers with poor home computing habits are more likely to display the same poor habits at work.

From a hacker perspective, millions of consumer PC’s with poor protection or use habits is a virtual playground for using so-called “bot-net” code to grab command of those PC’s and use them to launch attacks on businesses.

So, here’s my proposal…

If you have a web-site or monthly bill or a newsletter that your customers regularly view, spend some really minimal dollars and use any or all of these as a platform to educate consumers about good personal computing habits.   You can address some or all of the components in the Microsoft survey.   You can talk to parents about how to manage safe computing for their kids.   Whatever.   It doesn’t have to be extensive, but when integrated into something that your customers are likely to see, they just might read it and even put it to use!

What’s in it for you?   I’m willing to bet that customers will be so impressed that you used space for words to help them where you could be advertising one more product/service that your loyalty factor will increase significantly.   If your marketing folks are on the ball, you might even get some news lines about your creative approach to helping a world-wide problem.

And, if you happen to be in the technical space, look at what’s not working based on the survey and see if you can’t come up with easy, affordable, and transparent solutions for any of the survey areas.

Let me know what you come up with and we’ll post your ideas in the blog.

Until next time,


Share Your Thoughts: Facebooktwitterlinkedin