In today's increasingly dynamic IT environments, the ability to effectively access, manage, and secure both software and hardware assets is more critical than ever. Software provides the essential launchpad for creativity across numerous industries and human endeavors. Through transformational innovations such as apps and cloud computing, software supplies the mechanism through which innovative thinkers are delivering sweeping benefits that touch billions of lives each day. An important corollary associated with the growth and ubiquity of software is that cybersecurity is a top concern for businesses and organizations around the globe, and for good reason - 430 million new pieces of malware were discovered in 2015, up 36% from 2014.
As a responsible company Microsoft is committed to raise awareness among consumers and organizations around the world about the critical importance of the use of genuine software for protecting personal data, escaping the traps of malware and spyware, hackers’ attacks, i.e. cyber crimes in general. Following these continuous efforts, each year the company runs awareness campaign as a part of its corporate communications.
According to BSA, around the world, CIOs recognized that avoiding security threats associated with unlicensed software is a critical reason for ensuring the software running in their networks is legitimate and fully licensed. Importantly, it’s not only CIOs who recognized the risk, but also end-consumers and workers. They, too, were highly concerned about loss of data (according to researches by BSA and IDC). However, surprisingly, these well-placed concerns did not stop dangerous practices in real life.
Although trends have improved marginally, some 39% of software installed on PCs around the world in 2015 was not properly licensed. Even in certain critical industries, where much tighter control of the digital environment would be expected (e.g. banking, insurance, and securities industries), unlicensed use was still surprisingly high.
Bulgaria showed no difference to the world trends. Although the market showed some drop in the usage of unlicensed software (from 67% in 2009 to 60% in 2015, according to BSA data), the rates were still very high.
All these findings show the lack of deep understanding of the danger of cyber crimes and low levels of actual awareness of the problem. In addition, these were accompanied by missing information about relevant actions to address the issue properly. Last, but not least, the efforts of Microsoft in Bulgaria suffered from the public misconception that the company was pushing its sales-oriented campaign instead of raising a voice for the dangerous consequences of cybercrime for both, end-consumers and organizations.
To gain the attention of the public in Bulgaria for the cybercrime threats, for the first-year Microsoft organized a detailed research to provide information for the number of the hackers’ attacks and endangered users in Bulgaria with a relevant analysis (instead of relying on global and regional data). The data for the Bulgarian market was accompanied with simple set of hints and tips for end-users and organizations how to keep a good level of safety.
The campaign took a unified message approach to address the two main target groups – organizations and end-consumers. For the organizations, Microsoft Bulgaria held a dedicated conference with international experts, who covered topics such as “Secure the Modern Enterprise, Security Foundation and Cloud Security”, “Can we Trust the Cloud”, “Windows 10 Security Deep Dive”, and “Modern Workspace Security”.
To reach the end-consumers, the campaign used traditional media, pitching a detailed news release based on the data and analysis for Bulgaria, accompanied by a video and presentation to better visualize the information. In addition, key news outlets in the country were offered the opportunity to make exclusive interviews with international experts to comment the findings and provide users with hints and tips. The news was also shared on Microsoft Bulgaria owned media channels, including news website and social media profiles on the leading social networks in the country, Facebook and YouTube.
The conference was attended by more than 70 representatives of leading business organizations in Bulgaria.
The total media coverage amounts more than 100 media pieces:
1 broadcast coverage in the leading TV channel bTV, more than 2 minutes’ reportage in prime-time news with Microsoft brand mentioning (according to Bulgarian law for electronic media, brand mentioning is allowed only for topics, which are recognized as highly significant for the public);
More than 50 publications in leading national economy, business and general news media;
More than 10 articles in specialized national IT media;
More than 40 media materials in leading regional media.
There were 2 interviews with the international security expert, Uwe Rasmussen – one was aired in the primetime of the most popular national TV channel in Bulgaria bTV, and the second one was published in one of the leading Bulgarian online news websites Offnews.bg.