Microsoft, a world leader in information technology, has teamed up with BT to drive innovation in the telecoms industry. In a separate move, the multinational corporation is also partnering with UK Finance and EY to launch a campaign that aims to make the language used in the fields of technology and cybersecurity more inclusive. All of this comes as welcome news to providers of IT support services and their clients, who are set to benefit greatly from these collaborations. Reliable IT support from trusted providers ensures companies can stay up to date with the latest technology on the market.
Microsoft and BT will work together to develop a line of revolutionary cloud-based products and services, of which BT’s voice customers will have first-hand experience.
Operator Connect allows telecom operators to add their calling plans to Microsoft Teams. This will enable BT to create new business models as it continuously grows, creates, and innovates.
As a result of the partnership, BT will offer its voice services through Microsoft Teams. This will help enhance its customers’ communication experiences and create new opportunities for the company to innovate and grow.
The number of registered users of BT’s managed Microsoft Teams collaboration has nearly doubled in the past year, demonstrating support for the service.
Microsoft will be putting the focus on how to make calls even more secure in future, in conjunction with BT’s extensive threat intelligence data and expertise gathered from protecting one of the world’s largest global networks. Together, they are geared to create cutting edge, secure collaborative workspaces.
Corporate Vice President of Industry Solutions at Microsoft, Omar Abbosh, said that with the partnership, both companies are beginning an exciting journey of innovation and collaboration. The partnership is designed to shape the future of telecoms worldwide, benefitting everyone from IT support services to end users of the services.
Abbosh said that transitioning global managed voice services to the cloud is a move that makes use of Microsoft’s state-of-the-art tools to develop new communications services that can meet the needs of customers in modern times.
Microsoft and BT will align their visions for communication, connectivity, security, and technology used for the digital realm to help support the growth of various businesses across the world.
According to Bas Burger, the CEO of Global at BT, these two companies are at the forefront of innovation. They are pioneering different creative digital platforms and ways to connect people. The outcomes are expected to push technology and communications way beyond the capabilities they currently possess.
The partnership will ensure that any new technologies developed by Microsoft will work ‘Best on BT’ devices and will support the companies’ commitments to improve digital skills in the communities within which they operate.
Making Cybersecurity More Inclusive
Microsoft has also recently teamed up with UK Finance and EY to release a joint report showing how the finance sector can remove any non-inclusive language, a common difficulty observed within the technology and cybersecurity sectors.
The report highlights the changes that should be made to the current language used in legacy application systems and coding. This will help drive action towards removing any form of language that portrays people in a negative light.
The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NSCS) and the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) have previously highlighted these language issues.
As part of the research for the report, discussions with UK Finance members and industry insights have found and highlighted contentious language that has become synonymous with ethnicity and race, gender, sexual orientation, criminality, and accessibility.
The research also explores the impacts of such language on society, as well as for the financial services industry. The non-inclusive language is seen as one of the reasons behind lower recruitment rates among minorities and has left some existing staff members feeling isolated.
A couple of examples the research has found that link race or ethnicity with negative terminology include the use of the terms “black market”, which it is proposed is changed to “illegal market”; and “white list”, which will be changed to “allow list”.
Other terms like “sanity check” may imply a level of disability bias or a form of discrimination against a person; and it’s proposed that this phrase is changed to “sense check” or “confidence check”, according to the report.
Organisations are currently at various stages of implementing diversity and inclusion. The report is identifying key focus areas regarding language, and the joint partnership has come up with a 12-step guide to be used by firms looking for sustainable ways to drive change within their companies. The steps proposed are as follows:
1. Review current language used in technology and cybersecurity;
2. Identity what non-inclusive language is in the code;
3. Secure technology and cyber leadership support for implementing change;
4. Engage central D&I or HR team with the proposal;
5. Agree to a set of alternative words to replace the non-inclusive language;
6. Secure a Business Leadership sponsor;
7. Consider cultural alignment to ensure everyone is involved;
8. Engage employees to help shape response and make a community decision;
9. Gain approval of alternative words to use;
10. Formulate the communication strategy;
11. Instigate changes, update policy documents, and make things official; and
12. Assign maintenance responsibility to make the changes effective.
David Postings, the Chief Executive of UK Finance, said that the partnership with EY and Microsoft has been fruitful in offering insights on how to make changes to language that will drive more positivity.
Nina Driscroll, Director at EY, said that the use of inclusive language is essential in cultivating desired behaviours and achieving the best outcomes from every endeavour. Both hope that the report will showcase how important it is to use language that makes everyone feel more comfortable.
Sarah Armstrong-Smith, the Chief Security Advisor of Microsoft, said that being mindful of the language used can foster greater inclusion in the tech and cybersecurity sectors.
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