Microsoft has partnered with non-profit Center for Internet Security (CIS) in a bid to help increase election security in the US while enabling election officials to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Cloud computing.
For years, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and state and local governments throughout the US have worked with CIS to monitor the security of election-related data.
This is enabled by Albert Network Monitoring, which examines Internet traffic and connection attempts on networks owned and run by election officials — including voter registration systems, voter information portals and back-office networks.
Albert provides network security alerts for both basic and advanced network threats, helping organisations identify malicious activity such as attempted intrusions by foreign adversaries or cybercriminals, Ethan Chumley, Senior Security Strategist, Defending Democracy Program at Microsoft said in a blog post on Monday.
Data from these sensors is sent in near-real-time to the CIS Security Operations Centr,e which is monitored around the clock by expert cybersecurity analysts.
To date, cloud computing providers, such as Microsoft Azure, have not been compatible with Albert sensors.
This presented election officials with the difficult choice of selecting powerful, secure and cost-effective cloud computing options, or hosting the data on local servers if they wanted to take advantage of the added security of Albert.
“Today, through a partnership with CIS, we’re providing a new choice by making Microsoft Azure compatible with Albert for the first time,” Chumley said.
“We’re starting this journey through a pilot, which will begin this week, with 14 county Supervisors of Elections in Florida. Moving forward, Microsoft and CIS will look to open the capability to states and jurisdictions across the United States,” Chumley added.