Microsoft pursues cyber security agenda with Hanover as sole PA agency

Hanover is putting together a policy roundtable on cyber security for Microsoft after securing all of its public affairs business earlier this year.

Hugh Milward: scathing of longlisted agencies' efforts
Hugh Milward: scathing of longlisted agencies' efforts

Microsoft’s director of corporate affairs Hugh Milward said his company was keen to support government attempts to make small and medium-sized businesses more aware of online threats.

"Encouraging people to take cyber security seriously is really important if the UK is going to be a powerhouse in the emerging tech economy," he said. "It’s of primary importance to both Number 10 and the Department for Business."

Hanover’s ability to deliver different types of events, from roundtables and party conferences to Commons terrace receptions, as well as its policy expertise, were key factors in it beating 12 other agencies to the business, according to Milward.

The software giant’s public affairs brief was previously shared by Edelman and Hanover, with the former responsible for events and monitoring and the latter strategy.

Milward was unhappy with "the increasing amount of duplication between the two agencies" and called a consolidation pitch in the early summer.

He was scathing of many of the longlisted agencies’ submissions to the creds round, saying they failed to pick up on Microsoft’s request that they show it something they had done that their competitors had not.

"So many agencies felt, clearly by the fact that they only submitted their standard creds, that their standard creds were enough to filter out any competition," he said. "I find that absolutely astonishing."

The four agencies that made it through to the pitch stage were Hanover, Edelman, Weber Shandwick and APCO, which handles Microsoft’s European public affairs.

Hanover will work to support Microsoft as it engages with the public sphere on a wide range of issues including intellectual property, skills and apprenticeships, privacy, surveillance, big data, the opening up of public sector data, telecoms, voiceover IP and other regulatory issues.

On cyber security Milward said the company was using its network of 30,000 predominantly small and medium-sized systems integrator, developer and reseller partners as a front line in encouraging people to take the issue seriously.

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