Hanover handles UK cybersecurity for Microsoft

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

LONDON: Hanover is putting together a policy roundtable on cybersecurity for Microsoft after securing all of its UK public affairs business earlier this year.

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

“Encouraging people to take cybersecurity 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 [the Prime Minister's office] and the Department for Business."

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

Microsoft shifted its UK b-to-b communications account from Bite to Edelman in June.

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 focusing on 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 critical of many of the competing agencies' submissions, saying they failed to pick up on Microsoft's request that they show it something they had done that their competitors had not.

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

Hanover will support Microsoft as it engages 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, and telecommunications.

On cybersecurity, Milward said the company was using its network of 30,000 predominantly small- and medium-sized systems integrator, developer, and reseller partners as a frontline to encourage people to take the issue seriously.

In the US, Microsoft centralized its communications structure this summer, bringing together the comms units from various divisions into a combined team led by corporate VP of corporate communications Frank Shaw. Previously, the PR leaders in distinct Microsoft product and service units, such as Skype or Xbox, reported to their respective marketing leader.

When Waggener Edstrom Worldwide laid off about 5% of its workforce last month, it said reorganizations at longtime client Microsoft were partially to blame.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.

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