by Connie Hawkes
Earlier today, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith announced a new Microsoft pledge for the European Union. This is referred to as the EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud and aims to offer further progress towards responding to customer calls for even greater data residency commitments.
Data sovereignty and data residency are important for many organisations, but even more so for those with high-compliance environments or strict regulations. The desire to maintain control over where data resides and where it is processed has left many customers with the requirement that data must always remain within EU parameters.
As it stands Microsoft Cloud Services already comply or exceed the EU guidelines – offering commercial and public sector organisations the choice to store their data within customer-selected geographies and in many cases, configuring Azure cloud services for processing too.
In a further development, today Microsoft stated that by the end of 2022 additional steps will be taken to minimise customer and personal data transfers outside of the EU. This means that “if you are a commercial or public sector customer in the EU, we will go beyond our existing data storage commitments and enable you to process and store all your data in the EU. In other words, we will not need to move your data outside the EU. This commitment will apply across all of Microsoft’s core cloud services – Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365”.
In no time like the present, progress is already underway as engineering work on Microsoft core cloud services has already started. In addition to Microsoft’s commitments for protecting the personal data of their EU commercial and public sector customers in Europe the creation of a new Privacy Engineering Centre of Excellence in Dublin aims to help customers choose solutions that build robust data protection into their cloud workloads. Continued investments in an expansive European Datacentre infrastructure will also help customers achieve digital transformation while maintaining compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
This is certainly good news for businesses reliant on M65 services – and for those looking to adopt cloud services in the near to long term future. As the EU Data Boundary is going to be a further development of existing commercial services for those in the cloud no migration is required. However, for those still reliant on legacy systems and on-premises services these changes do not need to place digital transformation plans on hold. In fact, customers can continue to adopt M365 services today, compliant with European Laws. What’s more – new customers will automatically benefit from the engineering changes Microsoft are making, when available.
Read the full report from Microsoft, Brad Smith here: Answering Europe’s Call: Storing and Processing EU Data in the EU – EU Policy Blog (microsoft.com)
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