Organisations that use Microsoft’s Azure, and Office 365 will be able to store their sensitive data in the UK after Microsoft opened its first UK based data centres.
It is the first global company to build a cloud data centres in the UK.
Notable first customers of these cloud services include; the Ministry of Defence, whose 230,000 employees will use Office 365 and Azure, and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the largest mental health trust in the UK.
Mike Stone, chief information officer at the Ministry of Defence, highlighted some of the benefits: “We can now work on documents collaboratively and understand more about the ways we are working – we will be able to see how much time teams are spending in meetings, on email and on the phone.”
Moving operations to cloud-based services is a popular trend because it provides easier access to, and recovery of, information, and it is regarded as a safer alternative to dated, and more expensive, private servers.
Cloud services improve operational efficiency and accuracy.
“Modern cloud data centres have the ability to partition and rapidly accelerate access to software-as-a-service products and computing capacity for storage and data analytics,” said Professor Mark Skilton, of Warwick Business School.
Today’s announcement is significant because, for the first time, major UK organisations will be able to store their cloud-based data within the UK.
A term referred to as data sovereignty.
“By being ‘on-shore’ some work-around can begin in placing EU citizen data within the country of jurisdiction,” commented Skilton.
Countries can store their data overseas, but when it comes down to something like defence information with the MoD or sensitive customer information, holding the data in the UK is desirable.
“These new Microsoft Cloud regions will help businesses in industries such as banking, government, public sector and healthcare meet their customer’s needs, the regulatory requirements they are held to, and the need for local redundancy and disaster recovery,” Takeshi Numoto, VP for Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, said in today’s announcement.