Microsoft Corp. announced that its first data centers in Britain are up and running. The data centers are located in London, Durham, and Cardiff.
These UK datacenters are expected to help Microsoft sell its cloud services to more companies and will even be used in legal, banking, and public and utility sectors to help them manage and handle sensitive data. In fact, Microsoft has already onboarded the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The MoD approached the software giant a couple of years back with the idea of opening local data centers. It’s a big entity too; the MoD employs 230,000 people and spends more than $3 billion per year on technical infrastructure.
“Right from the start I’ve felt that for defence the only appropriate place to have our data was here in the UK,” said Mike Stone, the MoD’s chief digital and information officer. “Technically our data could be held anywhere in the European economic area, but I wouldn’t ever want to be in a position where we had data being held elsewhere and this coming under scrutiny.”
This move by the MoD could spark fears with regards to the security of Britain’s data given that UK’s armed forces use the country’s secure military computer network, and Microsoft is simply not that, but Stone trusts Microsoft’s products, stating that they implement safeguards for data that can protect individual documents.
When Britain voted to exit the European Union, there were concerns regarding Microsoft UK’s data as they were stored in data centers in Dublin, Amsterdam, and other European countries. With the opening of the UK datacenter, these concerns have been pacified. Beyond MoD, early customers also include Aston Martin, South London, Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Capita, Britain’s largest business process outsourcing.
“The bottom line is we trust Microsoft,” said Stephen Docherty, the chief information officer at the Trust. “It is reassuring to know that our Trust’s core data that we create and manage stays in the UK. For us, the Microsoft’s UK cloud region means that demonstrating regulatory and legal compliance is simpler.”
The UK datacenters will host Microsoft’s Office 365 and Azure, and add its Dynamics CRM Online suite of cloud sales and marketing applications in the first half of 2017. Microsoft has over 100 data centers worldwide and is the first company to build its data centers in the UK.
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