The sovereignty of your data: Microsoft’s proposed UK-based data centres

“Where will my data reside?” is a major question for companies considering moving to the cloud.

Privacy concerns and industry regulation have often been stumbling blocks on an organisation’s ‘journey to the cloud’. Even though a lot has been done to assure users that the ‘cloud’ is just as secure as a locally held data site, many remain sceptical.

The laws of the country where the data is physically stored govern the data. This is commonly referred to as ‘data sovereignty’. Many concerns surrounding this relate to enforcing privacy regulations and preventing data that is stored in a foreign country from being subpoenaed by the host country’s government.

In response to ‘the cloud’s’ location-free approach, many countries have regulated new compliance requirements by amending their current laws or enacting new legislation that requires customer data to be kept within the country the customer resides.

However, proving that data exists only at allowed locations can be difficult. It requires the cloud customer to trust that their cloud provider is completely honest and open about where their servers are hosted and adhere strictly to service level agreements (SLAs).

Regulation and privacy fears have meant that many UK-based organisations have had to resist the compelling cost structure and flexible architecture and carry on with their traditional on-site systems.

So what can overcome this challenge?

Back in November, Microsoft announced that it would open two UK-based data centres in 2016.

The tech giant’s ability to prove that a UK-based organisation’s data will reside only in the UK removes a particularly large barrier for those operating in a data-sensitive industry, such as, legal, healthcare, public sector, finance and insurance.

Looking at the wider picture, this new proposition from Microsoft will, inevitably, destabilise some competitive products that currently have a foothold in specific sectors. Office 365 and the cloud offering in general will benefit hugely as Microsoft see this investment as major catalyst to accelerating cloud adoption in the UK.

By tackling data protection arguments head-on and providing viable solutions, Microsoft is trying to make the journey to the cloud as painless as it can.

In recent seminars, we have illustrated the advantages of moving to a cloud environment, but we have also highlighted the disadvantages of turning solely to this type of environment. There are still a myriad of considerations regarding moving to the cloud. Business Agility works closely with its clients to help them understand all the ramifications of the Cloud, Office 365 and SharePoint Online. If you would like to understand the implications for your organisation then please don’t hesitate to contact us, or perhaps attending one of our forthcoming seminars would be beneficial.