Categories: CloudWorkspace

Microsoft Reassures Governments Over Cloud OS Data Security

Microsoft is assuring the world’s governments that in a world rocked by the National Security Agency surveillance controversy, its new Cloud OS Network can keep their data not only safe, but also out of the hands of foreign powers.

In December, Microsoft unveiled its global Cloud OS Network, a partnership between the company and cloud providers situated in several countries. During its debut, Microsoft described the Cloud OS Network as “a worldwide consortium of more than 25 cloud service providers delivering services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform: Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Centre and the Windows Azure Pack”.

Worldwide reach

Cloud OS Network will span 90 markets, run out of 425 data centres and is expected to serve more than 3 million customers. More than 2.4 million servers will power the Cloud OS Network.

Before trusting a cloud computing platform that operates on such a scale, government customers are understandably concerned about the security of their data and the chances of it being accessed by unauthorised persons beyond its borders, suggested Dan Mannion, director of Public Sector Cloud Strategy for Microsoft.

Specifically, Mannion faced questions about how Cloud OS Network would handle security. He explained that six of the inaugural Cloud OS Network partners are setting up national clouds, noting that “government specialists from more countries will be signing up”.

“These providers address unique government data security, privacy, and sovereignty concerns by developing solutions that can be certified to specific in-country requirements,” Mannion added. “And with local data centres, their solutions will help you keep your data within your own borders.”

Providers offering specialised government solutions, noted Mannion, include Capita IT Services and Outsourcery in the U.K.; Revera in New Zealand; SingTel in Singapore; Tieto serving Finland, Norway and Sweden; and VTC Digilink in Vietnam.

Microsoft selected these providers due, in large part, to their familiarity and experience in cloud security. “Many members of the Cloud OS Network have worked with Microsoft cloud services for a decade or more,” said Mannion. “Not only do they have the in-house skills and experience to deliver the most efficient, scalable, and secure cloud solutions to governments, but they’re also backed by Microsoft’s cloud expertise.”

Border dispute

The assurances echo statements by Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, who in the wake of the NSA spying scandal, said last month that non-US users of Microsoft’s cloud services will be able to keep their data closer to home. “Microsoft Corp. will allow overseas customers to have their personal data stored outside the US, a response to concerns about allegations of US government spying,” reported Bloomberg on 23 January.

Microsoft vowed to combat cyber-spying in December, after a clearer picture of the NSA’s far-reaching capabilities emerged from classified documents provided by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In a statement, Smith said that “government snooping potentially now constitutes an ‘advanced persistent threat’, alongside sophisticated malware and cyber-attacks”.

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Originally published on eWeek.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez covers Microsoft products and services, such as Office, Windows, Windows Phone, Azure and Skype.

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