Microsoft’s cloud datacenter regions in Switzerland are up and running with local data residency for security and control as well as redundancy across the Zurich and Geneva areas. The Microsoft Cloud in Switzerland is launching with a selection of more than 30 customers and partner organisations. The first customers using the new cloud regions in Switzerland include UBS, Swiss Re, die Mobiliar, BKW Group, Skyguide, City of Zug, Exploris Health and Swisscom among others.
The Microsoft cloud datacenter regions in Switzerland have been launched with a selection of more than 30 customers and partner organizations (“Early Adopters”). Microsoft Azure services are now available to these companies from the cloud datacenter regions in the areas of Zurich (Switzerland North) and Geneva (Switzerland West). Further clients will be onboarded through a managed process to enable access to the new cloud regions. General availability of Azure and the availability of Office 365 delivered from the new cloud regions in Switzerland are anticipated in the coming months. Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are anticipated to be available in 2020.
An investment in Switzerland – for Switzerland
Marianne Janik, General Manager of Microsoft Switzerland, says: “For us, the Microsoft Cloud Data Centers are an investment in Switzerland – for Switzerland. In conversations with our customers, it became very clear that local data storage is extremely important for them. We are very proud that we are now able to guarantee that.”
For Marianne Janik, one thing is clear: “The cloud has proven to be the innovation platform globally. We have now reached the tipping point in Switzerland as well. The companies have been intensively involved with the cloud. Today the question is no longer whether, but when and how to go into the cloud. Microsoft Switzerland has been rooted in the Swiss economy and society for 30 years. Together with our 4,600 partner companies in all language regions, we are definitely prepared to think and implement new ideas together with large companies, SMEs and start-ups in all sectors as well as with public sector organisations.”
Focus on security, control and business continuity
The demand for the Microsoft Cloud in Switzerland is high – from large corporations, SMEs and start-ups of all industries as well as public sector organisations. The local data residency in Switzerland adds a new layer of control and will help companies and institutions comply with regulatory requirements. In particular, regulated industries can benefit from the option to achieve in-country disaster recovery with redundancy across cloud regions located in the areas of Zurich and Geneva.
Marc Holitscher, National Technology Officer of Microsoft Schweiz, says: “We don’t just see the opportunities in the cloud, we also want to take responsibility. Trust is a fundamental Swiss value and it is deeply rooted in the way we protect, operate and develop our platform.” For example, Microsoft does neither pass on business customer data to advertisement-supported services, nor does it evaluate business customer data for marketing or advertising purposes. Marc Holitscher states: “The data belongs to our customers and we process it according to our customers’ demand. We also work closely with regulators – in Switzerland and around the world – to address the legal requirements of various industries.”
Swiss Cloud regions launch with over 30 companies
More than 30 companies are participating as “Early Adopters”, including many Microsoft partners from all regions of Switzerland, who support their customers in the digital transformation of their business. The first customers using the new cloud regions in Switzerland include UBS, Swiss Re, die Mobiliar, BKW Group, Skyguide, City of Zug, Exploris Health and Swisscom among others. Use cases of all these companies can be found further below.
Swisscom expands its utilization of the Microsoft cloud, including cloud regions in Switzerland
In response to the rapidly growing demand for public cloud solutions, Swisscom and Microsoft Switzerland are intensifying their partnership. Swisscom is now offering its customers managed public cloud services delivered via Microsoft’s global infrastructure and the new Swiss cloud regions. Swisscom will also be the first Swiss telco-provider to offer ExpressRoute, a secure, highly available, high-performance and private connection to Microsoft Cloud services.
The long-standing cooperation model with Microsoft Switzerland ensures that Swisscom, as a full-service provider, can build up a broad Managed Services Portfolio on the Microsoft cloud. Thanks to this portfolio and the expanded possibilities of the Azure Cloud platform in the areas of scalability, economy of scale and innovation, Swisscom is excellently positioned to accompany its existing and new customers into the future.
“The close partnership with Microsoft Switzerland is an essential aspect for the further development of our cloud strategy. This promotes access to innovative technologies that we can offer combined with our services on the market”, says Urs Lehner, Head of Swisscom Business Customers. “The offer enables small and large companies to use the latest technologies simply and securely in order to organise their IT more efficiently and grow with new business models.”
Companies of all sizes and from all industries are using the Microsoft Cloud Regions in Switzerland
UBS Group, the world’s largest wealth manager, is using Microsoft Azure cloud technology to power its digital transformation and to modernize many of their critical business applications, to find new ways to leverage digital channels, and rethink how its global workforce works and collaborates together.
“For us cloud is a major enabler for the way we deliver technology to the firm and our clients. The agility and scale that Azure provides is crucial to the bank’s future growth strategy,” says Mike Dargan, Global Head of Technology at UBS.
Paul McEwen, Global Head of Infrastructure & Security Engineering and Cloud Strategy at UBS adds that “with Microsoft Azure, we are now building our software and services in the cloud knowing they are secure and compliant with regulations. The ability to store data in Switzerland is a prerequisite for us to continue our move to the cloud.”
Swiss Re Group
The Swiss Re Group is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer. It anticipates and manages risk from natural catastrophes to climate change, from ageing populations to cybercrime.
René Turra, Head Property & Casualty IT at Swiss Re says: “We’ve invested significantly in technology at Swiss Re over the past few years. This allows us to deliver better products to clients and helps us build greater societal and financial resilience around the world. As a leading risk knowledge company with a culture of innovation, we measure and mitigate climate risk, expand protection through cutting-edge digital insurance solutions and build societal resilience at scale. Technology is our enabler and diversifier in these transformative times. By utilizing technology in collaboration with partners, we can help make insurance simpler and more accessible than ever.”
Swiss Re will use the cloud not only to develop innovative solutions, and services and to process large amounts of data, but also to operate critical applications in order to bring them closer to global users.
“Microsoft has become the strategic partner and preferred public cloud partner for Swiss Re. With the Microsoft Cloud regions in Switzerland we now also have the option to bring even more data into the cloud and, at the same time, ensure security and privacy as well as compliance with regulatory and legal requirements.”
Die Mobiliar, the oldest private insurance company in Switzerland, works intensively on innovation topics in the areas of digitalisation, the development of the world of work and life and demographic change. Founded in Berne in 1826, the company is taking advantage of technological progress to grow further and will invest over the next few years 250 million Swiss francs in the development of new products, improved processes and digital customer touch points.
“Through digitalisation, we want to ensure our flexibility, which means shorten the time it takes to introduce product innovations”, says Thomas Kühne, CIO of die Mobiliar. “We also want to use cloud technology to increase scalability and reduce risk by providing business with secure and stable, high-performance and scalable IT systems and applications. And we also aim to increase our innovative strength: thanks to the cloud, we will be able to realize the workplace of the future, increasingly use Advanced Analytics for data-based decisions and incorporate artificial intelligence into products and services.” Thomas Kühne is convinced: “The use of cloud solutions is playing an increasingly important role. Not least thanks to these solutions, die Mobiliar will remain Switzerland’s most personal insurance for their customers in the cloud environment as well.”
After initially pursuing a hybrid cloud approach, die Mobiliar has now decided for a cloud strategy focusing on the Public Cloud. Thomas Kühne: “We rely on secure cloud solutions wherever it offers us entrepreneurial added value. In the public cloud, Microsoft is one of our Preferred Suppliers, particularly because of its ability to store data locally in the Microsoft Cloud Switzerland. As a Swiss insurer, it is our declared goal to store the data in the Swiss data centers whenever possible.”
The protection of data and information is an essential point for die Mobiliar – not only in terms of compliance with regulatory provisions affirms Thomas Kühne. “Employees, customers and partners of die Mobiliar are also entitled to their personal rights in electronic business transactions, which means to the protection of the confidentiality of their data and business secrets. Die Mobiliar wants to be a trustworthy, reliable partner in this respect as well. Microsoft’s high security standards enable us to use the cloud without a significant shift in risk.”
The implementation of a cloud strategy naturally brings many changes, both in IT and in business. These changes must be supported as broadly as possible within the company and must be understood and supported by the employees. In order to achieve this goal, die Mobiliar has defined a comprehensive program that also includes the aspects of change, communication and employee development.
The BKW Group, a Bern-based international energy and infrastructure company, plans, builds and operates energy production and supply infrastructures for companies, private individuals and the public sector and offers digital business models for renewable energies.
In the near future, three quarters of the resident population will live in urban regions, which will lead to new challenges for energy efficiency in buildings and to an accelerated expansion of energy, water, telecommunications and transport infrastructures. “Thanks to technologies such as Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain, the BKW Group intends to master these challenges and open up entirely new channels and business areas in the future”, says Markus Eberhard, Head of Digital Business at the BKW Group. “Microsoft’s cloud platform gives us secure access to these technologies.”
The cooperation with Microsoft, however, is also expected to work within the BKW Group, explains Markus Eberhard. “We also need to ensure that we develop digital collaboration in the steadily growing group and keep efficiency high. We also rely internally on the cloud offerings Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 and therefore value the Swiss datacenters, which will enable us to store our data in Switzerland securely and in compliance with the law.”
As drones are appearing in skies worldwide, Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider that guides some 1.3 million manned civil and military flights a year safely and efficiently through Europe’s most complex airspace, is faced with managing potentially millions of drones in its already crowded skies.
Partnering with AirMap, a global airspace intelligence platform for drones, Skyguide is deploying a national drone traffic management system for Switzerland. In a pilot that began in February 2019, Skyguide and AirMap are integrating the AirMap platform with Skyguide’s manned-aircraft management infrastructure to implement automated ﬂight authorizations in a single airspace environment.
Robert Fraefel, Head of Swiss U-space (European standard for the developing air traffic management system for drones) at Skyguide, says: “The air traffic control field needs to automate in the same way that piloting airplanes has been automated. In the air traffic control world, we still have people in the tower telling pilots what to do at every step. You can’t keep this model when you have millions of drones to monitor. We want to lead the way in using technology to manage these flights.”
With a cloud-based system, Skyguide can scale traffic management to millions of drones and support the growth of the drone ecosystem by simplifying integration into third-party drones and applications. Since drone regulations are still being established, Skyguide doesn’t know what the full requirements will be. Robert Fraefel explains: “Thanks to the Microsoft Cloud regions in Switzerland we are capable of storing sensitive data within the country, depending on customer requirements. Having Microsoft datacenters in Switzerland, Amsterdam, and other locations lets us future-proof our business.”
Swiss start-up Exploris Health, headquartered in Zurich, provides Artificial Intelligence based diagnostic and therapeutic lab tests, allowing higher precision, high accuracy of results that would otherwise only be achieved with much more sophisticated clinical procedures, as well as greater comfort and safety for patients. Their Cardio Explorer is an AI based Diagnostic test that timely detects patients with stenosis from coronary artery disease, the cause of heart attacks. Cardio Explorer has been developed together with Prof. Dr. Michael Zellweger, Head of Non-Invasive Cardiology at University hospital Basel and validated in three clinical studies in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands with more than 2,000 patients.
Exploris Health will use the Microsoft Cloud platform to scale the services and ensure privacy and security of patient data. Peter Ruff, founder and CEO of Exploris Health, says: “In health care, high requirements apply. Privacy and security of data is key for patients and doctor’s acceptance. Health regulation often rules local storage of patient data. With the local data storage of the Microsoft Cloud regions in Switzerland and other countries and the assets of Microsoft in the areas of security and privacy, we can fully meet these requirements. Furthermore, we are trusting the Microsoft Cloud platform to secure the high availability and efficient deployment of our e-health solutions.”
City of Zug
The city of Zug plans to deploy Office 365 from the Microsoft cloud. “The city administration of Zug wants to offer its employees a modern, flexible and secure working environment,” says Daniel Truttmann, CIO of the city administration of Zug, confirming the decision.
The Microsoft Cloud Region Switzerland guarantees that the data will be stored within the Swiss national borders, which is a central requirement for the city administration. “Thanks to the local data storage in the two Swiss data centers, we will be able to use the modern collaboration functions of Office 365 from the cloud, which will make the internal collaboration of employees easier and the operation of the infrastructure much more efficient.”