The Microsoft Cloud in Switzerland continues to be very well received. Following the “early access” phase with a managed access process, the Microsoft Azure Cloud in Switzerland is now generally available to all organizations via the Switzerland North region.
“When we made the announcement for the Swiss cloud, the first calls came not from Swiss companies but from customers abroad,” Primo Amrein, Cloud Lead of Microsoft Switzerland, recalls. “Since we made the investment in Switzerland primarily because of feedback from our Swiss customers, we decided to give priority to companies and organizations in Switzerland in an initial phase. Now, a few months after the launch, we are going into normal operation and also welcome companies from abroad in our local datacenters.”
“We are very pleased with the great demand,” says Primo Amrein, “as it clearly shows that Switzerland is regarded internationally as a secure data port. The stable political and legal framework conditions and the high regard for security and privacy are certainly the most important reasons why a foreign company or organization would like to keep its data in Switzerland. In addition, Swiss data storage is also used by many companies as a marketing argument when addressing end customers.”
Roll-out of the cloud platforms proceeding according to plan
With Microsoft Azure Cloud launched end of August 2019 and Office 365 in December 2019, two out of the three announced Microsoft cloud platforms are already available in Switzerland. The third cloud platform, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, is anticipated to be available over the course of 2020.
The operation in the Zurich (Switzerland North) and Geneva (Switzerland West) regions is smooth and stable. As planned, further Azure Services will be continuously expanded over time in Switzerland. In addition to the already available data center certifications such as C5, SOC 2 Type II, SOC 3 and CSA Star, ISO 27001 and 27018 as well as the new international standard ISO/IEC 27701 Privacy Information Management System (PIMS) are also available now.
The Swiss cloud offers access to state-of-the-art technology…
As of today, several hundred large companies, SMEs and start-ups from all industries and public sector organizations use the Microsoft Azure Cloud in Switzerland.
Another large company from a regulated industry that is using the Microsoft Datacenters in Switzerland is the insurance company AXA Switzerland. “We are applying the fact that the business model of the insurance company will change completely”, says Andy Maier, CIO of AXA Switzerland. “Instead of just paying for claims, we want to become a partner for our customers.” The planned transformation will be driven by data, technology and innovation and will offer customers new additional services and tailor-made offers beyond the traditional insurance business. To this end, new platforms and ecosystems are to be established in the areas of health, pensions, mobility and SMEs. “By using cloud solutions, we are gaining agility, increasing the possibility for data analysis and strengthening our innovative power to build ecosystems and advance into new business areas.”
Security and availability of IT is an important topic for Andy Maier. “The professional automation of Hyperscalers increases security at infrastructure level compared to today’s often manual processes. Thanks to the geo-redundancy of the two data centers in Switzerland, Microsoft offers us a cloud infrastructure that has a significantly higher availability even in the event of failures than I have internally today. This is a step forward.”
…and also, for small and medium-sized companies
The fact that the Microsoft Cloud in Switzerland is not only used by large corporations is exemplified by Bio Partner Schweiz AG, a Swiss food service provider with a full range of organic products for the retail trade, catering and industry.
Philippe Pfiffner, ICT Director of Bio Partner, says: “Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure provides small and medium-sized companies with access to state-of-the-art technology. This supports us in our mission to shape the Swiss organic market in partnership with all stakeholders in the value chain – and in sustainable interaction with animals, nature and the soil.” The Cloud offers Bio Partner the flexible use of modern tools for communication and collaboration. Philippe Pfiffner is very pleased that Microsoft now also operates data centers in Switzerland: “Regionality is an important value for Bio Partner in its daily business. That’s why we appreciate the fact that Microsoft now also offers data centers in Switzerland. The low latency has a very positive effect on the user experience and thanks to local data storage, we always know exactly where our data is located. This is very important to us, especially in the cooperation with our customers and partners, which is based on trust, transparency and openness.”