The Microsoft Cloud in the UK opens today with Azure and Office 365 now generally available from multiple data centre locations in the UK. This cloud empowers the digital transformation of businesses and public sector organisations, helping them increase productivity while meeting compliance and policy requirements. Dynamics CRM Online will join the line-up in the first half of 2017.
The local offering brings world-class reliability and performance combined with data residency to government departments, regulated industries and other businesses alike. Built on Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud principles of security, privacy, compliance, transparency and availability, this creates new opportunities for innovation, with the intent to spark local economic growth for Microsoft UK’s 25,000-plus partners and support local technology advancement.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD), which employs around 250,000 people, will use Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure cloud services, with the Government citing value for money and security as key reasons for the agreement.
“Microsoft’s secure and transparent cloud service in the UK fits perfectly with the MoD’s digital transformation agenda,” said Mike Stone, Chief Digital and Information Officer at the MoD. “This agreement, which is based on Microsoft’s world-class reliability and performance, will allow us to deliver cost-effective, modern and flexible information capabilities. It will ensure we are better-placed in our ever-changing, digital-first world.”
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the country’s largest mental health trust, Aston Martin, Capita and Rosslyn Analytics have also agreed to use Microsoft’s UK data centres. They join thousands of other UK businesses and organisations — such as Glasgow City Council, Marks & Spencer, Confused.com, Natural Resources Wales, Pizza Hut Restaurants and Virgin Atlantic – already using Microsoft’s cloud services.
The Trust is aiming to use Microsoft’s products to support communication across its organisation – for example, with staff and services working in the community, including home visits, which require health specialists to work remotely.
Stephen Docherty, Chief Information Officer at the Trust, said: “We are excited to be a part of this data centre programme and greatly value Microsoft’s commitment to providing locally-based cloud services. Everything we do is to improve the lives of the people and communities we serve.
“Having the option to store data locally will allow us to take advantage of new opportunities to utilise the Microsoft UK Azure Platform and 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 bottom line is we trust Microsoft.”
Those benefits will be felt by small and large firms across the country, including Capita One and independent software vendors such as Careflow Connect Ltd.
“As developers of One Social Care, the next-generation IT solution for managing social services, Capita One is delighted to have been selected by Microsoft to partner with them in the launch of its first UK data centres,” said Mark Raeburn, Managing Director of Capita One. “Microsoft Azure’s cloud provides an innovative platform that will support us in delivering the tools that social workers need to improve the lives of children and families in the years ahead, and we are really excited to be part of this program.”
Dr Jon Shaw, Chief Executive of Careflow Connect, added: “Careflow is a secure, mobile communications tool, which connects clinicians and care professionals with patients. We’ve made considerable progress running our business on the existing Microsoft Azure infrastructure, however for many NHS Trusts, UK residency of patient data is a key consideration. Having access to Microsoft’s UK data centres will enable us to grow our business and build additional functionality to our service, benefitting the NHS and patients alike.”
The new cloud regions in the UK become part of one the world’s largest online storage infrastructures, supported by more than 100 data centres globally. These hold over 30 trillion pieces of data and are backed by billions of dollars in investment since 1989. With the new UK regions, customers receive the benefits of data residency and geo-redundant data replication in multiple data centres within the country for business continuity.
Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, said: “We’re delighted to see such growing demand for Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM Online from our new data centres in the UK. We’ve been part of the UK’s tech landscape for over 30 years and we’re proud of the way this country leads the world in embracing technology and new ideas.
“With our trusted cloud now delivered locally, and our commitment to principles of security, privacy, transparency, compliance, and availability, we are well placed to support the digital transformation of organisations throughout the country.”
Microsoft advocates extensively for data privacy in the technology industry, often being first to adopt new standards and frameworks such as the international standard for cloud privacy, ISO 27018. A testament to their efforts in this area, the company recently received a favourable ruling addressing the global application of US search warrants.
The company was also among the first to endorse, and is now compliant with, the new EU-US Privacy Shield – the framework to replace the Safe Harbor agreement – to ensure continued support of customer needs in an evolving privacy landscape.
For further information on Azure, visit https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/.
For more details on Office 365, go to https://products.office.com/en-gb/business/office.