Technology Record - Issue 31: Winter 2023

42 COVER STORY Microsoft Azure is already compliant with GDPR to protect the privacy of data, governments and businesses want to go beyond this to ensure they can meet national security requirements too. Accenture’s Sovereign Cloud Comes of Age in Europe report found that an increasing number of enterprises are prioritising cloud sovereignty by 2024, especially in sectors such as travel and hospitality, where 98 per cent of firms have already started developing their sovereignty strategies or are planning to by the end of 2023. In addition, 90 per cent of organisations in consumer goods and services and 85 per cent of those in public services are also doing the same. “Many organisations want to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud while also managing their data in accordance with local policies and regulatory requirements,” says Kathleen Mitford, corporate vice president of global industry marketing at Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we believe in transparency and in empowering governments to be in control of their data, so we view data sovereignty as a critical aspect of our cloud infrastructure strategy. This provides a secure avenue for modernising technology infrastructure and workflows to transform services and create better opportunities for social and economic growth.” Corporate and public sector organisations are keen to leverage the latest technological innovations like artificial intelligence, digital identities and online services, but first they need to determine where their data should reside and how best to protect it. Microsoft is helping customers to do this. “Microsoft has a strong track record in data sovereignty and compliance,” says Satish Thomas, corporate vice president of Microsoft Industry Clouds. “We help our customers meet over 100 national, regional and industry-specific requirements, providing a foundation for compliance. In July 2022, Microsoft announced Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, a new solution that enables governments to deploy workloads in Microsoft Cloud while helping to meet their specific sovereignty, compliance, security and policy requirements. The solution creates software boundaries by using hardware-based confidentiality and encryption controls in the cloud to establish the extra protection governments require.” Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty became generally available in December 2023. There is a growing number of countries that are introducing data protection and sovereignty laws. The Accenture report found that 137 countries have enacted some form of data protection and sovereignty laws. Europe, in particular, has been driving the digital sovereignty agenda with 84 per cent of surveyed organisations saying that EU regulations have had a moderate-tolarge impact on the way they handle data. Microsoft’s solution will help businesses to comply with these regulations. “The capabilities of the Microsoft Cloud already deliver on the requirements, regulations and standards of most government organisations, but the additional capabilities we’re providing with Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty are designed specifically for countries with jurisdictional requirements around sensitive data,” explains Thomas. Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty also offers governmental organisations the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by moving “ We help our customers meet over 100 national, regional and industry-specific requirements, providing a foundation for compliance” SATISH THOMAS, MICROSOFT