Data snooping by the US government has always been a major concern for most tech conglomerates but Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) may have found a way to turn things around to its favor. The Redmond tech giant just opened its two newest data centers – located in Magdeburg and Frankfurt – to make it harder for the authorities demand access to customer data.
In an announcement, Microsoft promises to provide a “comprehensive set of cloud computing solutions providing customers with the ability to transition to the cloud on their terms through services available today.”
The Microsoft German Cloud is unlike the company’s traditional data centers. It will be managed by data trustee T-Systems International, which is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. According to the tech giant’s vice president Takeshi Numoto, the data centers are the first of its kind.
Microsoft’s choosing of Germany as the site for its newest data centers was no accident. The country is notorious for its strict data privacy and sovereignty laws. As stipulated in the German law, no other country can demand access to customer data; it will stay in the country. This could be the reason why more and more cloud computing services are opening shop in Germany, which is also one of the EU’s largest economy. To ensure security, the data exchange will be done through a private network so it remains in Germany.
Due to the strictness of the country’s data access laws, even Microsoft is unable to access consumer data at its data sites without securing permission from its customers or data trustee. And even if permission is granted, it can only access data while being supervised.
In the past, the US government had the authority to demand access to customer data even if the data center was not located on US soil.
Microsoft’s newest data project may help ease pressure to give in to such demands and at the same time, offer new opportunities to its partners. The company assured that it is adhering to the local laws and regulations. Microsoft also said it would give customers more choices in terms of how their data will be processed.
Of course, such move is hardly new.
Amazon.com, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Web Services were the first to take advantage of Germany’s strict consumer access laws when the company unveiled its data centers two years ago in Frankfurt. All the largest cloud computing service providers are now building data centers in various parts of the world, including Google-parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL).
According to Dr. Sebastian Saxe, CIO at Hamburg Port Authority, Microsoft Cloud Germany utilizes a cloud solution that meets the country’s compliance restriction while allowing for the use of innovative applications to improve data processes.
The Microsoft Cloud Germany aims to satisfy the growing demand for the company’s cloud services across Europe. In the announcement, the software giant noted that the EU and European free trade area customers may continue to use its cloud options or opt to use services from its German data centers.