Microsoft launches Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, a new public cloud service for public sector customers. The tech giant targets European governments that face strict regulations.
“We do expect customers around the world … but the first few customers have been in Europe”, Microsoft VP Corey Sanders shared in an interview. The tech giant is currently providing private previews to potential customers.
The service is all-encompassing. Customers receive cloud capacity, apps, consultancy, integrations and support. Compliance is the common thread. Each workload must adhere to local laws. Microsoft connects customers to local suppliers, engineer, and privacy advisors to arrange compliant public cloud servers and apps.
The announcement includes a long list of existing security measures and encryption options. None of the tech is new. Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty revolves around service. The tech giant wants to link customers to local partners, including Arvato, Capgemini, Minsait, Orange, SAP and Telefonica.
The European Union is a forerunner of privacy and security legislation. The supervision of European agencies and member states is increasing. The demand for compliance grows correspondingly.
At the same time, Microsoft is under pressure. The organization was sued by Nextcloud earlier this year for abuse of power on the European market. Microsoft customers were investigated on behalf of the European Commission last April. Antitrust investigations can lead to fines of hundreds of millions of euros.
In May, the tech giant responded to the allegations with a statement from Microsoft VP Brad Smith. In addition to several licensing changes, the organization promised to adapt its cloud services to European legislation. “We will ensure our cloud offerings meet European governments’ sovereign needs, in partnership with local trusted tech providers”, the organization said.
In that respect, Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty is a demonstration. The tech giant wants to show that its cloud offering meets the EU’s toughest requirements. The first local partners are Belgian operator Proximus and Italian defence company Leonardo.
Time will tell whether Microsoft lives up to its promises. The first potential customers are unknown. The service’s scale indicates we may be years away from the first tangible projects.