Microsoft announced that cloud customers will be able to limit the tech giant’s data processing and storage to the EU from January 2023.

The ‘EU data boundary’ will be deployed in phases across Microsoft’s primary cloud services, including Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power BI. Since the implementation of the GDPR in 2018, big tech has become increasingly concerned about the international flow of user data.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, is working on recommendations to safeguard the privacy of European customers whose data is sent to the United States. Microsoft has to tread carefully until those safeguards are in place.

Phased approach

“As we dived deeper into this project, we learned that we needed to be taken more phased approach”, Microsoft chief privacy officer Julie Brill told Reuters.

“The first phase will be customer data. As we move into the next phases, we will be moving logging data, service data and other kind of data into the boundary.” Brill stated that the second phase will be completed at the end of 2023. Phase three is expected to conclude in 2024.

Microsoft operates over a dozen datacenters across EU countries, including Switzerland, Spain, Germany, and France.

Cloud sovereignty

Companies collect more data than ever in extensive, widespread stores worldwide. Customers of cloud providers don’t always know where their data resides and whether the location complies with the GDPR.

Brill said that Microsoft is launching the solution to make the customers feel more confident and pinpoint where their data is processed and stored.

Microsoft has previously announced that it would challenge government requests for user data and financially compensate customers in the event that their data is shared.

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