When we think of some of our most basic human needs – security, health, for instance – we recognise the great deal of trust we place on those who provide these services for us. They, in turn, recognise the tremendous responsibility for continually earning that trust. Against this context, we were pleased that The Ministry of Defence and the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust would turn to us, and be among the first customers to adopt the Microsoft Cloud when we opened our UK data centres. With its launch on 7th September Microsoft was officially the first global cloud provider to offer a complete and trusted cloud solution from data centres in the UK. And while we’ve got off to a fast start, the momentum just keeps building.

The Complete Cloud

Not only do Microsoft’s data centres allow companies to host their web development and data in the UK with Microsoft Azure, they’re also able to run the full suite of productivity apps in Office 365.  Dynamics 365 becomes available through Microsoft’s UK data centres in the first half of 2017 to give customers access to intelligent business applications in the UK. This means that Microsoft offers not only the most complete cloud solution from a technical perspective, but also the most comprehensive set of cloud-based business solutions as well.

But it’s more than just the sheer number of cloud applications that make this a complete offering. What really makes this offering special is how well these applications work together: by bringing the familiar interfaces of Office apps into your CRM environment, or using machine learning to help manage your inbox, for instance. In order to support the diverse needs of our customers, we provide solutions on multiple operating systems. It’s this kind of completeness and interoperability that has helped us to be listed as leaders in six of Gartner’s cloud Magic Quadrants, more than any other vendor. In short, if data residency – where your data resides – is important to you, no cloud provider can offer you as much in the UK than Microsoft.

The Trusted Cloud

As Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella often states: “Businesses and users are going to use technology only if they can trust it.” It’s one of the reasons we’ve focused so relentlessly on earning and keeping the trust of our cloud customers.  There are four pillars on which we’ve built this trust: security, privacy, transparency and compliance.

Security – We’ve built security into the DNA of our cloud offering providing several layers of protection: data, application, host, network and physical; and with the availability of Azure Security Center we can help you prevent, detect, and respond to threats with increased visibility into and control over the security of your Azure resources.

Transparency – Microsoft provides visibility into our processes because we know for you to control your customer data in the cloud, you need to understand how that data is handled.

Privacy – Because Microsoft believes that customers should control their own data, we will not disclose customer data hosted in the Microsoft Cloud to a government or law enforcement except as you direct or where required by law.

Compliance – This is a particularly important pillar when it comes to UK data residency. We’ve been an industry leader in conforming to the government’s 14 Cloud Security Principles. Microsoft was also the first cloud service provider to adopt the uniform international code of practice for cloud privacy and data protection, ISO/IEC 27018, which provides guidelines for protection of personally identifiable information. In addition, Microsoft Azure meets PCI DSS requirements as a Level 1 Service Provider. While these certificates may not mean that much to you, if you ask your Chief Security Officer, you can bet that it’s a big deal to them.

Customer Adoption

Since our launch, we’ve had thousands of clients move to our UK-based data centres, utilising the power of the Microsoft cloud for everything from mission-critical, hyper-scale computing needs to experimental and cutting-edge projects. Here are just a couple recent client examples:

The Metropolitan Police will be using Azure to help manage the data created from the body-worn video (BWV) solution being rolled out to 22,000 Met officers across London’s 32 boroughs including several frontline specialist roles.

Capita Childcare Services, who announced their soon-to-launch next-generation Social Care system providing experiences that match modern user expectations is leveraging our UK data centres for agility, security, scale, and reduced IT burden for customers.

With such increases in customer adoption, we’re also seeing customers taking advantage of a host of new service offerings. This includes the aforementioned Azure Security Center, as well as Service Fabric, a distributed systems platform that makes it easy to package, deploy, and manage scalable and reliable microservices. Additionally, Azure ExpressRoute and PSN / N3 Connectivity enables private connections between Azure data centres and customer infrastructure. We’re also making Azure Marketplace – the online store for thousands of certified, open source, and community software applications, developer services, and data – available through the UK data centres. Pre-configured for Microsoft Azure and deployable in country, it allows customers to download, deploy, and get more done.

With over 100 data centres in 40 countries around the globe, our customers can build momentum for their own hyper-scale cloud initiatives with nearly limitless storage and computing power.

Find out more about UK Data Residency and the UK Data Centres

If you want to see how the UK Data Centres can accelerate your organisation’s journey to a secure and trusted cloud, you can sign up and deploy your first Azure solution in under five minutes. Create your free Azure account today – you get an Azure account, plus a £125 credit to spend on Azure services for 30 days. You can use this £125 credit to try out any combination of Azure services, exploring our cloud for free (see www.azure.com for details). If you’re interested in running a Proof of Concept on the services above, as well as any of our other available services, please contact your Microsoft account manager to find out more.

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