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Microsoft will let EU organizations store and process data within the region

Microsoft Server Bath
Microsoft Server Bath (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will provide an option for organizations to process and store data within the EU.
  • Organizations can already store data in the EU, but this new option would keep data in the region while being processed.
  • The work required to provide the option should be completed by the end of this year.

Microsoft commercial and public sector customers in the European Union (EU) will soon be able to process and store data within the EU. Microsoft already complies with EU guidelines and provides an option for organizations to store data in the EU. The commitment announced today will add the option to have all data processed within the EU as well. As a result, customers won't have to worry about data leaving the EU at any point.

Due to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it's increasingly difficult for organizations to keep track of their data and to make sure that they are in compliance. Being able to elect to have all data stored within the region should make that process easier.

Microsoft President Brad Smith announced the change in a blog post (opens in new tab). Smith explains that Microsoft will consult with customers and regulators over the coming months to adjust to specific circumstances such as cybersecurity.

Microsoft will complete the engineering work needed to provide the new option by the end of next year. Once completed, organizations will have the option to have data from all core cloud services from Microsoft stored and processed within the region, including Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365.

In addition to the upcoming ability to process and store data in the EU, Microsoft is creating a Privacy Engineering Center of Excellence in Dublin. This center will help customers determine the right solutions for data protection and meeting regulatory requirements.

Microsoft has announced or currently operated data centers in 13 countries in Europe; Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

2 Comments
  • I'm an MS fan and glad they can capitalize on this, but the GDPR and this announcement comprise a perfect example of the kind of complex laws and regulations with which only massive companies with equally massive budgets can comply. Regulations almost always help the big guys by protecting them from the faster, nimbler startups who can't afford the accountants and lawyers needed to handle compliance issues. So they fail or never get started. Given a choice, always deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. It's the best way to ensure growth, rising wages, and a generally wealthier country.
  • Where the data is stored is irrelevant, generally speaking to something like the Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA). If Microsoft has control of said data than they will have to comply with legal process. In the case of FISA, the President through the AG can funnel all foreign intelligence from the overseas data locations as Microsoft is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. (see Title 50, Chapter 36)