One of the big speed bumps in Microsoft Azure adoption in Europe has been due to the strict EU Privacy Laws prohibiting the border jumping of customer data. This week, a new approval by the EU's 28 data protection authorities ensures that Microsoft Azure meets Europe's rigorous privacy standards. Specially, the approval highlights recognition for Microsoft's Enterprise Cloud service including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Windows Intune.
The approval also safeguards against EU's pending decision over the U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement. If the EU decides to suspend the agreement, Microsoft Azure services will continue uninterrupted. If you remember, in December 2013, Microsoft publicly scrutinized the Obama administration's handling of the NSA scandal, and threatened to go around it. The company immediately began planning and building Microsoft Azure datacenters worldwide. In February 2014, Microsoft opened Microsoft Azure services in Japan and then followed up the next month with a grand opening in China.
The Safe Harbor Agreement only covers data export between Europe and the U.S., but with datacenter development increasing outside U.S. borders, a suspension would be a moot point anyway. This latest EU approval ensures that Microsoft can continue building its Microsoft Azure business overseas despite a U.S. administration fat with distraction from scandal and compromise.
This also comes on the heels of a massive bug in open source secure communications which can lead to free reign to hackers over personal and private data transmitted over the Internet. Microsoft Azure, and related services, are not affected. Microsoft is the first, and so far the only, company to receive this type of approval by the EU. And, unless the secure communication layer is fixed, Microsoft may be the only company with the technical and organizational security measure aptitude to win approval for years to come.