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Governments and organizations are focusing on digital transformation to fundamentally transform the way they operate and deliver services to their customers. Cloud adoption has increased tremendously in the last couple of years, also due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as they move to the cloud, organizations want to maintain the same level of control over their IT resources as they have in their data centers. Concerns about cloud sovereignty, which include data, operational, and technical issues, are not new and have been increasing because of rising geopolitical tensions, changing data and privacy laws in different countries, the dominant role of cloud players concentrated in a few regions, and the lessons learned through the pandemic. As a result, governments and organizations are reevaluating their external exposure and looking for ways to maintain physical and digital control over strategic assets.
To adhere to these concerns, Microsoft has released a new solution called Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty. This solution is aimed to meet compliance, security, and policy requirements that governments and organizations are facing. With the addition of Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, governments and organizations will have more control over their data, and it will increase the transparency of operations and governance processes of the cloud.Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty is designed to be a partner-led solution, where partners will play a vital role in delivering the solutions. One of Microsoft’s European Cloud principles is that Microsoft will provide cloud offerings that meet European government sovereign needs in partnership with local trusted technology providers. Also, Capgemini and Orange have been working closely together with Microsoft, and will start supporting clients in preparing for their migration by the end of 2022.With Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, Microsoft is focusing on the following pillars
Data residency is the requirement that data must be stored within a specific geographic boundary, such as a national boundary. Azure offers data residency for many services in over 35 countries with over 60 different data center regions worldwide (and growing). This enables residency options for Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365, where many clients can store and process their data locally. By implementing policies, clients can meet their regulatory requirements to store their applications and data in the required geographical boundary. For Europe, the forthcoming EU Data Boundary will ensure that data will be stored and processed in the EU and European Free Trade Association.
In addition to the specific regions and geographic boundaries where applications and data are stored and processed, Microsoft also offers a set of sovereign controls that provide additional layers to protect and encrypt sensitive data. These controls span the entire Microsoft cloud: SaaS offerings such as Power Platform, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365, as well as the cloud infrastructure and the PaaS services that are available in Azure.
The following offerings can be leveraged by clients for sovereign protection:
The Government Security Program (GSP) provides participants from over 45 countries and international organizations, represented by more than 90 different agencies, with the confidential security information and resources they need to trust Microsoft’s products and services. These participants have access to five globally distributed Transparency Centers, receive access to source code, and can engage on technical content about Microsoft’s products and services. Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty will expand GSP to increase cloud transparency, starting with key Azure infrastructure components.
In this article I wanted to focus on what Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty has to offer for clients who want to leverage the Microsoft cloud for their digital transformation journey, but also want to maintain the same level of control over their IT resources as they have in their own data centers. Cloud adoption has accelerated enormously in the last couple of years, which also makes cloud sovereignty much more important for governments and organizations. Microsoft offers the tools, processes, and transparency to partners and clients to support the increasing sovereignty requirements that clients have on their datival [SP1] [SP2] [SP3] transformation journey.
Due to these increasing sovereignty requirements, Capgemini has conducted research to look deeper into organizational awareness and key priorities when it comes to cloud sovereignty and the role it plays in overall cloud strategy. We have released a whitepaper with our findings, which can be downloaded here.
At Capgemini, we have a lot of experience in implementing cloud solutions across all industries. If you would like more information about how we do this for our clients, you can contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter.
You can also read my other articles here.
Head of Microsoft Cloud Center of Excellence
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