Nowadays, when so much of life exists as ones and zeros zipping around computer networks, the importance of data security and privacy protection cannot be overstated. While the United States lacks omnibus regulations to cover all areas of data security, the European Union has taken pains to at least coordinate its 28 data protection authorities. As of April 9, this group has approved Microsoft’s cloud solutions. 

Microsoft’s enterprise cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Windows Intune, have been recognized as meeting the requirements of the EU’s model clauses. This means that the data stored in the company’s cloud meets Europe’s privacy standards – no matter where the data is physically located.

According to Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs Brad Smith, this recognition provides three key benefits. First of all, it means that, should the EU suspend its Safe Harbor Agreement with the U.S., Microsoft customers will not face a service interruption. Second, Microsoft’s contracts with enterprise customers will now enable global transfers. And third, it demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to comply both technically and operationally with privacy laws and regulations.

“Predicting the future is hard. But looking forward, we expect both governments and customers to demand greater transparency and control over how customer content and personal data are protected and where they are stored,” Smith said in a blog post.  “While we join others in our industry in calling for governments to respect the free flow of information, we also believe in putting our customers’ needs first. That’s why we previously announced our commitment around implementing encryption and enabling enterprise customers to store their content in existing data centers in their region.”


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