In response to the collapse of the Safe Harbour Agreement of 2000 on 6th October 2015, and following meetings and conversations between EU and US regulators, Microsoft has announced it will invest $2 billion in infrastructure development across Europe. This is addition to confirming the completion of the latest phase of improvements to its existing data centres in Dublin and the Netherlands.
This new investment will enable Microsoft to provide secure commercial cloud services for its customers and address the sovereign issues of data transfer and compliance that the lapse of legal reference created by the scrapping of Safe Harbour created on 21st October 2015.
Once the new datacentres are up and running (planned to open late 2016), Microsoft will be able to replicate data within the UK for backup and recovery (vs the current failover of data going to the US from Europe). General Manager of Microsoft UK, Michael Van der Bel said, “This will help meet demand from those who want their could systems based in the UK and now they can meet the strict regulations of the banking, financial services and public sectors”.
It is good news for compliance within Europe, but the EU and US still need to work assiduously to thrash out a legal plan before the end of January 2016 when fines will kick in for non-compliance, to ensure that transatlantic business data can still traverse fluidly and securely across the Pond, avoiding nation fragmentation and an MSP administrative mess.