Microsoft has had plenty of disagreements with European regulators in the past, but today it has some good news: The organizations that oversee privacy protection laws in all 28 EU countries have given their approval to Microsoft’s enterprise cloud computing services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Windows Intune. Notably, Microsoft is the first cloud services provider to obtain such approval.
The decision will mean that European data can be stored in Microsoft servers located anywhere in the world, not just in the EU. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith explained, “By acknowledging that Microsoft’s contractual commitments meet the requirements of the EU’s ‘model clauses,’ Europe’s privacy regulators have said, in effect, that personal data stored in Microsoft’s enterprise cloud is subject to Europe’s rigorous privacy standards no matter where that data is located. This is especially significant given that Europe’s Data Protection Directive sets such a high bar for privacy protection.”