It all stemmed from the recent events where customers had doubts regarding data security and data privacy, where governments were used to sniffing into Cloud data so Microsoft really wanted to step up in order to improve the trust and confidence of the customers into the Microsoft Cloud services so that they would ultimately be able to justify a purchase and a usage decision to their internal and external stakeholders.
The Trusted Cloud Initiative breaks down into four very important items. The first one is about cybersecurity. Cybersecurity has become critical over the last couple of years. It is not an IT issue anymore. It has come to the top of the concern for CEOs, for policy makers, for politicians because ultimately the health and the future of the businesses can be compromised, the security and stability of a country can be compromised. As such Cloud computing and cybersecurity are two components that really need to go very well together.
From a Microsoft perspective, the company is taking this extremely serious by looking into the encryption of all data that goes into the company's services, into the highest most physical and network security of all the data centres, at the best possible resilience of the services, be it through running multiple instances or geo-dispersed availability of data centres, and through 24 by 7 monitoring of the networks, machines and data centre operations.
Rüdiger Dorn wanted to highlight one significant investment Microsoft has made around the Digital Crimes Unit. It is a specific department that fights cybercrime. Microsoft has a specific group of people who will constantly look at the Internet to find out child exploitation and other digital crimes where they can collaborate with law enforcement agencies and governments around the world to actually bring those criminals down and get them into jail.
The Digital Crimes Unit is a partner to customers and to institutions like the European Union to share threat information and to share information on who may actually try to intrude Cloud systems, whether it is Microsoft Cloud or whether it's a private Cloud or whether it's any Cloud by any service provider, where there are some attack factors and where the company may gain additional knowledge about cybercriminals and develop a strategy about how to effectively battle against them.
Cloud computing is changing the position of Microsoft in that traditional vendor/buyer relationship into a much more strategic partner role where the company believes that it has to put an investment and it is committed to make that investment for the business success of its customers and the long-term success of the public sector entities it collaborates with. Microsoft sees itself as moving away from simply being a license provider into that strategic partner.
The other big component is of course that the company is obliged to deal with the other pillars of trusted Cloud which are data privacy - the work the company does with the article 29 working group in Europe, the work the company does with all the data protection authorities. It is about the compliance work, the certification work, where the company collaborates in ISO institutions where it support ISO 27018 as the next upcoming standard for data centre operations, for data privacy around Cloud computing, where the company really is committed to open standards and to certifications to help and accelerate Cloud adoption.
The second pillar of the Trusted Cloud Initiative is around privacy. This involves all the activities the company does to make sure that customer data in the Microsoft Cloud is kept confidential, is kept secure, and will not be handed over to any third party. It will not be tapped into by Microsoft for any market research, or any reuse. The company also collaborates with the data protection authorities, both on a national level, as well as on the European level.
For the article 29 working group, Microsoft ensures that it gets the recommendation acceptance and the trust by those entities, which it then can use and bring to its customers so that they can sign up to the company's Cloud services.
This would not be possible without certifications and compliance. Rüdiger Dorn really would like to call out the work the company has been doing around ISO 27018, the upcoming next ISO standard for data privacy and Cloud operations. Microsoft is part of the working group and is amongst the first Cloud providers worldwide that is really certified against this upcoming standard. Already, Microsoft customers can obtain an audit report where Microsoft actually assesses its own operations against the ISO standard to see if the company, already now, fully lives up to the upcoming ISO 27018 standard.
As part of this, this all, of course, leads into this whole area of interoperability: how do I get my data back out of the Cloud, how do I bring systems into a bigger environment where Microsoft is one part of. Rüdiger Dorn wanted to focus on a couple of key activities Microsoft has done over the last months and years, starting off with interoperability on platform level on Microsoft Azure.
You can bring your Linux machines into Azure, you can run Oracle on Microsoft Azure, you can run SAP on Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is working very hard with its partners as well as its competitors to make sure that there is interoperability of systems and that the company fully embraces all the developers that exist out in the market.
The open source community is a particular concern to Microsoft. Instead of ignoring them and then have to come back to them and convince them over to Microsoft, the company is now taking a very proactive, open approach by inviting them onto the company's platform, by collaborating with OpenStack and the other OpenStack components in order to build the best systems for the customers that may not only exist in an entire Microsoft stack but where customers can mix and match according to their specific IT strategy.
At the Microsoft Executive Briefing Centre in Brussels, the company can give demos, show the latest set of hardware, work on showcases with all the innovation that Microsoft brings to the market, and get into a more detailed conversation about Cloud security, privacy, interoperability, and all the other aspects that are really critical to successful Cloud adoption in the future.