On 7th September 2016, Microsoft was officially the first global public cloud provider to offer a complete and trusted cloud solution from data centres in the UK.
This was big news at the time, and immediately saw the adoption of these services by the likes of The Ministry of Defence, Aston Martin and an NHS trust. Ever since, typically risk-averse sectors, such as the legal industry, have found their footing in the Azure cloud.
Due to its continued success, Microsoft even doubled the size of its UK centres and increased capacity by 1,500 percent.
But what exactly are the benefits for your firm? Let's take a closer look.
What are the benefits of Azure UK data centres?
We understand - physically letting go of your data can be a hard pill to swallow. But, with the right cloud provider and data centre, you'll be in good hands.
To put your firm at ease, here are just some of the benefits of an Azure UK data centre:
1. A complete cloud solution
UK-based data centres allow native firms to not only host their web development and data in the UK with Microsoft Azure, but they’re also able to run the full suite of productivity apps in Microsoft 365.
From a technical perspective, this means they provide one of the most complete cloud solutions available. This allows your firm to benefit from a comprehensive, high-quality set of cloud-based business solutions.
2. Round-the-clock security
On top of data security tools, threat protection and continual security patches, Microsoft's UK data centres also boast physical security measures, including:
- Data centre access request and approval
- CCTV cameras, tall fences and around-the-clock security team
- Trained security officers on the door
- Metal detection screenings for everyone who enters and security scans for everyone who leaves
Microsoft realises that not every data security threat is online, hidden behind the screen. That's why they ensure the physical security of your data is a high priority, too.
3. Data protection and regulatory understanding
Microsoft encourages customers to control their data. They maintain that they will not disclose customer data hosted in the Microsoft Cloud to a government or law enforcement, except as directed to do so or where required by law.
One such example is where Microsoft, at their own request, was held in contempt of court for failing to comply with an order to give US authorities access to customer emails housed in a data centre in Dublin, Ireland. Quite simply, Microsoft is serious about security and data!
On top of this, Azure's UK data security offerings allow you to stay on top of important, legally-binding regulations, such as the GDPR. For organisations such as law firms, this is an essential piece of your data security puzzle. Some of the relevant policies and tools available are:
- Azure Data Subject Requests for the GDPR portal - your step-by-step guide to complying with the GDPR
- Azure Policy - which ensures real-time compliance across your Azure infrastructure
- Azure Security and Compliance GDPR blueprint - your framework for building applications that follow stringent GDPR best practices
- Azure Information Protection - a tool that scans your files for sensitive data and allows you to label, classify and protect it
You can read more about these services here.
4. 99.99 percent availability
Azure's UK data centres protect your software and hardware from failures much better than any on-premise team could. If your firm uses two Availability Zones in the same Azure region (we'll assume two of the UK regions), Microsoft guarantees a staggering 99.99 percent Virtual Machine availability rate.
Of course, this means that your firm's data is always available, and your applications are always on. No downtime, no delays, no client complaints.
A provider you can trust
Keeping your firm's data close to home is important.
Fortunately, Microsoft has two well established UK regions, referred to as UK South (London) and UK West (Cardiff).
Today, thousands of clients run on these UK-based data centres, utilising the power of the Microsoft cloud for everything from mission-critical, hyper-scale computing needs to experimental and cutting-edge projects. With 30 years' worth of investment in the UK, you can be sure that Microsoft services, security and applications will always be evolving.
Want to find out more about the Azure UK regions or how the Azure cloud could benefit your firm? Get in touch with our team of friendly experts.
[Editor's note: this blog has been updated as of September 2020 to provide you with more valuable content. Enjoy!]