I am pleased to share some important news regarding changes to our online services in Europe that will benefit you.
On 6 May, our President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith announced the establishment of the EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud, which will go beyond our existing data residency commitments. It will enable you to both process and store all of your data in the European Union. This commitment will apply across our main cloud services—Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365. We have begun the engineering work necessary to implement this new initiative and will complete that by the end of next year.
Let me draw your attention to three important points from our announcement:
• Today, our cloud services already comply with or exceed the requirements of EU data protection laws. We were the first major technology company to affirm our compliance with the GDPR. More recently, we responded to the European Data Protection Board’s draft recommendations following the Schrems II decision with our Defending Your Data initiative.
• We currently offer commercial and public sector customers the choice to have customer data stored in the EU, and many of our cloud services can already be configured to process data in the EU. We recognize nonetheless that some of our customers want even greater data residency commitments and more transparency, and we are responding to those needs.
• We will build these EU Data Boundary solutions into our main cloud services to enhance our current offerings for customers.
Building upon our already strong portfolio of solutions and commitments to protect customer data, we are taking this additional step to support the success of our European customers and as part of our commitment to Europe more generally. The EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud will be powered by our substantial and planned investments in an expansive European datacenter infrastructure spanning 13 European countries. In addition to those in EU Member States, customers in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein will also have access to the EU Data Boundary. These datacenters power cloud services that help our European customers realize their ambitions to achieve digital transformation and increase their competitiveness with the assurance that they can operate in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Today’s announcement is part of our pledge to make Tech Fit 4 Europe, a direct response to the EU’s vision for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age and an acknowledgement of the particular role the technology sector needs to play in helping Europe realize its digital aspirations. We believe our EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud is a significant additional step in that direction.
As indicated in our announcement, we will continue to consult with customers and regulators, as well as European governments, and move forward in a way that is responsive to their feedback. In that spirit, please let us know if you would be interested in learning more about this initiative.