The Stack Archive

Microsoft takes action on Canadian data sovereignty concerns

Wed 3 Jun 2015


Microsoft’s cloud offerings are set to become a local service for local people – at least in Canada. Redmond has announced plans to serve out its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM products from data centres in Toronto and Quebec, beginning sometime in 2016.

Microsoft’s Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said in the statement “Soon, the Microsoft Cloud will be truly Canadian,” Turner had travelled to Toronto to announce the news, and continued “This substantial investment in a Canadian cloud demonstrates how committed we are to bringing even more opportunity to Canadian businesses and government organizations, helping them fully realize the cost savings and flexibility of the cloud,”

The first of the Canada-resident cloud services to go online will be Azure in early 2016, with Dynamics CRM and Office 365 following later in the year.

The report cites examples of enthusiasm from numerous business concerns in Canada, including one from David MacLaren, the President/CEO of MediaValet, a Digital Asset Management provider which numbers among Microsoft’s 80,000+ cloud customers. “Since launching the first version of MediaValet in late 2010,” says MacLaren “we’ve had opportunities to work with healthcare, government and higher education organizations in Canada, but have been hampered by their rigorous data compliance needs…Microsoft’s investment in a Canadian cloud will open up doors to significant sectors of the Canadian market and help us grow our market share on home soil,”

The report estimates a 45 per cent increase in Canada’s public cloud infrastructure by 2016, and cites an IDC report forecasting a rise in total cloud spend to $2.5bn (£1.3bn) in the same time-frame.

Canada joins Germany as one of the countries most interested in data sovereignty, not least because of previous controversies about access that the United States might be seen to ‘automatically’ possess over Canada due to the inevitable cross-fertilisation of businesses between the adjacent nations, and the once-sweeping powers of the Patriot Act.

British Columbia has the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), which monitors and regulates access to the records of public bodies, and establishes frameworks for privacy controls in the region. Nova Scotia has the Personal Information International Protection Act (PIIDPA). Like FOIPPA, PIIDPA requires that data be held in Canada-based servers, and additionally requires that the acting minister for the agreement be made aware of any foreign disclosure requests that take place within the province. It also forbids the storing of data which falls under its purview on mobile devices.


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