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Microsoft Azure in focus
Microsoft Azure in focus
Time icon12 March 2015, 11:20 am
Although Microsoft Azure is not the cheapest cloud service available right now, for small businesses it is undoubtedly one of the best around. It’s an extremely slick and multifaceted system, yet for people who have previous experience of Windows software, it’s a breeze to set up and use. Azure comes complete with its own install wizard and runs in conjunction with other Microsoft services like web hosting. Better still there’s no third party involvement, all information is stored in the company’s own managed data centres. Lately, Azure has undergone a revamp and Microsoft has introduced many new, innovative security enhancements.

The protection of personal data is always going to be a hot issue in relation to virtual security. Customers often have concerns over who has access to it, where it is located and how it is stored. However, in a move which will instil confidence in their clients, Microsoft has become the first cloud hosting company to meet an internationally prescribed standard on how providers should manage their privacy controls. The standard is set out by the International Organization for Standardization in ISO/IEC 27018 and refers mainly to PII, or personally identifiable information. This is particularly relevant for businesses because under the Data Protection Act, every organisation is legally obliged to safeguard the personal information they hold on both clients and staff.

To meet the standard, Microsoft Azure has adopted five new working practices. Firstly, they will not share customer’s data with third parties unless the customer gives their consent. Second, customers retain control of the way in which their data is used. Third, Microsoft will be open about the location of data. Fourth, they will keep concise records in case of a security issue and also notify the customer immediately. And finally, Microsoft Azure has agreed to an annual independent audit to ensure they are fully conforming to ISO/IEC 27018.