IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Microsoft's EU Data Boundary will begin staggered rollout in January 2023

Public sector and commercial customers will be the first to benefit when the rollout begins on 1 January across all of Microsoft's core services

Microsoft has announced the staggered rollout of its long-awaited EU Data Boundary solution will begin in January 2023.

The solution is expected to roll out first to public sector and commercial customers and aims to allow businesses to store and process their customer's data within the European Union (EU).

First announced last year, the data boundary builds on Microsoft’s existing EU data storage commitments. The data residency solution means that customer data will only be processed and accessed from the jurisdiction in which it originates. 

Microsoft said this was developed using extensive customer feedback over the last 18 months. Engineering work to support the implementation of the solution began shortly after the announcement in May 2021. 

When introduced on 1 January, the change will apply to all core services, including Azure, Microsoft 365, Power BI, and Dynamics 365.  

“Beginning on 1 January 2023, Microsoft will offer customers the ability to store and process their customer data within the EU Data Boundary for Microsoft 365, Azure, Power Platform, and Dynamics 365,” the company said in a statement.  

“With this release, Microsoft expands on local storage and processing commitments, greatly reducing data flows out of Europe, and building on our industry-leading data residency solutions.” 

In later phases of its rollout, Microsoft also outlined plans to expand the solution to include the storage and processing of “additional categories of personal data”, including data provided when receiving technical support.  

Related Resource

An end-to-end roadmap for SMB cloud migration

Future-proofing transformation

Whitepaper cover with title and colourful circular shapesFree Download

At present, Microsoft provides cloud services to customers in nearly every country in the world. In Europe specifically, the company has opened – and is currently building – data centres in 17 data centre regions. The tech giant plans to build nine new additional regions in the coming years.  

The rollout of the EU data boundary solution aims to support the regulatory requirements of customers across the EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and follows long-running concerns over the flow of customer data across international boundaries. 

Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer told Reuters the data boundary solution will “make our customers feel more confident” and enable them to have “clear conversations with regulators on where their data is being processed as well as stored”. 

International data flows 

Since the introduction of the GDPR in 2018, businesses globally have become increasingly concerned about the legality of international data flows, and operating across a wide variety of regulatory frameworks has presented challenges with regard to compliance.  

The European Commission has been vocal in its intent to enforce regulatory requirements and is currently developing proposals to protect European user data during transferrals to the United States.  

Similarly, in May 2021 the EU's data protection supervisor (EDPS) authority launched a probe into the European Commission’s use of Microsoft 365 products amid concerns over GDPR compliance.  

Mike Kiersey, EMEA head of sales engineering at Boomi, told IT Pro that ensuring the seamless flow of data is critical to business operations globally. As such, support for organisations to ensure compliance is a welcomed move.  

“Data movement is happening more often in real-time and it has become crucial to successful business operations,” he said. “Therefore, the ability to have iniquitous access to data at speed is key for providers.” 

Caroline Carruthers, CEO and co-founder at data consultancy Carruthers and Jackson, warned that the introduction of the EU data boundary “fundamentally makes data flow less efficient” and will not fully prevent personal information from being accessed in different jurisdictions.

“Data does not respect geography, and attempting to ringfence it will never give 100% protection to customers,” she said.

“Putting up data boundaries and restricting free flow of data is a regressive step for wider data transformation. Instead of trying to pull up the castle moat on European data, governments and multinationals should be pushing for global data standards to ensure enhanced security does not stifle data innovation.“

Microsoft said its cloud services “already comply with or exceed EU requirements”, adding that the introduction of the new data boundary will provide future benefits for the public sector and commercial customers operating within the EU and EFTA, helping them to remain compliant.  

In addition, as part of the rollout, the tech giant revealed plans to publish new data flow documentation to provide “transparent data insights” for customers whose services will be included in the boundary.  

Featured Resources

What 2023 will mean for the industry

What do most IT decision makers really think will be the important trends and challenges in the coming year?

Free Download

2022 Magic quadrant for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM is evolving into a security platform with multiple features and deployment models

Free Download

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide unified endpoint management services

2022 vendor assessment

Free Download

Magic quadrant for application performance monitoring and observability

Enabling continuous updating of diverse & dynamic application environments

View Now

Recommended

What’s behind the wave of big tech layoffs in 2023?
Business strategy

What’s behind the wave of big tech layoffs in 2023?

26 Jan 2023
Turning back the clock on hybrid work is a huge mistake
flexible working

Turning back the clock on hybrid work is a huge mistake

25 Jan 2023
Microsoft cloud revenue still sky-high as device sales continue to slide
Cloud

Microsoft cloud revenue still sky-high as device sales continue to slide

25 Jan 2023
Cloud growth experiencing ‘slowdown’ amid rising economic disruption
Cloud

Cloud growth experiencing ‘slowdown’ amid rising economic disruption

24 Jan 2023

Most Popular

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria
data breaches

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria

26 Jan 2023
GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks
vulnerability

GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks

23 Jan 2023
European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it
Sponsored

European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it

17 Jan 2023