The Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently announced that they will be moving their secure military grade computing and database operation onto Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure. The migration comes after more than a decade of the MoD using legacy internal servers coupled with software supplied by Microsoft. The MoD moving forward will be using Microsoft’s Office 365 suite and Azure for their computing needs.
The decision for migration comes as Microsoft announces the opening of their first UK based datacentres in England and Wales. These enormous data warehouses will play host to the MoD’s online computing services, allowing admittance to users, from business and government bodies with restricted privileges to access sensitive data at a click of a button; whilst abiding by UK legislation of holding customer and citizen information within the country of origin.
Now that cloud computing and big data are here, it’s made a large impact on the way that businesses operate. Cloud computing is cheaper for organisations, safer, faster and more efficient than the traditional on premise private servers that most companies deploy. The problem, up until now was the restrictions on the geo-locations of the data being stored on the cloud. Organisations had no choice in the matter as UK based cloud options were not available; they would have had to transfer their data out of the UK. For organisations like the MoD or the NHS, this would have been impossible due to legislation and sensitive information issues.
Mike Stone, Chief Digital and Information Office at the Ministry of Defence said, "Right from the start I've felt that for defence the only appropriate place to have our data was here in the UK. Technically our data could be held anywhere in the European economic area, but I wouldn't ever want to be in a position where we had data being held elsewhere and this coming under scrutiny."
A big fear here would be the concern of security. The MoD has always been part of the secure military computer network along with the rest of the UK’s armed forces. However, as they are Government organisation, the MoD takes security issues very seriously and are certain that Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 offers a high enough data security management feature that will protect all of their sensitive data. "There are some very interesting security benefits that come with it," said Stone.
Microsoft controls over one hundred datacentres around the world and is the first out of the big cloud service providers to offer a UK based solution to its clients (To learn more about UK based data centres, read our blog ‘Data centres coming to a town near you’). They also host European datacentres, however due to the economic issues such as Brexit their UK based cloud offering will become more and more popular with organisations located within Britain.
UK based datacentres open up a world of cloud computing to many organisations who otherwise had no plans of moving to the cloud. The Ministry of Defence are one of the first large scale, secure network organisations to migrate to the cloud, and they will not be the last. If you’re an organisation who has been thinking of taking the next step into the cloud but not been able to, now is the time!