#CyberFLASH: Microsoft shifts Canadian cloud focus from data sovereignty to data security


For the past few years, Microsoft Corp. has sold Canadian enterprise customers on its ability to keep their cloud-based data in Canada.

Now it’s trying to sell them on its ability to keep their cloud data safe.

With Microsoft operating two new data centres on Canadian soil, data security is supplanting data sovereignty as the focal point of its ongoing push into the cloud market here.

At the Microsoft Canada Tech Summit event in Toronto on Thursday, the company repeatedly emphasized its focus on security during a series of presentations highlighting cloud offerings such as Azure, Outlook and Office 365.

“Security is not a bolt-on. We don’t necessarily sell security as a separate product. It’s built into Windows, it’s built into Office 365, it’s built into Azure and all our products,” Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s global corporate vice-president of cloud and enterprise, told reporters at a media round table after the event.

Microsoft opened its first Canadian data centres in Toronto and Quebec City earlier this year. The move was welcomed by Canadian enterprises in sectors like finance, government, and healthcare, which must keep customer data within Canada to comply with security and privacy regulations.

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#CyberFLASH: TPP moves toward killing off government-mandated data sovereignty

Internet-300x300Governments in Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, and Chile will be unable to force companies from those countries to store government data in local datacentres, the summaries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) released overnight have revealed.

Contained within the TPP’s electronic commerce chapter, governments will not only be prevented from mandating data sovereignty provision, they will also be unable to demand access to source code from companies incorporated in TPP territories.

“TPP parties commit to ensuring free flow of the global information and data that drive the internet and the digital economy, subject to legitimate public policy objectives, such as personal information protection,” the US TPP summary states.

“The 12 parties also agree not to require that TPP companies build datacenters to store data as a condition for operating in a TPP market, and, in addition, that source code of software is not required to be transferred or accessed.”

According to the Canadian summary, the chapter also prohibits member governments from discriminating against or imposing custom duties or other charges on online digital products.

Were Russia a party to the TPP, it would be unable to enact laws passed in July 2014 that required online companies to store the personal data of Russians within the country.

“Most Russians don’t want their data to leave Russia for the United States, where it can be hacked and given to criminals,” Russian MP Vadim Dengin was reported as saying at the time. “Our entire lives are stored over there.”

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