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Microsoft Invests out of Safe Harbour Wrangle but It Doesn’t Change the Right-sized Partner Rationale for Smaller Enterprises

Data Privacy Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour renegotiation by the end of January

Following the EU ruling that rendered the Safe Harbour agreement invalid last October 2015, in November Sataya Nadella (the current wearer of Bill Gates’ big Microsoft CEO shoes), announced investment in UK data centres as part of a $2bn European cloud infrastructure development plan.

The Safe Harbour agreement, which lets American companies use a single standard for consumer privacy and data storage in both the US and Europe, is due to end renegotiation by the end of January. The original court case that has rumbled on since late 2013 where Microsoft opposed US government access to data on EU citizens held in a data centre in Ireland may create further problems though, and the investment by Microsoft was clearly a move to protect its UK business.

Investment may not end US Government’s access to UK stored data

Despite this move, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft could defend an access request to UK stored data about UK companies and individuals. This is because the whole issue revolves around the fact that the US Government claims the right to request access to data held by any US registered company, regardless of the geographical location of the data or the companies/individuals to which the data relates.

When it comes to service, larger organisations are often inflexible and may offer smaller companies a raw deal. For small and medium sized companies, the principle of right-sizing is an essential consideration when selecting service partners. Right-sizing means it’s better to be a valued customer of a smaller service provider than a small customer of a larger one.

While such uncertainty still clouds the Safe Harbour debate, it seems likely that the best policy for small to medium sized UK registered businesses that want certainty over data sovereignty issues is to select a right-sized UK registered service provider that only stores data in ISO accredited UK data centres.

Be certain about sovereignty with HTL Support

HTL Support is a UK registered, owned and managed business and only stores data in UK ISO accredited data centres. The sites are secured in compliance with ISO27001, meeting the regulatory requirements which may apply to UK financial services and other professional services sector firms.

HTL Support's Serviced Cloud solutions provide certainty for UK firms that want to make sure they are on a solid legal footing when it comes to privacy and data sovereignty. With HTL Support UK/EU laws always apply.

To find out more about our first-class cloud solutions, simply get in touch today.

Click here to see the article ‘Microsoft back in court over US access to Irish servers - 'could have impact' on Safe Harbour talks, says firm’ at

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