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UK's ministry of defence switches to cloud as Microsoft opens its first data centres

Cloud computing proves to be relatively cheaper than data servers as clients are charged for the data they use. Photograph: (Getty)

London, United Kingdom Sep 07, 2016, 09.27 AM (IST)
The ministry of defence in United Kingdom (UK) is moving its computing from secure millitary network that it used in the last decade to newly-launched data centres owned by the tech giant Microsoft, the Telegraph reported today. 

The announcement comes as Microsoft opens its data centres in London, Cardiff and Durham. The tech giant's first data centres in UK, its second biggest market for cloud-based software after the United States, are up and running as demand for data localisation spreads across Europe and around the world.  Microsoft is the first international company to build complete cloud data centres in the UK.  

"Right from the start I've felt that for defence the only appropriate place to have our data was here in the UK," Mike Stone, the MoD's chief digital and information officer told The Telegraph. 

"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."

Microsoft's Office 365 and Azure will allow customers' and citizens' information to be kept on the cloud and permit operations to be run over the internet. Security concerns have sparked fears as the MoD, which employs 230,000 people and spends more than $3 billion per year on technical infrastructure, moves away from its traditionally safe military computer network. 

Stone, however, said the software contains safeguard for data to protect individual documents. 

Other initial UK cloud customers include automaker Aston Martin, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the country's largest mental health agency, and Capita Plc, Britain’s largest business process outsourcing.

Meanwhile, cloud computing is more efficient and cheaper than using data servers because users are charged only for the data they use which can be modified on a short notice too. 

Local storage of data has grown more desirable as US technology companies have become dominant. 

Britain's vote to leave the European Union has also raised concerns over the status of data stored and processed in the UK.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)
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