On February 16th Microsoft announced that it was the first major cloud provider to adopt the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy.

The new standard, known as ISO/IEC 27018, was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to establish a uniform, international approach to protecting privacy for personal data stored in the cloud. There are 5 key reasons why Microsoft’s adoption of this cloud privacy standard is important:

  1. You are in control of your data. Microsoft will act only on the instructions of its customers and will not process personally identifiable information without strict customer guidelines.
  2. You know what’s happening with your data. Microsoft will, at all times, keep you informed about the status of your data and provide 100% visibility of partners that are working with your data.
  3. Provide strong security protection for your data. Microsoft ensures that there are defined restrictions on how it handles personally identifiable information, including restrictions on its transmission over public networks, storage on transportable media, and proper processes for data recovery and restoration efforts.
  4. Your data won’t be used for advertising. This is simply a reaffirmation of Microsoft’s longstanding commitment not to use enterprise customer data for advertising purposes.
  5. We inform you about government access to data. The standard requires that law enforcement requests for disclosure of personally identifiable data must be disclosed to you as an enterprise customer, unless this disclosure is prohibited by law. Microsoft has already adhered to this approach.

Microsoft has made it a core ambition to be at the forefront of cloud data privacy and security. This was evident when in Arpil 2014, the European Union’s data protection authorities found that Microsoft’s enterprise cloud contracts meet the high standards of EU privacy law. Microsoft Azure became the first E.U. approved cloud platform.

For Big Red Cloud, it reaffirms our choice to select the Microsoft Azure platform to host our online accounting software. Fears over cloud security and how companies can access and use personally identifiable information are quite understandable. Microsoft, to its credit, is setting the standard by which all other cloud providers will be measured.

It’s true what Microsoft say, customers will only use services that they trust.