- Microsoft is progressing toward a public preview and full deployment of its Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty solution this year, according to Corey Sanders, CVP of Microsoft Cloud for Industry.
- The industry cloud solution for governments and public-sector organizations has been through two rounds of private previews to test and fine-tune its capabilities since its announcement last summer, the company said in a Tuesday blog post.
- As the cloud market matures, new fronts have opened in the battle for market share between Microsoft and the other two hyperscalers, AWS and Google Cloud. Industry verticals promise to unlock yet untapped demand for infrastructure and services by addressing sector-specific regulatory, security and operational challenges.
Competition for government contracts is not new to cloud, but it has become more heated as technology needs evolve.
After the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Microsoft a $10-billion contract to provide cloud services to U.S. military in 2019, Amazon raised a legal challenge, forcing a review by the Inspector General.
DOD announced a resolution in December, overturning its original decision and clearing a path for AWS, Google, Microsoft and Oracle to compete for individual cloud projects totaling $9 billion.
Digital sovereignty — the ability to control data and other IT assets — is a baseline for government agencies, both domestically and abroad. To meet that need, Microsoft introduced sovereign landing zones in the cloud, providing end-to-end control and introduced stronger encryption, Sanders told CIO Dive.
Tightening security, privacy and access features went hand-in-hand with a parallel move to build trust through transparency and clearer data policies.
The company committed to a policy of restricting encryption key access and regulatory compliance in the Monday announcement.
The company is focused on sharing its principles with customers, “which I think in the past we haven't been as clear on as we need to be,” Sanders said.
The public sector is just one area of focus for Microsoft’s industry cloud division, which is building platform solutions for financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail businesses as well.
The lessons the company has learned about technology and trust are transferable to other industry verticals, according to Sanders.
“All of the industry scenarios end up having very similar patterns with different specific solutions,” Sanders said. Data privacy controls and transparency, for example, are features that just about every industry will welcome.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect Microsoft released the news on Tuesday.