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Microsoft partners with BT for private Azure links

The contents of smartphones are increasingly stored in the cloud

As security and data privacy continue to hold CIOs back from dabbling with cloud services BT and Microsoft announced a partnership Friday that will see the former provide private links for the latter’s Azure public cloud service. The move comes the same day Verizon announced a dark fibre service linking its public cloud platforms with Microsoft’s, with plans to support other platforms in the near future.

BT said will be teaming up with Microsoft to provide VPN access to Azure, which it said would provide more secure and more resilient connectivity to the public cloud platform.

“The extra security factor comes from the fact that ExpressRoute to Azure bypasses the public internet as it’s based on BT’s IP Connect VPN service which is already available in 198 countries,” said Neil Sutton, vice president, global portfolio at BT Global Services.

“This integrates the infrastructure directly with your wide area networks (WAN). It’ll give you quicker, more predictable performance and enhanced security — by avoiding the public internet, risk is reduced and performance enhanced,” he added.

The service is expected to go live from its Dublin and Amsterdam datacentres this summer, followed by connections in Hong Kong and Singapore at a later date.

Microsoft has been keen to promote its privacy-enhancing activities as of late, having recently revised its customer privacy policy in the wake of a court case that put the software giant on the spot for snooping on Hotmail users’ emails.

Additionally, late last week Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs Brad Smith made a splash about how the company is the first to have its cloud services agreements and contracts conform to the impending EU data protection regulations voted upon earlier this year.

BT and Microsoft’s shift to embracing private links between public cloud services in a bid to make these platforms more secure is catching on. Late last week Verizon announced the launch of its Secure Cloud Interconnect service, which uses dark fibre to link its cloud platform to Azure.

The company said dark fibre will help inspire more confidence in cloud platforms.

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