Microsoft is opening new data centers in Canada to keep control of your privacy

microsoft is opening new data centers in canada to keep control of you privacy center
BalticServer/Wikimedia Commons
Microsoft is opening two new data centers north of the border in Canada as part of its growing network of data centers outside of the US. It plans to launch new data centers in Toronto, ON and Quebec City, QC in 2016. The new facilities will deliver Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online services. According to Microsoft’s announcement, the local data centers will “address data residency considerations” for its customers.

Opening the new centers “opens up significant new cloud-based possibilities for organizations who must adhere to strict data storage compliance codes,” it adds.

Privacy and US surveillance concerns have partly driven more businesses to act on locating data centers internationally. Reducing latency is another key motivator. Microsoft and others are leveraging these concerns to make their “in-country” services much more attractive, says Keith Groom, director of Microsoft solutions at Softchoice, Canada’s largest Microsoft licensing and Office 365 provider.

According to The Globe and Mail, the new data centers will “host sensitive government data, including records about citizens or government programs,” with Microsoft having been in talks with the Canadian government for several years. “There’s no technical reason to do it, this is for the government,” said Janet Ms. Kennedy, president of Microsoft Canada.

One area that this might be of particular interest to the government is tax filings, where this sensitive data can be stored on Canadian soil without ever moving to another country’s server and potentially putting the data at risk.

“Microsoft’s move into Canada and its exploration of the European market is a clear sign of Microsoft trying to get closer to its customers and remove the barriers associated with storing data far from home,” says Groom.

Microsoft’s Canada announcement is just the latest in a string of moves by US tech companies, big and small, to move into new countries with their data centers, particularly in Europe.

Recently, Microsoft applied for planning permission in Dublin, Ireland to build its second data center there while its first Irish data center is currently embroiled in legal wrangling with the US over requested emails on an Irish server. Both Apple and Facebook are planning data centers in the country as well and Equinix recently acquired UK-based data center operator Telecity.

Despite moving into new countries with their services and away from US laws, companies like Microsoft will still have local laws to contend with. In Canada, one particular concern is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA. “The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to every public or private organization that collects, uses or discloses personal information for commercial activities,” explains Groom. “So once an organization collects data, that the organization is now fully accountable and responsible for the protection of said data.”

That will, and has played, a huge part in which cloud provider businesses and organizations choose.


Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Passenger spacecraft, Facebook data breach, and more

This episode of Digital Trends Live saw the fourth launch of passenger spacecraft SpaceShipTwo, and a Facebook data breach. We were also joined by the founder of Forter, Michael Reitblat, to discuss how to keep your data safe.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.

Windows 10 user activity logs are sent to Microsoft despite users opting out

Windows 10 Privacy settings may not be enough to stop PCs from releasing user activity data to Microsoft. Users discovered that opting out of having their data sent to Microsoft does little to prevent it from being released.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Product Review

The Asus ZenBook 14 is a tiny notebook that gets lost in the crowd

The ZenBook 14 aims to be the smallest 14-inch notebook around, and it succeeds thanks to some tiny bezels. Performance and battery life are good, but the notebook lacks a standout feature other than size.

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

How to connect AirPods to your MacBook

If you have new AirPods, you may be looking forward to pairing them with your MacBook. Our guide will show you exactly how to connect AirPods to MacBook, what to do if they are already paired with a device, and more.

Hitting ‘Check for updates’ in Windows 10 opts you into beta releases

Users who are careful about keeping their system updated should watch out -- Microsoft revealed this week that clicking the Check for updates button in Windows can opt you in to testing beta code.

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.

Which Macs are compatible with MacOS Mojave?

Is your computer ready for Apple's big Mojave update? Here's what you need to know about MacOS Mojave compatibility, what Macs can successful download Mojave, and the requirements you need to know about.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The standard mouse cursor is boring, so change it! With this guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, you can choose to use one of Microsoft's pre-installed cursors or download something a bit more extravagant.