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Police in the UK have reached a major milestone – they can store data in the cloud

Police forces across the UK can now store information in the cloud, including Microsoft Azure.

The announcement by Microsoft comes after one of the company’s data centres was reviewed by the UK’s National Police Information Risk Management Team, which ensures the storing of police information and access to it meet strict standards.

The review is required by law enforcement agencies in this country before they can move data to the cloud, as it ensures that information is held in a Police Approved Secure Facility.

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Microsoft welcomed the review, adding that it would be good to see police forces joining other sectors in enjoying the benefits of the cloud.

“Azure is proud to be recognised in this way,” said Stuart Aston, National Security Officer at Microsoft. “It is a positive step, as we help all areas of the public and private sectors embrace cloud computing so they can cut costs and help people work more securely, efficiently and collaboratively.

“Microsoft is looking forward to helping law enforcement agencies on their digital transformation journey.”

The UK’s National Police Information Risk Management Team ensures the storing of police information and access to it meet strict standards

Meanwhile, Microsoft has revealed that Azure IoT Hub is now available in its UK data centres.

The service allows companies using the service to reliably and securely send data, such as files and messages, from the cloud to millions of internet-connected devices, and vice versa.

This can help firms manage devices that have no human operator; are in remote locations, where sending a member of staff is expensive; have an intermittent or slow internet connection; or have limited power or processing resources.

Users can give each device its own security key to enable it connect to Azure IoT Hub, making the service very safe to use; while choosing where to route the messages you send is quick and simple.

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Microsoft opened its UK data centres in September last year. Since then, thousands of customers, including the Ministry of Defence, the Met Police, parts of the NHS and BP, have signed up to take advantage of the sites.

Services available in Microsoft’s UK data centres include G-Series, H-Series and N-Series virtual machines, which make it easier to work with huge amounts of information; Azure Backup and Site Recovery, which lets customers back up and restore their files quickly and easily; and Azure Automation, which lets companies and organisations automate lengthy and error-prone tasks.

Microsoft Azure in UK data centres is also compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS), as judged by an independent Qualified Security Assessor, thanks the Azure Solutions Blueprint. As a result, Azure customers can now use Microsoft’s sites in the UK to run their own secure applications that feature financial information.

Microsoft’s cloud regions in the UK – the company was the first global cloud provider to offer a complete and trusted cloud solution from data centres in this country – are now part of one the world’s largest online storage infrastructures, supported by more than 100 data centres globally. These hold over 30 trillion pieces of data and are backed by billions of dollars in investment since 1989.