Office 365 now from the Microsoft Cloud Germany
Since last week, Office 365 also is available as a mere German offer. Thus, Microsoft expands its range of the German public cloud service Azure. Users have the possibility to obtain Office 365 - as well as the visualization tool Power BI - from the German databases in Frankfurt/Main and Magdeburg. Customer data are hosted exclusively in German databases. The new services are not only available for customers coming from Germany. Also members of the European Union and of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) can use these services.
The software company addresses its offer particularly to sectors with extraordinary standards for security and compliance, like the public sector, education or the financial industry. T-Systems International GmbH, as data custodian, takes control over the customer data. Microsoft itself can access the data only in exceptional cases and observed by the data custodian or with the approval of the data owner.
Matching to this, the TÜV NORD CERT GmbH has attested that the public cloud services of Microsoft Azure Germany are compliant with ISO/IEC 27001:2013. By this internationally accepted standard it is certified that - in addition to own safety standards concerning its databases - Microsoft complies to regulatory and legal requirements related to information security, too. In parallel, Microsoft has performed a certification according to ISO/IEC 27018:2014. ISO/IEC 27018 is a certificate that describes the protection of personal data (PII) stored in public clouds. The SOC (Security Operations Center) certification will take one more time, because it assumes at least half a year of operating the public cloud services. Whether the C5 (Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalog) certification will follow is still open, but to be expected, since Amazon Cloud (AWS) can already present it. C5 is a verification schema by the German Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, BSI), used by companies and authorities that want to prove operational security in protection against cyber-attacks.
However, this considerable additional expense in protection is also reflected in the costs. Interested customers will have to expect an obviously additional charge compared to the international version. Also Power BI visualization services are much more expensive in the German version. Business customers who already use an international tenant of Office 365 and want to use the German cloud will have to calculate additional costs. The German Office 365 branch is operated by an independent instance of the Azure Active Directory identity service, and data migration has to be done manually. Microsoft does not offer any automatism for a migration between the Office 365 international and the Office 365 Germany tenant.
Office 365 includes Exchange online, SharePoint online, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, and Office ProPlus. With Office 365, companies are able to outsource server services and data to the public cloud, or to use server services that they are unwilling or unable to provide on premise. IT professionals only have to manage their users and their company specific settings, thus completely omitting server maintenance.