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Microsoft urges partners to court public-sector customers

Kenneth Corbin | July 17, 2014
At its annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft outlines a vision of a cloud-first company, touts the opportunities in government, education and healthcare, and aims to reassure partners that it's keeping customer data safe.

As enthusiastic as Microsoft and scores of other U.S. vendors may be about their prospects in a cloud market that's poised for steep growth, the fallout from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about government surveillance looms large.

Even before the Snowden leaks, firms such as Microsoft and Google had been warning that they were facing a trust issue in foreign markets, particularly in Europe, as potential customers and government officials raised concerns about the ability of U.S. law enforcement authorities to gain access to data stored in the cloud under the Patriot Act. Now, with a steady drumbeat of bombshell stories detailing the tactics of the NSA in conducting surveillance, including the clandestine PRISM program used to scour emails, that situation seems to have gone from bad to worse.

Ipsen yesterday sought to reassure the global audience of Microsoft partners that the company will continue to push back against overreaching surveillance efforts to preserve safeguards shielding customer data from dragnet intelligence collection.

"Across our business, with public sector and commercial, issues around the cloud and privacy and information have been a tough one in the last year with the NSA PRISM issue. We worked hard and aggressively to make sure that we meet the highest standards around the world and we preserve the data integrity and confidentiality of our customers' information," Ipsen says.

"We have to get this right," she adds. "At the end of the day, trust and transparency is the foundation of everything."


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