Microsoft debuts cloud service for local firms

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Microsoft debuts cloud service for local firms

Microsoft Korea on Tuesday launched a cloud platform for corporate clients that will be managed by two data centers in Seoul and Busan.

Called Azure, the platform comes nine months after the global tech giant announced its intention of bringing its cloud business to Korea.

Cloud computing allows clients to work on information stored in remote data centers. This removes the onus of having to manage clunky data storage and server hardware themselves. As tech companies like Microsoft are starting cloud services, more businesses are contracting out data storage and management to firms with expertise in computing and web security.

Around 400 Korean companies have been testing Microsoft’s Azure service since December.

“The preview period was important for us because it provided feedback and insight on how Azure and data management should be tailored to satisfy the needs of local industries and companies,” said Koh Soon-dong, CEO of Microsoft Korea.

The data centers in Seoul and Busan are two of Microsoft’s 34 centers worldwide and among 13 in Asia. Before, Korean companies who wanted to use Azure had to save their data in centers abroad. Having local facilities means data stays inside the country, reducing possibilities of violating relevant laws that differ according to country or exposure to unwanted access. The service also benefits companies whose data cannot leave borders due to regulation.

Several tech companies with cloud services have been eyeing the Korean market. Amazon and IBM have already established data centers here last year. Google and Oracle plan to build facilities in Korea as well. Microsoft Korea added that Office 365, an office software suite running on Azure, will begin service by the second quarter of this year.

“Our goal is not just to provide room for data storage,” Koh said, “but to provide clients with tailored tools for the fourth industrial revolution, where data management and its efficient use will be the core question of every business.”

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