Breakth­rough in the data protection-compliant use of Micro­soft 365

It’s a big move for IT in public admi­nis­tra­ti­on: Lower Sax­o­ny has signed a con­tract with Micro­soft for the use of Micro­soft Teams, which over­co­mes the con­cerns of the Ger­man data pro­tec­tion aut­ho­ri­ties! The results achie­ved ser­ve as a blue­print for the use of Micro­soft 365 by public aut­ho­ri­ties. A data pro­tec­tion impact assess­ment (DPIA) remains a pre­re­qui­si­te for data pro­tec­tion compliance. 

The impro­ve­ments to Microsoft’s Data Pro­tec­tion Adden­dum (DPA) were nego­tia­ted in clo­se con­sul­ta­ti­on with the Sta­te Com­mis­sio­ner for Data Pro­tec­tion in Lower Sax­o­ny. All key requi­re­ments of the sta­te of Lower Sax­o­ny were taken into account and the cri­ti­cal “big points” in terms of data pro­tec­tion were cla­ri­fied. Microsoft’s decis­i­on to store and pro­cess the data in Euro­pe (“EU boun­da­ry”) was decisi­ve for GDPR compliance.

With its decis­i­on in favour of Micro­soft Teams, the sta­te of Lower Sax­o­ny is con­ti­nuing its cloud stra­tegy. The roll­out of Micro­soft Teams is sche­du­led to begin in the second quar­ter of 2024. Once the roll­out has been suc­cessful­ly com­ple­ted, the appli­ca­ti­on will be available for around 13,500 work­sta­tions over the cour­se of the year. The next steps into the cloud are alre­a­dy being examined.

Micro­soft has sta­ted that it will also take the data pro­tec­tion regu­la­ti­ons agreed with the sta­te of Lower Sax­o­ny into account for other public admi­nis­tra­ti­on cus­to­mers in Ger­ma­ny. Howe­ver, it is unclear whe­ther all sta­te data pro­tec­tion com­mis­sio­ners share Lower Saxony’s assess­ment. Ham­burg and Saar­land have recent­ly signal­led other­wi­se. It the­r­e­fo­re remains to be seen how the indi­vi­du­al sta­te aut­ho­ri­ties will assess the latest amend­ments to the DPA.

It is high­ly wel­co­med that, for the first time, con­tracts have been nego­tia­ted with Micro­soft that meet the strict requi­re­ments of the Data Pro­tec­tion Con­fe­rence. Howe­ver, the adapt­a­ti­on of the DPA is not a car­te blan­che. The pre­re­qui­si­te for the data protection-compliant use of Micro­soft Teams in Lower Sax­o­ny was the imple­men­ta­ti­on of a data pro­tec­tion impact assess­ment inclu­ding a risk assess­ment and various tech­ni­cal and orga­ni­sa­tio­nal mea­su­res to be imple­men­ted. Com­pa­nies and public bodies that use Micro­soft 365 must the­r­e­fo­re con­ti­nue to take action themselves.

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reuschlaw Onepager Microsoft 365

reusch­law One­pager Micro­soft 365

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