Microsoft gives cloud priority to emergency services, home workers and critical infrastructure

There was a recent Azure outage in the US Mid-West and the Teams platform slowed under the weight of use this week, but Microsoft says it will do its best for those that need access the most.

Microsoft has promised to boost the bandwidth of its Azure cloud service and give priority access to emergency services and those working from home.

In a blog, it said: “Over the past several weeks, all of us have come together to battle the global health pandemic. During this time, organisations around the world are adjusting the way they manage their daily work and how their workforce continues in the face of extraordinary changes to their professional and personal lives.”

It said: “As companies operationalise to address new and unique challenges, we have mobilised our global response plan to help customers stay up and running during this critical time. We are actively monitoring performance and usage trends 24/7 to ensure we are optimising our services for customers worldwide, while accommodating new demand.”

The company said it was working closely with first responder organisations and critical government agencies to ensure it is “prioritising their unique needs” and “providing them our fullest support”.

“We are also partnering with governments around the globe to ensure our local data centres have on-site staffing and all functions are running properly,” it said.

The company said it was also helping large-scale corporations, schools and governments in the mobilisation of remote workforces, using Microsoft Teams to help them do it. Millions of extra Teams accounts have been activated in recent days, although the platform recently suffered a temporary outage under the volume of connections.

To help avoid outages affecting priority organisations, Microsoft said: “As demand continues to grow, if we are faced with any capacity constraints in any region during this time, we have established clear criteria for the priority of new cloud capacity.

“Top priority will be going to first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organisational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams.

“We will also consider adjusting free offers, as necessary, to ensure support of existing customers.”

It said it would communicate with customers “proactively and transparently” about its cloud policies through the Microsoft Trust Center.