Microsoft to prioritize cloud access for first responders and emergency services

Microsoft is planning to prioritize access to its cloud-based Azure services to first responders, emergency services, and critical infrastructure if there are capacity constraints. The software giant experienced some Microsoft Teams issues last week after a surge of nearly 40 percent occurred as businesses turned to remote working during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft is now trying to avoid impacting existing customers while managing new demand.

Microsoft is “actively monitoring performance and usage trends 24/7” to ensure services are optimized and working as expected. If that’s not the case, Microsoft has priority plans. “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,” explains a Microsoft Azure blog post. “Top priority will be going to first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams.”

Microsoft says it’s also partnering with governments worldwide to ensure local data centers are staffed and able to provide cloud services. The software maker is also prepared to adjust free offers for cloud services “to ensure support of existing customers.”

Microsoft’s cloud commitments come just as CEO Satya Nadella sent an internal memo to all employees over the weekend, detailing the company’s coronavirus response plans. In it, Nadella acknowledges that “we are in uncharted territory” and that the ongoing pandemic is unsettling and uncertain. “One truth that brings me comfort is just as this virus has no borders, its cure will have no borders,” says Nadella. “We are all in this together as a global community. For me, the best way I’ve found to get past this anxiety is to focus on what I can do each day to make a small difference.”

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