The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on internet services, and Microsoft said on Saturday (opens in new tab) that its Azure platform will prioritize first responders, should there come a time when it has to limit some people's access to the platform.
Microsoft said in a blog post that Azure is "supporting many large-scale corporations, schools, and governments in the mobilization of remote workforces" because global health officials have recommended social distancing in response to COVID-19.
Azure can handle that increased demand right now. Microsoft said it's monitoring the platform around the clock (and around the world) to make sure healthcare organizations and other important groups don't experience any interruptions.
If the company ends up having to divert resources from one group to another, however, it wants to be transparent about its thought process. Microsoft explained its current thinking on whose Azure access it should prioritize in the near future:
"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 organizational 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."
Azure and other cloud platforms are likely to become even more strained as more countries encourage people to stay at home for everything but essential services. At least now Azure customers know how Microsoft plans to respond to that stress.