The California secretary of state has improved access to more than 5.3 million records related to corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships through the creation of a new Business Search Tool, which allows citizens to have online access to data that was previously available only through in-person or mail requests.

“California Business Search allows anyone to search through the millions of records from their desktop or mobile device. It dramatically improves customer service and makes more business information easily accessible to the public online,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “This is a big step in a big state. In the past, customers had to submit requests in-person or via mail to retrieve Statements of Information for corporations and limited liability companies. This is a major step forward for transparency and makes access to business records just a click away.”

The secretary’s office moved the Business Search Tool to Microsoft’s Azure cloud in order to scale for the public demand for the data.

“With the California Business Search application receiving more than 5 million page visits per month, it was time to explore innovative solutions to provide the scale, security, and agility required to support the growing demand for this critical service,” said Padilla. “Moving the California Business Search application to Microsoft Azure will deliver increased performance, enhanced resiliency and security, helping ensure the best possible user experience.”

“The industry is undergoing nothing short of a technical generational shift and it is difficult for any organization, including government, to prioritize the range of possibilities,” said Michael Donlan, vice president of U.S. State and Local Government at Microsoft. “Agencies must continue to focus on key principles such as agility, scalability, resiliency, security, privacy, control, and transparency as they implement new technology initiatives. Choosing a partner and platform agencies can trust is critical as the digital age requires us to learn faster and govern smarter.”

According to the office’s press release, the cloud-based format offers a mobile-friendly design, expanded search capabilities, more regular data updates, and access to a wider range of data and data formats.

Donlan said that other states looking to implement similar open data initiatives should choose a cloud tool that is capable of dealing with government-related data needs.

“It is important to note that not all clouds are created equal, and simply choosing a technology solution will not automatically produce results,” said Donlan. “As governments collect, manage, and store information, they must carefully consider key issues such as citizen privacy and operational security. The capabilities in Microsoft’s cloud are powerful tools that can organize and convert data into insights, and governments across the country are taking advantage of our hyper-scale platform to improve their decision-making processes and increase public transparency and trust.”

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