Data Residency in Office 365 – It’s Complicated

Microsoft announced data residency for data in Microsoft Teams for Canada, with Australia and Japan coming before the end of August as well. However, the details matter. The details such as – this only applies to two groups of customers in 2018:
– brand new customers who are creating a brand new tenant based in the Canadian geo; or
– current customers who have a tenant based in Canada but who have never opened nor touched Microsoft Teams.

In 2019 there will be a migration option for customers based in Canada (their tenant is homed there), and by extension, this will apply for Australia and Japan too. But for all practical purposes right now, this announcement is just a signaling device at this time that a change is coming. It may make a difference for Canadian organisations evaluating Office 365 right now, but everyone already using Office 365 is stuck with the current state for a while yet.

In the table above, I try to pick out the specifics on where your data is located, because … it’s complicated. It depends on how / why / who / what / where. In looking at the above:

Brand New Customer in Canada geo – yes, you could have all your Microsoft Teams data stored in Canada.
Existing Customer in Canada geo – your SharePoint and OneDrive storage and Exchange mailboxes will be stored in Canada, but your Teams data is stored in the United States currently. From 2019, you will have the option of migrating it to Canada.
Existing Customer with Multi-Geo – *if* the SharePoint site for the Team was created in the Canadian geo, and *if* the user sharing a file has their OneDrive also located in the Canadian geo, then your files will be stored in region, but until you migrate in 2019, your conversation and chat data in Teams will be stored out of geo (United States or other).

Data residency is a specialised area. If it’s in the “don’t care” bucket for you, then roll on. If it’s in the “it matters a lot to our organisation for several specific reasons,” then study the details.

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