Commercial and public sector organizations continue to look for new ways to advance their goals, improve efficiencies, and create positive employee experiences. The rise of the digital workforce and the current economic environment compels organizations to utilize public cloud applications to benefit from efficiency and cost reduction. However, organizations are rightfully concerned about data residency, privacy, and security, as evidenced by the myriad of privacy regimes, national security laws, and data residency requirements being erected by national and regional authorities. From a 2017 baseline of 67 laws and regulations in 35 countries, worldwide data residency measures have more than doubled to 144, spread across 62 countries.1
Microsoft is a leader in helping organizations of all types throughout the world address their data residency, privacy, and security requirements. Microsoft has the most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud service provider with 100-plus offerings including more than 50 which are specific to global regions and countries.
Beginning in 2014 with our initial local datacenter region in Japan to our recent launch in Qatar, Microsoft 365 now has local datacenter regions in 15 countries worldwide with announced plans to launch 13 additional local datacenter regions over the coming years.2 This unrivaled fleet of datacenter regions provides Microsoft 365 customers with global coverage coupled with local choice for customer data residency.
For commercial and public sector customers, we provide the leading data residency commitment in the productivity and collaboration space, storing customer data at rest in any of our multiple macro-regions or local datacenter regions to suit customer requirements. Until now, this unparalleled data residency commitment covered customer content in the core Microsoft 365 workloads of Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint Online.
Microsoft 365 has a heritage in providing sophisticated customer data residency solutions, like Multi-Geo Capabilities for multi-national companies that require more granular data location controls. In 2021, Microsoft also announced expanded commitments to create an EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud.3 With this commitment, Microsoft pledged to process and store commercial and public sector European Union customer data within the European Union. This commitment will apply across all of Microsoft’s core cloud services including Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365.
But we aren’t stopping there. In this new age of hybrid work and the increasing reliance on digital transformation, our customers are demanding additional controls for data, including where it resides and its treatment.
Microsoft Teams and data residency
With over 270 million monthly active Microsoft Teams users, customers have turned to Teams as an indispensable tool to communicate, collaborate, and stay in the flow of hybrid work. Microsoft is now adding Teams to the customer data residency commitments in our Product Terms, covering commercial and public sector customers in the existing 15 local datacenter regions. With this extension to our existing promises, Teams core customer data, consisting of Teams chat messages (including private messages, channel messages, meeting messages, and associated images), and meeting recordings,4 present in the tenant, will be stored at rest in local datacenter regions.
Microsoft 365 Advanced Data Residency add-on
We are also announcing the new Microsoft 365 Advanced Data Residency add-on that will extend the commitments for customer data storage at rest. With availability beginning in November 2022, the Advanced Data Residency add-on is designed to give regulated commercial and public sector customers of Microsoft 365 additional assurances that may help with their compliance with data residency laws, regulations, and industry standards. It will provide eligible customers with premium services, including data storage at rest commitments for expanded workloads including Exchange Online Protection, Microsoft Defender for Office Plan 1, Office for the Web, Microsoft Viva Connections, Microsoft Viva Topics, and components of the Microsoft Purview suite. Additionally, the add-on provides customers eligible to migrate their Microsoft 365 tenants into our local datacenter regions with prioritized migration benefits.
We’re committed to building on the value and services available for Microsoft 365 customers with the Advanced Data Residency add-on and other data residency offerings. Microsoft continues to invest in data residency, privacy, and security advancements that allow our customers to have peace of mind in the ever-evolving regulatory landscape. Through the expansion of our local datacenter regions, advancements in data residency offerings across the Microsoft 365 portfolio, and connection to the Microsoft cloud, we are excited to continue helping customers across the world accelerate their digital transformation.
1How Barriers to Cross-Border Data Flows Are Spreading Globally, What They Cost, and How to Address Them, Nigel Cory, Luke Dascoli, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. July 19, 2021.
2Microsoft opens first global datacenter region in Qatar, bringing new opportunities for a cloud-first economy, Microsoft News Center. August 31, 2022.
3Answering Europe’s Call: Storing and Processing EU Data in the EU, Brad Smith, EU Policy Blog, Microsoft. May 6, 2021.
4Meeting recordings are included for customers using Microsoft Stream.