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SharePoint Residency: What You Need to Know

SharePoint Online, a cloud-based service, empowers organizations to create, share, and govern content, knowledge, and applications. It is part of the comprehensive Microsoft 365 suite, comprising Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and other integral services. However, customers’ data residency requirements and preferences vary significantly. Some necessitate or desire storing their SharePoint Online data in a particular country or region, owing to factors such as compliance, performance, or sovereignty. To address this diversity, Microsoft offers distinct options for SharePoint Residency:

  • Data Residency Commitments
  • Advanced Data Residency
  • Multi-Geo Capabilities

In this article, we will explain what each option means, how to purchase and use them, and what are the benefits and limitations of each option.

Data Residency Commitments

Data Residency Commitments serve as the default choice for SharePoint Online customers who enlist in Microsoft 365 within the Local Region Geography, the European Union, or the United States. This means that their SharePoint Online data will be stored in the same country or region as their sign-up location, unless stated otherwise in the Privacy and Security Product Terms. For instance, a customer registering for Microsoft 365 in Canada can anticipate their SharePoint Online data being housed in Canada, unless they opt for an alternative.

  • SharePoint Online site content and the files stored within that site
  • Files uploaded to OneDrive for Business
  • Microsoft 365 Video services
  • Office in a browser
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
  • Visio Pro for Microsoft 365

This option encompasses various types of SharePoint Online data such as documents, lists, and files, among others. It is seamlessly integrated into the Microsoft 365 subscription and is applicable to all users in the tenant. Nevertheless, it does not ensure that the SharePoint Online data will always stay within the country or region of origin, as there might be exceptional circumstances where Microsoft accesses or relocates the data for operational or legal reasons.

Advanced Data Residency

For those desiring greater authority over their data residency, there exists the option of Advanced Data Residency. This supplementary choice caters to SharePoint Online customers seeking extended control and assurance regarding their data residency. With Advanced Data Residency, customers gain access to expanded coverage for Microsoft 365 workloads and customer data, committed data residency for local country or region datacenter regions, and prioritized tenant migration services. Essentially, this empowers customers to specify a particular datacenter region within their Local Region Geography or Expanded Local Region Geography for housing their SharePoint Online data, with Microsoft observing a policy of not moving or accessing their data outside that defined region, except when mandated by law or with the customer’s explicit consent.

The Advanced Data Residency option covers the following types of SharePoint Online data, in addition to the ones covered by the Data Residency Commitments option:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Defender for Office P1 and Exchange Online Protection
  • Viva Connections
  • Viva Topics
  • Microsoft Purview Audit (Standard and Premium)
  • Data Retention
  • Microsoft Purview Records Management
  • Sensitivity Labels
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • Office Message Encryption
  • Information Barriers

The Advanced Data Residency option requires an additional purchase and configuration. Customers must meet the following prerequisites to be eligible to purchase the Advanced Data Residency add-on:

  • The Tenant Default Geography must be one of the countries or regions included in the Local Region Geography or Expanded Local Region Geography, such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, Qatar, South Korea, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.
  • Customers must have licenses for one or more of the following products: Microsoft 365 F1, F3, E3, or E5; Office 365 F3, E1, E3, or E5; Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2; OneDrive for Business Plan 1 or Plan 2; SharePoint Online Plan 1 or Plan 2; Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard or Premium.
  • Customers must cover 100% of paid seats in the tenant with the Advanced Data Residency add-on license for the tenant to receive data residency for the Advanced Data Residency workloads.

Customers can purchase the Advanced Data Residency add-on through their Microsoft account representative or partner. After purchasing the add-on, customers can request a tenant migration to their preferred datacenter region through the Microsoft 365 admin center or by contacting Microsoft support. The migration process may take several weeks or months, depending on the size and complexity of the tenant. During the migration, customers may experience some temporary impacts on their SharePoint Online services, such as video playback, search, or synchronization.

Multi-Geo Capabilities

Multi-Geo Capabilities is another add-on option for SharePoint Online customers who have a global presence and need to store their SharePoint Online data in multiple countries or regions, to meet different data residency requirements or preferences across their organization. With Multi-Geo Capabilities, customers can assign users of SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business to any Satellite Geography supported by Multi-Geo, and their SharePoint Online data will reside in India, Japan, Norway, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States. Customers can also use the Default Geography as a Satellite Geography, if it is different from their Tenant Default Geography.

The Multi-Geo Capabilities option does not guarantee that the SharePoint Online data will never leave the Satellite Geography, as there may be some scenarios where the data may be accessed or moved by Microsoft for operational or legal purposes. For more information, see the Location of Customer Data at Rest for Core Online Services section in the Privacy and Security Product Terms.

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