In our previous blog, we talked about the importance about where data is stored and why you may want to know.  Today we will discuss how to find out where your data is stored in the Microsoft cloud, and how to pinpoint which country your data resides in.  This information is particularly useful when dealing with compliance audits, especially in the healthcare, legal and financial sectors.  There are also some jurisdictional mandates (i.e. legal requirements) for companies to host data within their own country or region (for example, Europeans generally need their data to be stored in a European data center – by law). 

Microsoft has made it easy to figure this out by enabling regional functionality when the tenant is created when you sign up for Office 365.  There is an option to pick the country associated with your account, and at that time you are notified that the country is locked to your account which will determine the services you can use, billing currency and the closest datacenter to ensure greater performance.  For the most part, all software that Microsoft offers can be managed this way, with some minor exceptions such as Yammer (which is 100% US-only for hosting), and Skype (which is all based on local routing tables, not necessarily on a country specifically). 

Checking where your tenant is hosted can be figured out by the following information:

A Simple HHigh-LevelApproach:

The easiest way to verify what services are available in your country or region, and to see what Microsoft services are available to you is to go to this website below, select your country, and read what it tells you:

When we went to this website, and selected Canada from the dropdown list, it stated that the location of customer data at rest is as follows:

Toronto, ON

Québec City, QC

  • Office 365
    • Exchange Online
    • SharePoint Online
    • Skype for Business
    • Project Online
  • Dynamics 365

United States

  • Azure Active Directory
  • Office 365
    • Sway
    • Yammer
    • Planner
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

In short, the services listed above in Canada can be delivered out of either Toronto or Quebec City. However, 100% of all Sway, Yammer and Planner services are delivered out of the United States.  It is also important to note that if your organization deployed Skype for Business prior to the summer of 2016, chances are your tenant for that service is still hosted out of the United States.

For most organizations, this is more than sufficient, but for other organizations, more specific information is required. 

Our next blog entry will talk about how to use PowerShell to validate where your data is when at rest.