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Introducing Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Office 365 Groups

Today, we’re excited to announce that Multi-Geo Capabilities in SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups will be in private preview in late 2018 and generally available in Q1 CY 2019.

 

Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Groups enables global businesses control the country or region where shared resources like SharePoint Team Sites, Office 365 Groups content (associated SharePoint Sites and Groups mailboxes) are stored at-rest.

 

Earlier this year we launched Multi-Geo in Exchange Online and OneDrive, giving control over the geo-location of user-attached resources like user’s mailbox and OneDrive files.

 

With more data residency measures being legislated around the world for cloud data, global businesses are challenged with meeting their data residency requirements and digitally transforming with the cloud.

 

Multi-Geo addresses these challenges by enabling a single Office 365 tenant to span multiple regions and/or countries and giving customers the flexibility to choose the country or region where each employee’s Office 365 data is stored at-rest.

 

This helps businesses meet their global data residency needs and digitally transform with Office 365.

 

Configuring Multi-Geo in SharePoint

Setting up and managing Multi-Geo is now available through the SharePoint admin center.  Simply click ‘Add location’ and select the needed satellite geo and then pick a namespace URL. New sites created by users are automatically created in the geo where their PreferredDataLocation (PDL) was established.  See more about managing PDL with Azure AD Connect at aka.ms/PDL

 

SPO admin1.pngAdministering Multi-Geo in SharePoint

For your global workforce, the digital transformation means that every employee is empowered with a modern productivity experience in Office 365.

 

Global SharePoint Home experience

With SharePoint Multi-Geo, satellite geos now get the rich SharePoint Online functionalities in addition to the OneDrive functionalities. SharePoint Home experience shows a curated list of News roll-up and Suggested sites powered by the intelligence of the Office graph, which analyzes the activities and signals from across the global organization and tailors a list for every user.

 

News from Sites.pngSharePoint Home

 

New site creation in the user's geo

Team sites and Communications sites creation experience automatically detects the user’s configured geo-location and triggers sites creations in the corresponding geo.

 

New Site Creation.pngNew sites automatically created in the user's geo

Hub site is Multi-Geo aware

SharePoint Hub sites enhances the discovery and engagement with content for employees, while creating a complete and consistent representation of projects, departments or regions. With SharePoint Multi-Geo, sites from Satellite geos can easily be associated with a hub site regardless of which geo the hub site is hosted in. This makes it easy for employees to tailor their business units needs through hubs while at the same time being part of One Enterprise. Employees can search and get results across the hub through a single search experience, regardless of in which geo the sites are located at-rest.

 

Hub Site.pngSharePoint Hub Site experience

 

Mobile

For employees on the go, the same great productivity experience is available on rich mobile apps for SharePoint, OneDrive and Outlook. Employees simply sign in with their Office 365 credentials and access content in their Multi-Geo enabled Office 365 tenant, they don’t need to remember any geo specific URLs or other information.

 

Mobile.pngSharePoint Mobile with sites and people from around the world

Managed metadata

For organizations that use taxonomy enterprise managed metadata to organize their sites and contents, Multi-Geo enables an easy way to centrally manage metadata in a central location and behind the scene these get replicated to all the satellites and ready to use in satellite sites. This doesn’t require any additional customization.

 

See more end user and admin features in SharePoint Online and Groups Multi-Geo in these videos from our Ignite sessions.

 

SharePoint Online and Groups Multi-Geo will be available in a private preview in late 2018. For details, please contact your Microsoft account team.

7 Comments
Frequent Visitor

How do you prevent cyber squatting of the geo URLs? If I have mycompany.sharepoint.com today and wish to have mycompanyEUR.onmicrosoft, mycompanyAUS.onmicrosoft etc what is to stop someone going and claiming lots of well known company tenant names with the geo letters on the end via demo O365 subs?

Senior Member

@Sameer Sitaram One of the slide decks from Ignite last week explicitly says that Multi-Geo is not for GDPR Compliance (BRK3376, slide 7). I understand that being compliant with GDPR is a non-trivial task, so perhaps you are signaling that merely moving to Multi-Geo won't buy you GDPR Compliance. Is that why you state that? Are there other reasons at play too?

Microsoft

@Mark Wilson Regarding your question - customers can choose any url that is available in the service for their tenant. We recommend that customers have several options in mind when they choose their satellite locations, for instance MyCompanyEU, MyCompanyEUR, My CompanyEUROPE etc. 

Microsoft

Hi @Michael Sampson - That's right, GDPR does not mandate data residency requirements, so I wanted to be clear with customers that Multi-Geo isn't  required for fulfilling GDPR commitments. However, despite that we see global companies adopt Multi-Geo because it is an easy way to meet their global data residency requirements and satisfy regulators.

Senior Member

@Sameer Sitaram Thanks for the answer. So whereas India's new Personal Data Protection Bill specifically mandates data residency in India (a copy for some data, and absolute localisation for "critical" personal data - the term "critical" being undefined in the legislation), Microsoft's view is that GDPR could be interpreted either way - that data residency in country / in region is required, or that data residency is not required in country / in region? e.g.,
- Recital 81 - the last line makes the assumption the processor is in the Union or a Member State, and therefore assumes data processing would happen in region.
- Recital 101 - talks about "flows of personal data on and from countries outside the Union" ... if data is not stored in the Union, do you view that as not being a flow? Or that Microsoft has sufficient safeguards in place to enable "full compliance"? (e.g., as outlined in Recital 108)

 

I interpret your point about companies still embracing Multi-Geo to help with GDPR in this way: GDPR doesn't mandate in region processing explicitly, but if processing is done in region, then it reduces the compliance efforts required by the company in putting in place organisational and technical measures to safeguard processing activities. Is that what you mean?

Senior Member

 @Sameer Sitaram I noticed your update on https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Security-Privacy-and-Compliance/Introducing-Multi-Geo-in-Offi... too - that the minimum Office 365 seats in a tenant is now 2,500 (down from 5,000 in April), and that a minimum of 5% (125 seats) of these seats have to be licensed for Multi-Geo. Thanks for the update on that.

Senior Member

@Adriana Wood To Mark's question, since you can't prevent cyber-squatting, why did Microsoft choose the name space approach it did, as opposed to standardised sub domains, e.g., eur.tenant, aus.tenant, etc.?