James Parsons

James Parsons

Head of Modern Security

You may be concerned about the data residency of your information; in this piece I explore where Microsoft stores your Office 365 data.

Microsoft's UK Datacentres

When registering your Microsoft 365 tenant, Microsoft will place your tenant within the appropriate Geolocation based on the usage address that you are using during the registration. Various services from Microsoft use different physical locations but these will typically be grouped under one Geolocation – which for us is “United Kingdom”.


Datacentres for the UK are in Durham, London, and Cardiff.  Specifically, Microsoft 365 services sit as follows, note that data sits across two datacentres for redundancy:

 Service United Kingdom European Union United States
Exchange Online    
Exchange Online Protection    
OneDrive for Business    
SharePoint Online    
Microsoft Teams    
Office Online & Mobile      
Skype for Business*    
Microsoft Teams    
Microsoft Stream    
OneNote Services    
Azure Active Directory    
Microsoft Planner    
Microsoft Whiteboard    
Microsoft Forms    
Microsoft Sway    


*Tenants with 500 users or less will be onboarded with Microsoft Teams and will not have access to Skype for Business.


**We have expanded on Azure Active Directory and the services delivered by Azure Active Directory below.


Essentially, all core data for a UK business is stored in the UK datacentres, yet there are some exceptions which we discuss below.


Data for Microsoft’s US$1bn acquisition back in 2009, Yammer, was located in the USA. For many years post-acquisition it was on AWS (Amazon Web Services) but it now sits in Microsoft’s European datacentres.

Microsoft Sway

Built from the ground up by Microsoft and released to the world in 2015, data created in Sway sits only in Microsoft’s US datacentres. On a side note, with the iOS app being retired and increased functionality in PowerPoint, we can’t see Sway being around for the long term which might make you consider even offering this service to your users?

How do I ensure my tenant is in a particular location?

During the Microsoft 365 sign up process, ensure you select “United Kingdom” in the ‘Usage Location’ field – this will ensure your data sits in UK datacentres.

How do I know where my data sits currently?

Within the Microsoft 365 Admin Centre, click on your organisational name and the information is located towards the bottom of the page under “Data Location”.

Azure-Region-MapMicrosoft Data Centre locations. Latest locations available here

Can I move my Microsoft tenant’s location?

We speak to customers who wish to move their tenants between geographies, either through corporate re-structuring, or that the tenant was originally set up in the wrong location. 


Unfortunately, this is not a service offered by Microsoft, and the only way to do this is via a manual migration exercise.

Can I split the locations of my data?

If you are a multi-national, you may wish to hold employee data in the geography in which your employees are located. If you have over 250 users and a minimum of 5% of those users will be using multi-geo, you can purchase “Multi-Geo” licence which allows you to define where OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online data sits on a per user basis.

You can move data to the following available Satellite Geos:

 Geo Location Code eDiscovery Data Location
Asia-Pacific APC Southeast or East Asia datacenters
Australia AUS Southeast or East Asia datacenters
Canada CAN US datacenters
Europe / Middle East / Africa EUR Europe datacenters
France FRA Europe datacenters
India IND Southeast or East Asia datacenters
Japan JPN Southeast or East Asia datacenters
Korea KOR Southeast or East Asia datacenters
North America NAM US datacenters
South Africa ZAF (eDiscovery data location coming soon)
Switzerland CHE (eDiscovery data location coming soon)
United Arab Emirates ARE (eDiscovery data location coming soon)
United Kingdom GBR Europe datacenters

Azure AD

The backbone of every Microsoft 365 tenancy for Identity. With any tenant deployed with a European Address, the core data is stored within the European Data Centres. Some elements as are processed in the US. We have broken down Azure AD Services and their data residency below. You can find more information here.

 Service United Kingdom
AAD Directory Management Ireland
Access ReviewsTerms of Use Ireland
App Proxy Ireland
Authentication Ireland
Azure AD Domain Services Ireland
B2B California
B2C Ireland
Connect Health Ireland
Groups Management Ireland
Identity Protection Ireland
MFA Ireland
Privileged Identity Management Ireland
Reporting (Activity Logs) Ireland
Self Service Password Reset Ireland


How can I separate out part of my organisations data or merge from another tenant?

Many organisations go through change due to acquisition or to splitting out part(s) of their business, and as part of this activity they may wish to bring together or separate out Office 365 data. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this and it is a manual task. If you need help, we perform this type of work on a regular basis – carving out SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Exchange data from Office 365 is the most common.


Originally published March 22 2019, Updated October 5, 2020

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