What is Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo?

The nature of the business of some of today’s modern organizations demands that their data is stored within regional boundaries. Strict regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require organizations to implement measures to protect their customer’s privacy. The inability to store business-critical data within a region could hamper a business’s plans for expansion. Such businesses will not be able to distribute their workforces across regions or countries especially when they need to centralize business data.

To solve this issue, organizations implement hybrid architectures or use local datacenter on-premises for addressing the challenges of data compliance. Although both these solutions have been widely adopted, they have significant drawbacks which we will briefly cover in the sections to follow. We will also see Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo capabilities provide a comprehensive solution to overcome these drawbacks.

What Are the Problems With Hybrid Architecture and On-Premises Datacenters?

The on-premises architecture is the traditional form of storing data. It involves maintaining large and expensive servers in every region/ country in which the organization operates. As with any on-premises implementation, there are major drawbacks for an organization that uses this form of data storage.

  • Data is siloed within a region. This means users from another region in which the organization operates will not be able to directly access server data.
  • It is almost impractical to use intranet sites that operate over a local area network (LAN).
  • Collaboration is severely restricted due to dissimilarities in capabilities.

Some of these problems can be solved using the hybrid Office 365 implementation. However, that too has its problems.

  • The implementation itself is complex.
  • There is a higher probability of data falling out of sync between the on-premises environment and the cloud.
  • Simple tasks such as renaming users could require complex scripts with hybrid implementations. Organizations spread across different locations might have to perform such tasks when their employees move from one region to another.
  • Reconciling reports can be problematic, and in some cases, impossible.
  • On-premises infrastructure, such as Exchange Servers, cannot be decommissioned as the AD Forest has to be present for management.
  • Despite being a “cloud solution”, a significant number of attributes have to be managed on-premises.

Alternatively, some organizations use multiple Microsoft 365 tenants to circumvent challenges associated with compliance. This too restricts collaboration capabilities and might be more expensive to implement.

What Are Office 365 Multi-Geo Capabilities?

Multi-Geo in Microsoft 365/ Office 365 is an elegant solution that allows organizations to unify the control of their Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive data at rest using a single tenant. Organizations can pinpoint the location in which each of their users’ content will be stored.

A single global tenant is used by the entire organization. So all the users will be able to access their data regardless of their locations. An organization can create tenant in their home datacenter region and add additional satellite regions as they expand. With this implementation, while the tenant information is mastered centrally using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) synchronization, data residency requirements are also fulfilled simultaneously.

What Are the Advantages of Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo Capabilities?

Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo capabilities help organizations with their data residency requirements without compromising on user experience. Let us take a look at the advantages of leveraging Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo capabilities for organizations operating out of different regions.

  • Each user enjoys the same user experience in terms of scheduling meetings, search experience, file sharing, and mobile access. Yet, compliance personnel will have comprehensive information on data residency along with advanced controls.
  • With over 10 Geo regions and hundreds of data centers, performance consistency is guaranteed across the globe by Microsoft’s service level agreements (SLA).
  • Setting up the Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo experience and managing is far simpler than a hybrid setup or on-premises setup.
  • Each satellite Geo for SharePoint and OneDrive gets its own URL while Exchange does not require a separate namespace.
  • A comprehensive reporting dashboard with advanced auditing capabilities provides all the granular information admins need at a global level.
  • It allows applying site and sharing policies for SharePoint site data based on the physical location of the owner. Yet, site owners can assign privileges to users in a different location for collaboration.

With features like these, organizations can be more confident in expanding into other regions. While users will have the same experience regardless of their physical location, admins can manage workforces with greater ease. All this is possible while adhering to the strictest compliance standards at the organizational level.

Apps4Rent Can Help Implement Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo Capabilities

While Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo capabilities assist businesses in adopting cloud solutions as they expand, the main purpose of these features is to help organizations meet data residency-based compliance requirements and not performance optimization or solving network problems that several businesses seem to expect from it. Additionally, it is available only in certain regions as an add-on feature for Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with Microsoft 365 F1, F3, E3, or E5 and Office 365 F3, E1, E3, or E5 plans, apart from those with premium plans, it is also included in Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2, SharePoint Online Plan 1 or Plan 2, and OneDrive for Business Plan 1 or Plan 2.

As a Microsoft Solutions Partner, Apps4Rent has deep understanding of Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo capabilities and our Microsoft-certified experts can work closely with you to analyze your unique needs, devise tailored strategies, and can help in implementing Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo capabilities to the right Microsoft 365/ Office 365 plans. Contact our Office 365 migration experts, who are available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for assistance.

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