It is great news that Microsoft has deemed Australia an important enough region to build local infrastructure.
Many countries have developed privacy and sovereignty legislation that stipulates how data should not be kept off shore. Australian regulations are some of the most restrictive in the world. So it is fortunate for us that these facilities will get the investment required to offer the services locally.
For an SME who has little choice about where data is hosted by a global software company like Microsoft, it is a relief to learn that we will not have to do much to jump through that compliance hoop. This will matter if we are doing business with government bodies or if we store client details like name and address in our Microsoft Outlook Contacts folder.
With 2015 shaping up to be the year of cybercrime, along with tightening international policies around protection of data, bringing the servers on shore is a blessing. It will also improve speed through the reduction in latency, even though that is not really a big issue, it is on the fringes of product quality and is better improved than not.
This will not address the client side responsibilities of encryption of data in use, in transit and at rest but it does remove the driver of encrypting data before it goes offshore. There will still be issues with replication of data offshore for storage, archival, fail over and disaster recovery purposes and certainly encryption is required to protect that data from prying eyes.
However, this news of Office 365 on Australian shores by March 2015 is great news for anyone contemplating a move to cloud or who has already moved to cloud and wants to bring data on shore. In theory, changing the primary storage location to Australia will be a matter of logging into the admin console and selecting a different primary location. Data will then be transferred across in a seamless move.
So a big thank you to Microsoft for hearing our concerns, taking our legislation seriously and giving us what we need to make this a better technology solution here in Australia.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?