Did you know you can move your Office 365 and Azure data to Microsofts UK datacentres?

Written by Steve Voller on 26th March 2017
Office 365

EU or UK

As a US company, there have been concerns that the US Government or law enforcement can request access to Microsoft European customer data even if the data is stored outside the US.

Microsoft has fought an ongoing legal battle with the US Government and won its case in 2016 after the US Government requested access to data held by a Microsoft customer in Ireland.



Since Brexit there have been concerns by many organisations over the storage of data within the EU and how that might be affected.  

Microsoft recently announced that up until September 15th 2017 existing Office 365 customers who would prefer to have their data located in the new UK datacentres can choose to move from the EU locations. This could well be a good move as it reassures UK customers that data held with Office 365 and Azure will be protected by UK laws if any divergence between the EU and UK occurs over data protection.

 This move could take up to 2 years to take place before the data is finally in London, Cardiff or Durham. The Ministry of Defence, some NHS Trusts and Aston Martin have started moving their services into these locations so for most companies there should not be any issues.


  What are the implications:

  • Once your data is moved there will be no option to move it back to the EU without performing a migration.
  • Data can only be optimised across the UK datacentres, with two Azure/Office 365 UK regions across the three datacentres, the risk should be low for most small and medium-sized companies.
  • Data protection laws are set to change in May 2018 with the General data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applying across the EU but after Brexit will we see any divergence in the EU and UK laws.
  • Larger tenants with lots of users could see some loss of functionality during the actual data move as there may be times where mailboxes and resources  are split across datacentre regions.
  • Skype users will see a brief disconnection whilst the migration takes place, this should only be for a few minutes. Previously uploaded meeting  information such as presentations, minutes etc will not move and if required will need to be re-uploaded.


 For those tenants already created in 2016 you are likely to see your data location as Europe, new tenants within billed in the UK will most likely see the data location as the UK.

EU data location

The move is a simple change that takes less than 15minutes to request and once complete your tenant will show the following.

UK Data Location

Microsoft have said that the data moves will have a minimal impact to users and will be completed in the background. Once the move is complete the message centre will show an update and the Data Location will be updated.


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