Microsoft announced in March that storage for Australian Business users of Office 365 will now be hosted at Microsoft’s local data centres in Melbourne and Sydney. New customers will be automatically provisioned in Australia, and existing customers will be transitioned across.
This change should alleviate concerns from local businesses that arose as a result of their critical data being stored outside the country. Australian data had previously been hosted at Microsoft’s Singapore data centre.
The new local hosting service offers several benefits for Australian customers.
One advantage is that the use of dual data centres provides a geographically diverse and redundant backup solution. If there’s an outage at the Sydney data centre, services will automatically fail over to Melbourne (and vice versa). This is a feature that many customers have long demanded.
Another benefit is compliance with Australian data storage laws. Office 365 has been formally approved for use with Unclassified Sensitive data through the Australian government’s Independent Registered Assessors Program. According to Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia’s managing director, this is first cloud productivity service to offer such a level of assurance in Australia.
Furthermore, local hosting reduces latency, resulting in faster data transfer to and from the cloud. Note that this doesn’t mean applications will run faster during normal use, since the applications themselves are installed directly on the user’s computer.
Office 365 combines popular Microsoft applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook into a cloud-based productivity service whereby the applications and documents are stored locally on the user’s computer, and then documents are also mirrored in the cloud via SkyDrive. This allows users to access their documents from any location and any device. Business subscriptions come with SharePoint Online, which provides individual and company-wide storage for data and documents.
Users can create files using the familiar desktop versions of Office applications, and then make those files available to employees and other organisations for editing and commenting. Multiple users can make real-time edits, and can immediately view changes made by others.
Office 365 is a scalable solution that enables small and medium businesses to access the same infrastructure that was previously available only to large businesses and multinational corporations. The flexibility of the service means there is a plan to suit any budget, and the locally installed applications are continually kept up to date with the latest versions of the software. Roughly 75% of Fortune 500 companies have purchased Office 365 in the past 12 months, making it one of Microsoft’s fastest growing product lines.
For more information on how Office 365 can help your business, call us on 1300 853 453 or send us an online enquiry.