Office 365 for Organizations with International Users


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Tim Tetrick

I frequently get questions from partners and customers who are looking to move to Office 365 but have users located in different parts of the world and have questions associated with that.  For example…

Can I have a subscription with some users in one country and some users in another?

Can I have a subscription in which the North American users data is stored in North America and the EMEA users data is stored in EMEA?  Or do I have to have 2 separate subscriptions for that?

Can a subscription that is provisioned in one country assign licenses to users located in other countries?  If so, what countries are supported?

Let me see if I can help address some of these questions. 

Microsoft has a regionalized datacenter strategy. The customer's country or region, which the customer's administrator (or their partner) inputs during the initial setup of the services, determines the primary storage location for that customer's data.  See Where is my data?

You can certainly create a separate Office 365 subscription/tenant for different locations.  For example, one subscription for North American users to be located in North America and one subscription for EMEA users that is located in EMEA, but then you will have two separate tenants to manage and it’s important to note that the same custom domain name cannot exist in two different tenants.  You will also have two separate bills to manage and pay.

Most customers will typically choose to create one subscription for their entire organization (maybe in the geography where the company is headquartered or where most of their users reside), and then have all their users access the services in the primary storage location.  To help with this scenario, Microsoft has specific strategies in place for creating faster connections back to the primary storage location for international users.  See Client connectivity for more info. 

Customers are able to assign a license to a user that is located in just about any country in the world, except for Cuba, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Sudan, and Syria.  This information is current as of the date of this blog post, but for current availability and language support, see International availability.

Hope this is helpful and thanks for reading!

Comments (1)

  1. David Wojo says:

    I haven’t called you that many times….. Seriously thou, this is my biggest challenge with Office 365 and worldwide companies. It seems so simple, create your account in the country your headquarters are, but it’s not. Especially when working with financial
    and medical clients. I have no problem managing and maintaining multiple tenant accounts, it’s a must when you have offices in different countries. My problem is keeping my environments and clients compliant. Office 365 provides the best when it comes to being
    compliant as long as you work in one country. Once you open an office in another you will no longer be compliant.

    The inability to have a custom domain in multiple tenant accounts is a must to fixing this issue. Force me to make the domain an internal relay on the tenant accounts. I know I would have to manage relaying the emails through my registrar or some other method
    but at least I would be compliant with HIPAA and SSAE16. I have no server background and have no idea why this can’t be done, but if it could it would allow many worldwide companies to have data at rest in their appropriate locale.

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