Slack expands data residency program to Australia

It comes after the program was introduced in Germany, France, and Japan.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Slack has expanded its data residency program to Australia to enable user-generated data on Slack to be stored locally in Sydney on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Speaking to ZDNet, Slack interim CSO Larkin Ryder explained how expanding the program would allow organisations in highly regulated sectors, such as government and financial services, to be able to use the cloud-based collaboration platform while also complying with local data laws.

"Our original hosting region was out of the US east region [in Virginia] for Amazon and that was a problem for some of our customers," she said.

"We listened to our customers when they explained that they had regulatory concerns with having their data hosted outside the country or the region where they were operating, and we want to solve that problem for them as best we could.

"We have adopted a program we called data residency where we've been leveraging the AWS infrastructure that's available around the world so that we could set up local, in-country hosting regions."

User-generated data that organisations can choose to store locally under the program includes messages, posts, snippets, and files that are uploaded onto Slack, including ones generated by apps or bots.

User profile information, channel names, channel topics, and channel descriptions, however, would continue to be stored in the US, Ryder said.

Australia is the fourth country where the data residency program has been expanded. It is also currently available in Germany, France, and Japan. Slack also plans to expand the program to the UK and Canada soon.

In Australia, there are 277,000 daily active users on Slack.

Ryder added security remains a priority for Slack, particularly during a period where securing communication tools has been in the spotlight due to many businesses being forced to shift completely online as a result of the coronavirus outbreak

"We work very hard to make sure we're making great use of all the features that Amazon has available for us to secure our service," she said.

"And then of course, we make sure that our users have features as well to protect them. One of the things that I hope our more security conscious customers are making great use of right now are the audit logs.

"You don't want your inability to pay attention to traffic on the network in your office make you feel like you're blind to what activity is being done on your corporate systems.

"Since we provide things like that audit log to our administrators they can ingest that data in an automated way via our API into whatever back-end services they use for monitoring, and then they can make sure that they're seeing people logging in from where they're expected to be, and not from some very distant land that would make no sense for their business."

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