What is Atlassian Cloud Data Residency?

Guillermo Montoya
Mar 24, 2022 5:45:00 PM

Atlassian is steadily implementing changes to its cloud tools in its transformation process, and this time we want to tell you more about a feature that, until summer, was only available for Enterprise plans, and now it has been extended to the rest of the paid plans: details of data residency for Atlassian Cloud products.

Atlassian Data Residency is a feature that allows global administrators of Atlassian Cloud tools to specify where to host certain pieces of information from their tools, known in IT as regions or "realms," distributed among different locations. At the moment, it is possible to choose between the European Union, the United States, or globally.

This feature is useful for those organizations that operate in regulated areas, and it's currently available for the Enterprise Cloud plan, and for the new Standard and Premium plan subscriptions. 

Everything you need to know about Atlassian Cloud Security >>

What is data residency and how do I know if I need it?

Atlassian data residency allows you to control where the data is hosted in Jira Software, Jira Service Management, and Confluence, and allows you to choose to distribute the data globally or to a defined geographic location, such as Europe or the USA. Atlassian is currently working on offering it in Australia, Canada, the UK, and Japan.

This feature is often attractive to organizations that operate in regulated industries such as finance, government, or healthcare, and may be necessary for them to operate in a cloud environment, and in other cases, more generally, it helps meet enterprise requirements for data management.

Initially, this feature was exclusively available in the Cloud for Enterprise plan, by following the "Atlassian Cloud First" strategy, and as of June 30, 2021, Standard and Premium plans also have it available for new subscriptions. Throughout October 2021, existing cloud subscriptions will also have this feature. It is important to remember that this functionality does not incur an additional cost, as it is the implementation of a native feature.

Once operating, data residency allows you to see where the data included in the scope of your tools are hosted from your organization's administration (admin.atlassian.com). To do so, you must have administrator permissions of the organization. From there, access the data residency option in the security section.

This page will list the products in your organization, the location of each product, and the AWS regions to which the location corresponds. If a product is pinned to a location, your data included in its scope remains in place, you will also be able to request to pin your data to a new location, in case it is available for X tool and X location.

Differences between locations and AWS regions

The location of a product is the geographic boundary where the data included in that scope is housed, and each location corresponds to one or more AWS regions, which are physical locations around the world where AWS pools its data centers, as illustrated below:

Locations AWS Regions
Global
  •    Asia Pacific (Singapore and Sydney)
  •    Europe (Frankfurt and Ireland)
  •    USA (East USA and West USA)
EU
  • Europe (Frankfurt and Ireland)
USA
  • USA (East USA and West USA)

 

By default, all tools are hosted in the global location, which includes all AWS regions, as you can see in the table above. For these tools, Atlassian determines where the data included in the scope is located, and to optimize the performance of the tools, they do not limit the movement of data from these tools and move the data between AWS regions as needed.

In the event that you need the in-scope tool data to remain in a specific location and the data residence is available to your tool, you can request that the in-scope data be moved to a specific location and pinned there.

Atlassian Cloud data residency doesn't store all data

Atlassian is committed to guaranteeing security in the Cloud, complying with standard security certificates, and other measures, carrying out a global privacy program complying with GDPR requirements, CCPA, LGPD, and more, requirements that have led them to treat all user data in the same way, using technical and organizational measures to protect the information they store (and what they don't). Atlassian's privacy program is designed to meet both legal requirements and the needs that each cloud tools customer may have.

Please find below, what information Atlassian doesn't commit to store for data residency in cloud tools:

1. User account information

Atlassian stores user account information in a central identity service and a small controlled set of replication services, however, they do not lock these services, or user account information into them, because they host them around the world to meet the performance needs of our customers.

Atlassian processes information this way to limit its footprint within organizations' systems, i.e., that information is not stored at all, instead, they store representative IDs that they use to retrieve information from their identity services. Because of this, data residency cannot be applied to user data. If this is a challenge for you, we invite you to read more about it at the Atlassian Trust Center we've shared before.

2. Jira Service Management data works with Opsgenie

Put simply, Jira Service Management combines the capabilities of what used to be known as Jira Service Desk with the incident management offered by Opsgenie, which has turned this tool into a visionary ITSM solution according to Garter.

Currently, the Jira Service Management functions powered by Opsgenie are not embedded in the Jira platform, so they are not suitable to be fixed to a location. This is one of Atlassian's to-do items on its roadmap for Cloud that you can check at any time. Nevertheless, consider the following:

  •    Certain Jira Service Management product data will always be hosted in the US location, even if you choose to have your Jira Service Management in the EU location.

  •    When you move your Jira Software and Jira Service Management you will experience downtime, although users will still be able to access the features offered by Opsgenie.

  •    If you have an Opsgenie that is not integrated with Jira Service Management, you can host certain data in the EU or USA.

In Atlassian's documentation, you can learn more about data residency for Opsgenie.

3. Atlassian data residency and Marketplace Apps

Remember that the Atlassian Marketplace is a marketplace created by Atlassian partners that provide apps, such as ourselves with Projectrak and Exporter. Therefore, Marketplace app data isn't covered by the data residency guarantee.

However, different options are being explored to make this option available and customers can choose the location where they want their application data to be hosted. If you would like to receive updates on the progress of these initiatives, you can check the cloud roadmap. Also, this Atlassian guide to data residency shows more about this option applied to Atlassian Marketplace apps.

Data residency advantages

  •    Telling you where your Atlassian Cloud tools data and content is hosted.

  •    Ensuring that Atlassian tool data, such as issues and pages, is stored only in the United States or European Union.

  •    Meeting organizational and regulatory data compliance requirements.

There is a myth claiming that not enabling data residency will make Jira or Confluence performance faster, and this isn't entirely true. Atlassian uses its global infrastructure to host data as close to customers as possible to deliver maximum performance and productivity.
While data residency provides an additional level of certainty that the data will not leave the indicated geographic area, Atlassian's cloud infrastructure is designed to provide customers around the world with the best possible experience. On the other hand, enabling data residency may result in slower overall performance for users outside the specified geographic area.

As you have been able to read, data residency is a complex topic that needs to be evaluated in detail, as the journey that Atlassian is undertaking towards the cloud, in its process of becoming a Cloud-First company is a scaled process. However, it is taking firm steps, and once again, we remind you that you can check in the public roadmap of deployments they are making in the cloud month by month.

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However, don't worry, we have time to evaluate all possible options, and you can count on us to help you implement the solution that best suits your needs.

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