Workplace messaging platform Slack has today announced plans to introduce data residency settings to the platform, which will allow users to choose where in the world their data is stored and ensure they are meeting the demands of regulators.

Slack is set to roll out data residency controls later this year, with Frankfurt, Germany, set to be the first region available outside of the US. The company plans to add additional locations at a later date.

Data stored by the platform includes messages, posts and files. This data is always encrypted, even during transfer, and switching to a different location won’t compromise it in any way.

Data residency is currently in beta, and is set to become available for Slack Plus and Enterprise Grid customers by the end of the year.

Making data regulation easier for organisations

Slack has traditionally stored its data in the United States, but with the introduction of various data privacy regulations, this has presented new problems.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, states that EU-based companies cannot export data outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) unless it is to a country or organisation that follows equivalent data privacy laws.

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Slack does comply with GDPR, as well as other data privacy standards such as the United States’ Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) regulations.

However, the introduction of data residency will better help organisations to deal with “industry, region and country-specific” requirements. This feature has reportedly been developed in respond to customer demands.

The move could also provide some peace of mind for UK users with the Brexit deadline looming. Cloud content management company Box launched a content storage zone in the UK earlier this year in response to fears over the UK’s decision to leave the EU, which will allow companies handling UK data to keep it within the UK should its data privacy laws be impacted.

Slack’s commitment to enterprise-grade security

The organisation has called its data residency plans the “latest example of Slack’s continued investment on enterprise-grade security and compliance”.

Slack has ambitions to become more than a messaging app as it seeks to grow its revenue, and ensuring security — particularly for its 720 paying customers with revenues of more than $100,000 – will help to persuade organisations to conduct more of their work inside of Slack.

The company has placed a focus on ‘integrations’, apps that can be plugged in to the Slack platform to improve productivity. There are currently more than 1,500 apps available, created through business partnerships and the Slack community.

The company last week announced revenues of $145m for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020, equating to year-over-year growth of 58%.

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