Training Video: Regional Storage Locations

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Files.com is a global platform. You can be anywhere on Earth with an internet connection, start an account on Files.come, and begin using the platform to effectively manage your files and teams. You can also tune the experience to get more performance and utility from your site by paying attention to your circumstances and needs, and adjusting your site accordingly.

By default, Files.com stores your files in our main US region where they're secured across multiple availability zones and separate physical facilities. You can tell where your folders are stored by looking for the region flag next to the folder settings button. [see web interface] Mouse over the flag, and the tooltip will tell you which region this folder is stored in.

You may have reason to choose one or more alternative regions. The two most popular reasons have to do with compliance and performance.

Let's start with compliance.

If your data is subject to HIPAA regulations, then you probably want your files stored in the US. Just make sure that any folders where you're storing data subject to HIPAA display the US flag.

If your business has operations in Europe, and you interact with citizens of the European Union, you may be subject to GDPR compliance requirements and need to have files stored in the EU.

Let's say that this folder is one where data subject to GDPR is stored. No problem. It's stored in the US right now. Simply click the flag, and you can see that it's inherited the storage region from the parent folder. Let's open the menu, and we'll choose a location in the EU. Let's take Frankfurt, Germany. Now we're going to save the region. When we do that, we've done everything that we need to do. Files.com automatically handles the rest in the background.

If the folder that you just changed already has data in it, that data immediately begins migrating to your selected region. The process is automatic and completes quickly, but if you have a very large amount of data to migrate, it can take a while.

The interface provides you a progress indicator showing how much is moved and how much is yet to go, so you can always see where you are. You can see that we've got 11 files done because these are small files, but we have a couple that are a little bit bigger. So those are still in progress here.

Now while your stored files and folders are in the process of migrating to your new region, all new uploads go immediately to the new region, and they're stored there automatically. There's no waiting for this part of it. A quick upload, and this file is automatically in our Frankfort location even though some other files are still transferring.

A quick note here regarding compliance requirements.

Some compliance programs may require that not only are the files stored at rest in a particular region, but also any transfer operations where files may be temporarily stored, such as proxy servers, also need to occur in the target region. You can set up your Files.com site to meet those types of requirements by following these steps:

  1. First, set the target region at your home folder level to make it your primary region. Now if we're talking about HIPAA compliance, that would be the US, so we can see that we've got our home folder set to be stored in the USA. That makes the US our primary region for the whole site.

  2. The next thing is that we want to set our global acceleration features, and we can find that by clicking on settings here.[see video] Then go to files. Scroll down until we see global acceleration features here and open this setting. We want to make sure that this is set to use our primary region only. In this case, we want to use USA servers because we're talking about HIPAA compliance. But if we were talking about GDPR, for instance, and we set our primary region to a location in the European Union, that is the location that you would see here, so this area is always going to be set for your primary storage region.

If you're using a custom domain with dedicated IPS, those IP addresses to which your users connect also live in your primary storage region. But we'll touch on this again later.

Why else might you want to choose a particular region?

The second most common reason is transfer performance. If you store large or frequently accessed files, ensuring that the physical data centers are as close as possible to your user population can reduce latency and speed up transfer times. For instance, if we have a user population in Australia, you may want the files you need to access stored there.

Let's click on the flag, and we'll choose Australia here. Click Save. And we're done.

In fact, your enterprise may have multiple conditions like these which require multiple storage regions.You can do that with Files.com. It is a common practice among our customers to have two or more regions active in their site simultaneously. Your ability to activate multiple regions simultaneously depends on your plan. Our Starter plan enables one region at a time. It can be any of our supported regions, and you only set that region at your home or root folder level. That selection is inherited by your entire site.

Our Power plan allows two regions simultaneously. So you select your primary region for your home folder, and then can select one other region for any of your sub folders.

Our Premier plan allows all regions active at once. You again set your primary region at your home folder level, and then can activate any region in any sub folder as needed by your use case, user populations, and compliance needs.

Region selection is recursive. If you select a region for your home folder, or any sub folder, any folders enclosed by the one you change will automatically inherit that region selection. The parent of this folder is set to be stored in Australia. And you can see that this folder also has inherited that. But if you have a need to select a different region for any of those subfolders, you follow the same procedure. Open that folder; we're in one here that we're calling transfer to Singapore. Maybe our Australia operations have files that then need to go to work team or a population that is located around Singapore. Once you open this folder, click on the flag. We're going to select, instead of inheriting from Australia, a new target region. Click on the menu, and let's choose Singapore. And we're done.

Now, while all the other folders at this level are going to inherit the parent's region, this folder has its own region, and all of its subfolders will have its selected region as well. So, you can see this is now stored in Singapore.

Let's talk a little more about proxy servers.

In each of the regions where we maintain storage servers, we also offer acceleration servers designed to give your users in or near that region faster connections to our platform. As an example, if you have a user population in Japan, it wouldn't make sense to have your users there connect to our US proxy servers to transfer files to Tokyo. That would be taking the long way, and as I mentioned, if you are dealing with large files or frequently accessed files, the scenic route is not what we're after. What we want is the Express way to ensure that your users in Japan have the best performance. You want them connecting directly to the Tokyo servers where their files are also stored.

So let's go back to our settings, click on files, and let's scroll down to our global acceleration features. The default is for users to connect to servers closest to their location, and that is what we want to achieve the best performance in this circumstance. We already mentioned the other option, where we're limiting connections to the proxy servers that are associated with your primary region. That is the region you have selected for your home folder. GDPR customers, for instance, would choose that option for a European Union region.

Now let's spend a few moments talking about custom domains.

Custom domains are a very popular feature on our platform, and if you were using one, then you also have two dedicated IP addresses and dedicated SSL certificate.

Two things to be aware of with custom domains.

  1. If you migrate your site to a different region by changing the region of your home folder, both your SSL certificate and your dedicated IP addresses will change. That process can take 15 minutes or so to complete as DNS propagates. Be sure to plan that change for a time when a brief interruption will not adversely affect your users.

  2. Also, when using a custom domain, your dedicated IP addresses are provisioned for your primary storage region. That is the region selected for your home folder. That means that all of your users regardless of the global acceleration setting you have, and regardless of their geographical location, will contact the proxy servers in your chosen region. That is why, unless you have a compelling reason to do otherwise, it is always best with a custom domain to select the primary storage region where the bulk of your most active users are.

We have a separate video that talks about how to set up and how to manage your custom domains, so we won't touch on that here any further.

Okay, let's do a quick review of what we talked about during this session.

Files.com allows you to configure where your files are physically stored around the globe. You can choose from any of our storage regions, which currently include USA in Virginia, Australia in Sydney, Canada in Toronto, our UK location in London, our EU location in Frankfurt, Germany, in Japan in Tokyo, and also in Singapore.

Choosing which region is best for your needs is often a matter of compliance, in which case the choice should be obvious, or it might be driven by the geographic location of your user population. You might also have other factors that go into choosing a region.

We also talked about choosing a primary region for your site, set at the home folder level, and potentially other regions farther down the folder tree. It's not unusual to have multiple regions active for various reasons in the same site.

If you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Us or give us a call at 1-800-286-8372.

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