Canada has some of the strictest data privacy regulations on the planet, which can make it difficult for companies offering cloud or digital services to operate in the country.

But this has undeterred DocuSign, a U.S.-based digital transaction management service provider, which has just announced that Microsoft Azure will be its preferred cloud services platform in Canada.

Until now, DocuSign has been unable to offer cloud services to its Canadian customers because it did not have a data centre located in the country, a key component of Canada’s regulations. But Microsoft opened two data centres in Canada in 2016, meaning this partnership will allow DocuSign to meet the country’s data residency requirements, provide cloud options to customers across Canada, and “enable them to scale quickly into other international markets,” it says in a May 10 press release.

“This partnership opens up a market that has been generally closed to us in the past because we didn’t have a data centre within its borders,” Dan Kagan, general manager for Canadian business at DocuSign, explains to IT World Canada. “We started thinking about looking into expanding our Canadian business around 15 months ago and debated opening up our own data centre. But we quickly realized that with technology moving so fast, we’d already be outdated by the time it was built and lit up. To do business in Canada, we needed to invest in the country and invest in the technology and we’re doing that now with Microsoft.”

The theme of this announcement is showing Canadians that DocuSign is investing in the country and looking to grow its employee footprint, creating jobs and other opportunities, Kagan continues.

“This is the natural progression of doing business in Canada. Companies might start off saying they don’t need a data centre here, but they quickly find out that as they evolve into an enterprise-class business, they have to invest here to survive,” he says.

Kagan says the company chose Microsoft Azure because of its already very close partnership in day to day dealings, and how well the technology fit its business format.

“We needed a tech partner that has a very strong and steady platform that would allow us to maintain our standards, and Azure is obviously one of the best in the world. Microsoft is an investor in DocuSign and we try to keep things within our close-knit family as much as we can; we do a lot of joint sales efforts with them,” he adds.

This news comes after DocuSign’s recent announcement that it has grown its user base 135 per cent year-over-year with more than 300,000 customers across the globe. The company currently operates in 188 countries and is looking to expand even further using Microsoft Azure as a strategic partner in countries with strict data regulations similar to Canada’s.



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