Right get your exploring hat on, because we are going cloud catching. Come on! It’s the latest craze, all the East London kids are doing it and if we have learnt anything recently, it’s that if Silicon Roundabout (read Old Street) is doing it now, we will all be doing it in two years. The beauty of finding and using the lesser-spotted but oft-mentioned cloud is that they can be anywhere right? It doesn’t matter where you store your files as long as it’s sent onwards and upwards into the lovely cloud filled beautiful blue data sky. Well, think again, because it turns out, it really is all about location, location, location and I am not just referring to Kirstie and Phil…
Where your data cloud or host server that you use is located has been a topic of interest lately due to some companies housing their data storage in locations in which their work doesn’t have a presence. Cheap hosting and flexible data protection laws allows this to happen. However as a result, some companies find themselves excluded from working in areas, such as the public sector, if personal data is being stored somewhere outside their jurisdiction. It is becoming increasingly common for contractors to stipulate the location of servers to remain in the same country.
When it comes to things like hosted Exchange and cloud computing it can make sense to use providers that store their data based where you are. It eases the migration, aids customer support process and helps protects your personal information. However the argument for the other side also makes sense. If we are truly living in a world of free and global communication then surely it doesn’t matter where our data is stored? The internet has no borders so why should cloud computing? This would all make perfect sense until it becomes clear that certain laws, such as the United States of America’s data protection act, would allow authorities legal access to your personal information simply if it was stored in their country.
The debate will continue to rage on as more and more people use services like Exchange hosting and migrate their personal files to remote servers. It is also likely we will see an increase in legislation related to data sovereignty, control of access to data and location specific regulations as clouds are kept less global and more national.