Costs of labor, real estate, taxes, power, etc. cannot be ignored in the selection of a service provider in that these variables impact costs. Nor can an area’s proclivities toward natural disasters, civil unrest, political turmoil or economic uncertainty be overlooked. However, rapid advancements in technologies such as network virtualization, remote monitoring and management and cloud security are loosening the grip of geographic-dependent decision-making to an increasing degree. So is the dramatic increase in sheer numbers of colocation and cloud hosting sites. Choices have never been greater thanks to increasing consumer demand, which drives competitive pressures within the provider community for advanced technologies and differentiated services that deliver greater value.
As companies rely on IT to drive their digital business initiatives and prepare themselves for multi-provider hybrid cloud implementations, delivering high-quality services via a diverse and complex ecosystem is on the minds of infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals. The business technology (BT) agenda takes into consideration issues such as bandwidth capable of supporting evolving mesh network technologies and dynamic provisioning, power grids and multiple utility providers, and available skill sets aligned with strategic business initiatives, all of which will be critical to delivering an exceptional customer experience on a global scale.
The Regulatory Monkey Wrench
Looming ever larger on I&O professionals’ radars for data center siting considerations in this Age of the Customer are nations’ laws and industries’ regulations pertaining to data privacy and protection. Collection and analysis of consumer data are the ingredients for knowing customers in order to convincingly communicate and cater to them.
There is no single international framework for the management of issues related to cloud computing. Expectations for data security can vary widely between nations. Each country has jurisdiction over data hosted within its borders. Yet jurisdiction also stretches to data in use by companies that were originally incorporated in the given country but hosted overseas. Jurisdictional clashes could result in very real problems of data sovereignty or different rules governing the same data.
In the U.S., regulatory enforcement is also ramping up in intensity and scope, as are punishments for data security and privacy violations. Rules under HIPAA and ITAR, for example, already require that regulated data be kept within U.S. borders. The larger issue for choosing a data center or cloud services provider is whether it complies with the laws and requirements now and, more importantly, demonstrates a commitment to remain that way in the face of new requirements and stepped-up oversight.
As an IT professional, you’re responsible for ensuring that your company’s business technology agenda moves forward, that data is fully protected and regulatory compliance mandates are met. When it comes to your company’s data, it’s up to you to protect your customers’ interests by knowing everything you can about your cloud provider — and it’s up to you to educate your CEO so the two of you can jointly make the best decisions for the people who trust you with their data.
If you’re not sure where a provider houses its data, you must do your own research and investigate the host country’s data protection laws. It’s the only way to protect your company’s reputation and ensure that your customers’ information remains private.
Interested in learning more about data privacy, security, and regulatory compliance? Check out the Peak 10 resources that follow — or contact us, and we’ll have a Peak 10 solutions engineers tell you more.