Location, location, location: Does it really matter where your data is stored?

According to a recent study conducted by Red Brick Research on behalf of Volta Data Centres, 87 per cent of UK consumers would feel more confident if they knew their data was stored in the UK. The survey clearly indicates that customers care about where their data is stored.

Despite clear concerns regarding companies’ data policies, the majority of consumers are still unaware of how their personal data is stored – 81 per cent fail to check how a company stores their personal data or for how long that data is held. This is in stark contrast to the 49 per cent that actively check that security status of the website.

Do you know where your data is stored?

While consumers are more mature and aware of data location and security issues than many organisations perceive, they are not as well informed as they would like to be. Organisations have a significant opportunity – indeed a need – to improve consumer education. Businesses could gain competitive advantage by informing customers the location of their data, in London, for example, and that the data centre is subject to multiple levels of physical security, excellent power and connectivity resilience. In the survey, 81 per cent of UK consumers cited they would have more trust in an organisation if it provided more information about how and where it stored their data.

Consumers increasingly decide where to spend their money on
the basis of personal data security, availability performance and
data location as much as product quality and value. It is time for organisations to re-evaluate both data storage and consumer education policies – or run the risk of losing both customers and brand value.

The vast majority, 87 per cent of UK consumers, would feel more confident if their data was stored in the UK – with 72 per cent specifically more confident about data being stored in London compared to other cities.

These figures have a direct impact on consumer to business relationships, with 60 per cent saying they would be more likely to use a company if they knew it stored all its customer data in a secure London location. Three quarters (75 per cent) of consumers are also more likely to provide personal information if they know the company stores its information in a secure UK location.

The primary concern is privacy laws – with 69 per cent admitting they would worry if they knew that their personal information was being held in countries that had different data protection laws to the UK. Of these, 44 per cent would be most worried about their personal data if stored in Africa, followed by Asia (18 per cent) and Eastern Europe (17 per cent). In addition, 67 per cent would worry if they knew that their personal information was being held in countries that had different security requirements to the UK.

The good news for businesses is that this level of awareness is driving demands for more information about a company’s data storage policies – and the younger generation is even more likely to be swayed by an organisation’s data location strategy. 72 per cent of 25 to 54 year olds confirm they would have more trust in an organisation that provided information about where it stored data – this rises to 87.8 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds.

There is a clear message here for UK organisations. Consumers want to know that their data is stored in the UK and they will be far more confident about interacting and sharing with those businesses that proactively communicate data storage policies.

There are significant opportunities for organisations to build brand value and improve customer confidence by promoting key aspects of the data location and security strategy.

Jonathan Arnold, Managing Director of Volta Data Centres