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Why regional cloud hosting matters

two men walking and talking in a server room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to the best web hosting services available, the best cloud hosting is growing increasingly popular. In 2020, ZK Research found that over 80% of new contact center deployments were to be built on hybrid or private cloud infrastructure. 

Such a major shift from traditional, on-site deployment looks, at first glance, like businesses are assuming that cloud hosting is a region-independent process. It would be easy to assume that, given that data hosted on international servers can travel exactly where it's needed in next to no time.

However, at the end of the day, one of the top benefits of cloud migration is the ability to minimize the amount of local storage and computing resources you require, and there are issues that you should be aware of when it comes to cloud hosting. We explain more below.

Performance and latency concerns 

woman stood with laptop outside server room

Data center proximity must be considered alongside local legal requirements (Image credit: Unsplash)

Cloud hosting isn’t simple. Alongside performance and reliability factors—for example, ensuring your data center is close to the majority of your traffic—you need to remember that all data is subject to a number of legal requirements. This is an extremely important consideration when selecting a cloud hosting provider and service region. 

In fact, using cloud hosting correctly presents great opportunities when it comes to minimizing the ever-increasing costs associated with security, compliance, regulation, and ongoing testing as more and more businesses move online. 

GDPR and beyond: location and compliance 

eu gdpr graphic

Since it came into force, the GDPR regulates EU member states' personal data transfers (Image credit: Getty)

This becoming an increasingly important consideration particularly when it comes to the best European hosting providers, with the introduction of regulatory framework such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which controls the movement of sensitive personal information away from EEA/EU member states. 

In chapter five of the GDPR, you can find the two exceptions that allow data to be moved out of the region. First, it’s completely okay to transfer data to another country or region that the European Commission has decided is covered by appropriate data protection regulations. 

Secondly, data can be transferred outside of the EU/EEA, as long as the processor and party in control of it implement appropriate security measures to secure the information of EU residents. 

Meanwhile, it can be quite hard to move data between the EU and the USA. In 2015, the existing ‘Safe Harbor’ framework was removed, and in 2016, it was replaced by the ‘Privacy Shield’ system. Annual registration is required for any US company that wants to transfer data, and any consumer complaints must be rectified within 45 days. 

This serves as a prime example of the way that data location and local regulations could (and should) impact your choice of cloud hosting. 

Data storage for highly regulated industries 

Businesses in certain highly regulated industries need to pay special attention to the relevant data storage laws to ensure they aren’t storing or using information illegally.

For example, financial services businesses in the UK are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which provides clear guidelines for outsourcing data storage to the cloud. 

It suggests that businesses should “agree a data residency policy with the provider … which sets out the jurisdictions in which a firm’s data can be stored, processed, and managed”.  It also states that data can’t be stored “in jurisdictions that may inhibit effective access to data for UK regulators”.  

Choosing a local cloud data storage partner 

Computer racks in Data Center

Thinking about cloud data location is a key part of considering storage and hosting (Image credit: Getty/Arctic-Images)

Because of these increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, it’s becoming more and more important to choose one of the best cloud storage providers with in-country data storage. 

As shown by the ZK Research study, cloud-based storage and hosting services are only expected to grow in popularity over the next few years. With this in mind, you need to keep the future in mind when you’re choosing a new cloud provider. 

There are a few questions that you might need to think about, including in which country or region will my data storage be located? And will this location ensure the level of performance and flexibility I need now and in the future while ensuring I remain compliant with the relevant regulations? 

Finding the answers will help you choose the right cloud storage provider. Remember, location does matter. 


Further reading on web hosting and cloud storage

If you have next to no budget, learn about reducing cloud storage costs. If cloud computing interests you beyond storage and hosting, look into the best cloud computing services, the best cloud management software, and the best cloud HCM software.

Establish how your web hosting impacts security, and avoid common hosting mistakes when you look for a host. Learning more about web hosting security, domain privacy, and how hosting can affect SEO can help you to make the right choice too.

Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specializes in tech and finance, with a particular focus on website building, web hosting, and related fields.