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Why regional cloud hosting matters

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible)

Cloud-based hosting services are becoming increasingly popular in 2020. A recent analysis by ZK Research suggests that over 80 percent of new contact center deployments will be built on hybrid or private cloud infrastructure. This presents a major shift from traditional on-site deployment. And at first glance, it would be easy to assume that cloud-hosting is a region-independent process. 

Data can be hosted on international servers, traveling to exactly where it’s needed in a fraction of a second. In the end, one of the main benefits of migrating to the cloud is its ability to minimize the amount of local storage and computing resources you require. 

Performance and latency concerns 

However, cloud hosting isn’t quite this 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. 

Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and beyond: location & compliance 

This becoming an increasingly important consideration with the introduction of regulatory framework such as the GDPR, 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 

Because of these increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, it’s becoming more and more important to choose a cloud storage provider with in-country data storage. A great example of a quality choice is Avaya, an industry leader in contact center and unified communications technology which currently services over 100 million worldwide users—including 95 percent of Fortune 1000 and 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies. 

Recently, Avaya ReadyNow was rolled out across the world. This included the creation of a range of Avaya-hosted data centers in the EMEA. These are designed to extend APAC and US services, supporting the ongoing migration to the cloud. Through our in-region and in-country cloud storage solutions, we offer improved performance and low latency while supporting businesses in achieving local compliance and endpoint security goals. 

As shown by the recent study completed by ZK Research, 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.