In 2019, more and more businesses are actively looking at cloud delivered services to host their core business platforms. For example, analysis from ZK Research shows that 80% of future contact center deployments will be either private cloud or hybrid cloud; a significant migration from the current on premise majority. In considering a cloud computing environment, it would be easy to assume that your data is almost region-free.
It can be hosted in a server internationally, travelling swiftly around the globe to wherever the data needs to be at that moment and you can efficiently access it remotely. After all, migrating to online storage, freeing up space and resources locally, is one of the notable benefits of the cloud.
Rick Hawkes is an Engineering Manager at Avaya.
Performance and latency concerns
However, there’s more to cloud hosting than meets the eye. Beyond straightforward performance considerations – data centers in the same country will typically have lower latency, resulting in better cloud performance – it’s also important to remember that data comes with regulatory and compliance obligations, which can be a vital factor in choosing your cloud service provider and cloud storage location.
Indeed, it is clear that cloud could also offer companies the opportunity to mitigate the increasing costs of regulation, compliance, testing and security as they digitize their businesses.
Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and beyond: location & compliance
This is especially true within the context of regulation such as GDPR, which has specific conditions for the transfer of personal data outside of EU/EEA member states. Chapter five of the GDPR lists two conditions whereby data transfers outside of member states are permitted. Firstly, where the European Commission has determined that a third-country has sufficient data protection laws. And secondly, where such a decision does not exist, it is up to the data controller and processer to provide appropriate safeguards, in line with the law, to protect EU residents’ data.
The transfer of data between the EU and US is also no default, process-free, matter. With the reversal of the ‘Safe Harbor’ framework for data transfer in 2015 and the introduction of a new system in 2016, ‘Privacy Shield’, US companies wishing to transfer data have to register annually and organisations must respond to consumers within 45 days of receiving any complaint, with processes facilitated by a dedicated ombudsperson. This again reflects the extent to which data location and transfer protocols can be vital considerations in terms of cloud storage management and data compliance for businesses.
Data storage for highly regulated industries
The location of data storage is not only a regional consideration. It is also a particular consideration for businesses in highly regulated industries. For example, in financial services, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published guidance to firms on outsourcing to the cloud. This encourages firms to “agree a data residency policy with the provider… which sets out the jurisdictions in which the firm’s data can be stored, processed and managed”. Under the guidelines, firms must ensure that cloud providers don’t store data “in jurisdictions that may inhibit effective access to data for UK regulators.”
Choosing a local cloud data storage partner
For many businesses, it’s therefore critical to choose a cloud solutions partner who can offer in-country data storage, with the data sovereignty benefits that brings. At Avaya, we’re proud to be a market leader in unified communications and contact center with over 100 million users worldwide; serving 90% of Fortune 100 and 95% of Fortune 1000 companies.
With the global rollout of Avaya ReadyNow, new Avaya-hosted data centers have been recently launched in EMEA to extend US and APAC services, so the migration to cloud is well underway and accelerating. By providing in-country and in-region data storage solutions we’re able to provide our customers with the benefits of performance, with low latency, and enable enterprises based in these locations the ability to address local endpoint security and compliance requirements.
As analysis from ZK Research has shown, demand for cloud-based services can only be expected to grow in future. So when choosing your next cloud solutions provider, it’s important to plan ahead. You may need to consider questions such as: where will my data be stored? And will that deliver the performance, compliance and flexibility I need to adapt and grow, allowing for both present and future business needs? The answers to these questions will be critical, as much like choosing a home, for many businesses when it comes to cloud storage, it’s all about location, location, location.
Rick Hawkes is an Engineering Manager at Avaya.
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