Storing your data in the cloud has many benefits that we’re probably all aware of. It means that you can access data across devices and no matter where you are, providing you have an internet connection. It also means that you have a single, synced copy of data, rather than having different versions floating around.
But when it comes to storing your data in the cloud, something that needs to be considered is where this data is physically held. If the data isn’t actually within the same country as the business or the person accessing it, there’s a lot of different factors to consider.
Firstly, and perhaps the most important, is that each country has their own rules and regulations when it comes to data storage. For example, the EU dictates that any data stored outside of the EU needs to follow their requirements when being transferred. While this particular example offers strong security, it’s not always the case across the globe. There might be some countries where the law isn’t satisfactory; storing your data within their borders bounds it by their regulations, so be wary.
On top of this, you also need to know whether it’s actually legal to send your data abroad in the first place. Your country’s regulations might mean that the type of data you hold, like customer information, has to remain onshore.
"When a business decides to go into the cloud, they have to look at the sensitivity of their information and decide what level of security the cloud provider must have," says Anthony Wong, an intellectual property lawyer. “Businesses should address it right from the start, establishing what the expectations are in terms of levels of service and expectations about ownership of the data. Courts are not likely to be understanding just because your data is in the cloud.”
Generally speaking, the further away your data is the longer it’ll take to upload and download to it. That’s not necessarily always true because there are many other elements to consider, but you can bet that accessing data from a server in the same country is going to be quicker than one across the globe. While a few seconds additional access time for a single bit of data might not seem that much, if you’re trying to access huge amounts of data then it becomes more of a headache. Though it might be cheaper to store in particular locations, you should always account for usability – if your users aren’t getting a good experience, the cost savings probably aren’t worth it.
Branching from this comes the need to access your entire data set in an offline format. Though hopefully you’ll never need to perform data recovery, it can happen to anyone. If there is a mass amount of data you need to restore, it’s often quicker to get this from an offline storage format rather than pulling it from the cloud and straining bandwidth and network resources. If your cloud storage provider is nearby, then you’re going to get your offline copy much quicker and securely than if it was overseas.
Storing Your Cloud Data Overseas
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