Data Residency – Does it Matter?


Data Residency is a subject that has become more popular over the past few years, but not everyone knows what it means yet, and not everyone agrees on its signficance.

“Data Residency” means where your data is physically stored. The rise of the cloud gave us the ability to store things anywhere on Earth (or elsewhere, theoretically), and then concerns began to rise about what country our sensitive data should be stored in.

For many businesses, this question does not seem important. There are some high tech companies who are prohibited by law from sending data to certain countries.  The USA has an internationally enforced law called ITAR. Government agencies and health care providers have been legally mandated in many cases to keep the patient/client data within the country’s borders. With the rise of the cloud, not everyone knew where the data was.

For an average business, the idea of having their pizza sales data shipped overseas for storage seems irrelevant, as long as the data is accessible when needed.

Residency is not limited to one place at a time. Clusters (like Google or Akamai for example) run in multiple places at the same time. If someone in Winnipeg types “ping” at the same time as someone in Toronto, they will each get a reply from a different machine that is in their own city. In many cases, even the IP address that responds will appear the same, but the reply still comes from within the same city.

The Internet has been built up and scaled in order to reach more people more consistently with less use of resources. In Canada, CIRA has helped make this happen by working with groups like MBIX.

If your target customers are located in Europe, why not use a server in Europe? If also you have customers in North America, why not have servers there in addition? Data residency can create efficiency and give better local performance for the person on the other end.

The reasons for dispersing data are to increase regional performance. The reasons for keeping data at home are for security, and for regulatory concerns.

If you are not sure about the pros and cons of your own situation, you may want to do some analysis based on your situation. 100% Helpdesk is well connected with industry groups with local and international experience and we can help you choose the best path to reach your customers.

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