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Choosing Where Your Data is Stored Globally: Does it Matter?

If you own and operate an enterprise, it might seem like a good idea to store your mission-critical data in remote locations and even other countries. As some of these foreign services advertise lower pricing plans and improved efficiency, the desire to switch cloud service or storage providers is all too tempting. However, there are a number of considerations that need to be addressed before moving all of your data to a remote, overseas location.

Type of Data

Firstly, consider the type of data you are working with. If you plan on using an international service provider to store personal information of your customers, for instance, know that many states will still require you to provide notification of any data breach that involves such personal information. In this case, it doesn't matter where the information is physically stored.

With this in mind, it's crucial that you understand all of the laws, regulations and standards that apply to your data. In the case of overseas data storage, your data might be routed through any number of other countries, thereby complicating matters even further and drawing a greater risk of a serious data breach or cyber-attack.

Availability of Technical Support

You'll also want to take into account the availability of any technical support staff members associated with your service provider. As some U.S. providers are consistently overwhelmed with support requests and tickets, it does make sense to seek out the services of a foreign support staff. The biggest problem with this, of course, is the potential language barrier you may face when communicating with your international service providers.

Furthermore, you'll want to consider their hours of availability, too. Whereas some providers offer 24/7 support availability, others do not. As such, it's critical that you familiarize yourself with their service hours as well as the available options for contacting a live support technician. Telephone, email and even live Internet chat are common options, though individual providers are able to pick and choose which methods they offer.

Overall Costs

Although your monthly or yearly subscription rates may be more affordable when using a foreign service provider, you have to weigh all of the costs, including those that are hidden, before making a final decision. The time required to transition your data from a domestic server to that of an international one, for instance, is something that many CIOs fail to consider before making the move.

Other costs aren't so obvious. As more and more companies begin migrating their data to international data centers, those that are located domestically are beginning to suffer. In fact, some industry experts estimate the cost of layoffs and other workforce-related issues as an additional 3 to 5 percent on top of your upfront costs.

Considering All the Factors

As you can see, there are a number of factors that need to be considered before moving your enterprise data overseas. While there certainly are a number of advantages in doing so, it's up to you to weigh the individual pros and cons that apply specifically to your enterprise.

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