While a cloud without borders is the ideal that many cloud services providers wish to offer, there are certain issues with jurisdiction that can complicate the use of cloud computing for a multinational company. The main selling point of the cloud is that it allows users to connect to each other and to their data regardless of where they are. Cloud computing equals mobility. Unfortunately, national borders and jurisdiction mean quite the opposite and learning what they mean to your cloud is an essential part of establishing a cloud solution for your company.
The cloud allows data to transcend national borders
As has been seen in companies such as Shell and Apple, establishing a strong cloud network allows hundreds of thousands of employees all around the world to be able to access data and cloud services regardless of their location. For an energy company, this is especially important. For the Asian market in particular, especially in South Korea and Japan, that relies so much on mobile technology, being able to have full access to data and services anywhere you go is not absolutely essential. Pair this with a redundant system that is streamlined specifically for retrieving and storing data effectively, and you have a system that is hard to pass up.
The cloud is global by definition; regardless of where your company is, all you need is access to the Internet to be able to access important data that is closely safeguarded in the cloud. However, it is important to understand that global access, unexpectedly, requires your cloud provider to be local to be safest. Although, in theory, your cloud provider could be located anywhere in the world, making sure that your cloud provider is close to your company’s headquarters can save you numerous hassles when dealing with international jurisdiction and national borders.
How the cloud interacts with national borders
With more governments getting involved in regulating the cloud and using the cloud themselves for their own storage needs, the discussion of national borders and privacy laws has started to affect cloud services providers. This is especially true in areas that have dense national borders such as the European Union. However, the Asian market (with its wildly differing political systems) and the North American market, affected by regulation such as the Patriot Act in the United States, also has its own obstacles to overcome when it comes to cloud computing and international borders.
A solution that has worked well for companies in different European states, particularly in France, is investing heavily in local cloud services providers. While the data remains available anywhere in the world, where the data is headquartered is an important factor. For example, the Japanese corporate giant Fujitsu has headquartered its cloud services in France, with servers in Germany, and corporate offices in Japan. This leaves this company’s data out of reach of the United States patriot act while allowing the Japanese business to effectively cater to its European clients.
Where your cloud data resides matters
For many small and midsize businesses, considering the headquarters of their data is often not a priority. For these businesses, performance and price are usually the most important considerations. However, increased regulation and intervention by federal governments has led many IT professionals to add the location of their cloud services provider to the many factors that determine which company they choose to handle their cloud services. Apart from matters of security, working with a cloud services provider that shares your culture is also an important part of choosing the right service for your company.
One point that is often overlooked is the role of culture when it comes to cloud computing. Many companies will give preference to cloud service providers located in their own country and ensuring that your cloud services provider speaks your own language, is located in your own time zone, and is aware of a shared cultural background – are very important to them. This stands in stark contrast with one of the main selling points of cloud technology: its global appeal. Taking these considerations into account, IT professionals should consider:
- Where their data is stored,
- Where their cloud services company has its headquarters, and
- What their government’s policy is with regard to data that crosses national borders
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About the Guest Author:
Nida Rasheed is a freelance writer and owner of an outsourcing company, Nida often finds herself wanting to write about the subjects that are closest to her heart. She lives in Islamabad, Pakistan and can be found on Twitter @nidarasheed.