What to consider when deciding whether to keep your cloud data local or offshore?

Standard

I’m often asked if I should keep my data local and choose a cloud service provider who will keep my data local in Australia, OR should I go with an internationally hosted cloud provider (eg, Microsoft Office365 for Australia is hosted in Singapore)?

To answer this, I’ve listed some item you must consider before you decide whether overseas cloud data centres OR a local Australian based cloud data centres is best for your business:

  1. If you need physical access to your data, maybe due to the large data size or frequent changes necessary, unique access methods (health), etc, then local is your preferred choice.
  2. If you run software that is latency critical, eg, virtual desktops, video editing, CAD work, etc, then local is again preferred, as going offshore simply slows the experience, making it near unusable for your team.
  3. Do you need to upload/download large quantities of data in a short period of time? If so, then local again is your preferred choice, purely due to the data limits carriers can provide. Yet as bandwidth becomes faster and cheaper, this helps cut this barrier down.
  4. If a high level of uptime is what your business demands, then local is preferred, purely due to the maintenance windows introduced overseas, eg, their downtime scheduled at night their  time, which is often our day time. We have seen new clients with offshore cloud data come to us for help after experiencing outages for small periods of time during Australian business hours. Naturally this is not ideal and often frustrating to say the least.
  5. If you’re a government agency or a business with mandated regulatory requirements to maintain data onshore, then of course you have no choice but to remain local.

Finally, when the chips are down and you need help, make sure you can contact your service provider’s support team. Even though international providers are often cheaper and sometimes offer more capacity for a lower price, their 24/7 support offerings can be less desirable, especially when you need that immediate help. Best to align yourself with a business that matches your working hours to respond and assist when you need the help in real time.