We are increasingly becoming used to the idea of data as something intangible and this often means overlooking the importance of datacentre location. Some businesses even make choices about service providers without any information about where datacentres are likely to be - or even which country they are situated in. This is not a wise move. It's crucial to protect and optimise data for any business and there are a number of reasons why the physical location of the datacentre has an important role to play in that.
Latency and optimum data speeds
Location can have a big impact on factors such as latency and data speeds. Whatever your business does it's likely to be important to be able to rely on swift data transfer. This is particularly so when it comes to something like website performance, as users will quickly switch off if page loading is slow. For example, if your customer base is largely based around London and surrounding counties but you're using a datacentre that is located in Italy, every time customers want to access your data it will need to cover the 1,100 odd miles between the two countries. This will inevitably be a slower process than accessing data at a datacentre in, or just outside, the city.
Data protection regulation
The GDPR arrived in the UK in May 2018, introducing a stringent new set of conditions for the storage and processing of data. The protection provided by the GDPR can create issues for datacentres located outside of Europe where the transfer of data to and from a specific jurisdiction could be problematic. Those businesses keen to avoid regulatory problems need to bear local data protection laws in mind when choosing datacentre locations in order minimise red tape and the potential for costly fines.
What many people don't know is that the geo-IP location of a company server impacts on Google rankings, as they take into account where data is physically stored. It's not the most influential element of SEO but does still have a part to play. For businesses targeting mostly UK customers there are SEO benefits to ensuring that data is stored as close to home as possible.
Although there has been a lot of press about government access to confidential or sensitive data we still don't know that much about how extensive that access really is. However, what's obvious is that there are some countries in the world where governments are not held to account for helping themselves to data access and this is done much more freely. For example, in the US, data laws make it much easier for any data, no matter how confidential or sensitive it is, to be accessed by government agencies, often without the knowledge of the business that data belongs to.
These are just some of the reasons why choosing the right location for a datacentre is important. Today, the decision is not just about cost but bearing these other factors in mind as well.
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