Your data centre location is a critical factor, whether you choose to build your infrastructure in-house or prefer to rely on an outsourcing service.
If it is true that you shouldn’t worry about the distance of the IT infrastructure from the company premises, it’s also true that not all options are the same in terms of risks and their socio-political environment.
Your data centre location is crucial because it determines both the technological capabilities, its costs and the quality of governance of the data infrastructure. But what are the main factors to consider? These range from economic, political and social aspects as well as technological factors. Let's take a look:
1. Political stability
At first glance, the host country’s political situation may seem unimportant when building an IT infrastructure. But as with any investment, it’s best practice to choose a safe country where the government is stable, political conflicts remain within the bounds of the democratic arena and the use of violence is rare, if not nonexistent.
But how do we evaluate this without spending months studying the country’s history and the intricacies of its current events? This is where international analysts come in. A good measure to use is the index of political stability and absence of violence, which is a ranking developed annually by the World Bank.
2. Economic convenience
The low costs of raw materials and labour, as well as applied taxes, are clearly factors that any entrepreneur would include in his or her analysis when evaluating an investment.
Even in the case of your data centre location, you should consider energy costs, the cost of the IT infrastructure itself and staffing costs. You should also consider that that higher costs could also afford you with higher quality service or facilities and therefore provide the best guarantee of security and business continuity.
Another cost to consider should be the price of real estate. When comparing the economic value of each market, a good approximation to use as a benchmark is the global competitiveness index, also provided by the World Bank.
3. Regulatory context
In this area, we’re mainly looking at the attention paid to the right of privacy in different countries, as well as the presence or absence of a data protection law. Here, it’s important to compare the situation of each specific country with existing international best practices.
But that’s not all. It’s also worth considering the efficiency of the judicial system, which will allow any disputes to be resolved quickly and justly. When speaking of privacy, we also can’t and shouldn’t ignore the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the new European regulation, that has taken effect from 25 May 2018, when choosing the location of your IT infrastructures.
4. Technological innovation
The level of connectivity and the reliability of the country’s power infrastructure are the two key pillars for a secure and ever-functioning data center. It’s important to locate the data collection center in a country that always remains at the frontier of innovation, encouraging the spread of the most innovative and performing technologies. To help ascertain which countries are best suited, the World Economic Forum’s annual ranking of countries based on the internet bandwidth and the level of connectivity, can be consulted.
5. Availability of a qualified workforce
Having a high-quality and reliable outsourcing service also happens through its dependence on qualified personnel, from technical through managerial roles, as well as security specialists. Setting up your infrastructure in a country with a reputable higher education system that provides highly skilled resources will ensure better recruits by your provider, thus offering greater guarantees to client companies such as yours.
One final advice
Choosing your data center location can be a complex task and not to be taken lightly. Geographical factors can influence and have a significant impact both on costs and on the security and quality of the outsourcing service.
Italian and international research can offer us an opportunity to understand the current situation. For example, the comparative analysis among the main European countries carried out by ICT4Executive in 2015 puts Switzerland in first place in economic, political, social and technological aspects just described. This is why Switzerland is frequently chosen by large international companies as the location for their data centre.