The Snowden revelations could have some companies here keeping their data north of the border

Canadian and British businesses are less likely to store their data in the U.S. as a result of the recent revelations that the country’s National Security Agency may be able to bypass security at many data centres.

According to Vancouver-based Peer 1 Hosting, which offers data centre services here and in the U.K., a survey it paid for showed 25 per cent of 300 companies questioned said they will move their data outside the U.S. due to NSA-related security concerns.

Of the Canadian companies surveyed, one-third said they will move data away from the U.S.

On the other hand, Peer 1 acknowledged that the U.S. remains the most popular place for companies surveyed to host data outside their home countries.

The survey is the latest piece of evidence hosting companies use in arguing that the recent revelations from former NSA contract Edward Snowden is somewhat shaking the faith of foreign organizations in using service providers in the U.S.

News stories based on documents provided by Snowden suggest the NSA can access customer data held by Yahoo, Google and other cloud providers.

That led to a report in August by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation that the U.S. cloud computing industry could lose up to US$35 billion dollars over the next three years because of reports about the NSA’s capabilities.

American companies met with President Barak Obama to demand Washington make it clear to the world that U.S. providers don’t co-operate with intelligence agencies.

On the other hand, more recent interviews with industry experts suggests the impact to U.S. service and cloud providers so far has been minimal.

The Peer 1 data could support that. While 21 per cent said they will move data outside the U.S. as a result of the revelations, and 52 per cent said it has make them less likely to use a public cloud for corporate data storage, 83 per cent said agreed “the NSA surveillance scandal did not surprise me.”

Prior to the revelations, 63 per cent of the 150 Canadian companies surveyed said their company had data stored in the U.S.

When Canadian and U.K. decision makers were asked if they trusted the U.S. as a location for hosting data, 45 per cent said yes (compared to 77 per cent for the U.K., 64 per cent for Switzerland, 67 per cent for Germany and 54 per cent for Canada.

Peer 1 said its survey shows 82 per cent of responding companies indicated that privacy laws are a top concern when choosing where to host their data. Further, 81 per cent want to know exactly where their data is being hosted.

The top three concerns for U.K. and Canadian businesses when choosing a hosting provider are now security (96 per cent), performance (94 per cent) and reputation (87 per cent). Nearly 70 per cent of respondents agreed they would sacrifice performance to ensure data sovereignty.

Peer1 is owned by Montreal’s Cogeco Cable Inc.

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