"The migration of US and Foreign cloud infrastructure to Canadian owned and operated data centers is becoming more common place and represents a unique opportunity for data center operators to expand their core business into the
world of cloud," said Robert Hart, CEO of the Canadian Cloud Council, which represents a number of cloud vendors working to encourage the use of the technology.
American-based software-as-a-service companies are often disappointed at the refusal of organizations here to subscribe to cloud services because personal data is held outside the country.
To combat that some U.S. providers are adopting a new strategy: Move north.
Soonr Inc., a file-sharing and collaboration service did that earlier this month, announcing it is leasing data centre space in Canada so it can service enterprises and governments here.
“We have data centres in the U.S. and one in the EU (European Union), and now we have one up in Canada,” said j.t. sison, Soonr’s vice-president of marketing.
“Now we’re able to provide that same level of security and respect the privacy laws that you have up in Canada – particularly for governments – information does not leave the country.”
According to experts, worries about whether personal data of Canadians sent south meets the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), or can be accessed by U.S. law enforcement authorities are two reasons organizations here haven’t rushed to subscribe to cloud services.
It isn’t a deal-breaker for some SaaS offerings – for example Gmail or Salesforce – where organizations feel little personal information is at risk, or the provider’s security is good enough.
In fact, Sison said Soonr has Canadian customers who thought its 256-bit encryption and other security measures met their needs.
“But more and more as we started to talk to businesses up in Canada they were saying ‘In order to work with us you really need to have your own data centre up here.’”
This is a trend, says David Senf, vice-president of IDC Canada’s infrastructure solutions group. IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp. and other U.S. and international cloud players are moving into the Canadian market to meet data residency concerns of organizations here for services they offer, he said in an email.
Most U.S.-based cloud providers tend to rent space from existing service providers or host facilities, he added, rather than build their own data centres.
That’s what Soonr did, leasing space in two data centres so data here is replicated.
Soonr, headquartered in Campbell, Calif., began in 2006 as a service to allow people to view documents on smart phones. But it evolved into a file-sharing and collaboration tool.
Most people share content such as reports by email, Sison said the company learned. But email is an inefficient way for doing that, particularly if the company’s documents regularly change, or if the documents include photos and video.