Canadian cloud services users have always had to be cautious in their choice of providers if they want to make sure that their data remains in Canada and subject to Canadian legislative jurisdiction.
While using a Canadian data centre is always possible for some companies or branches there are reasons they wish to make use of one of the biggest players like Microsoft, Google and AWS. It may be a corporate contract or standard which precludes using a more localized supplier or it may have something to do with familiarity or price. Whatever the reason if Amazon was your preferred source until this recent opening your data and services would have been relegated to a US or other locale for operations.
With their announcement December 8th of the opening and current availability of a Canadian regional centre located in Montreal there is now a provision to host your operations in Canada through Amazon. The list of services available and the pricing for Canadian hosting is included with their products and services along with other worldwide regions.
The fact that the major corporate vendors of cloud services are recognizing a Canadian preference for keeping data local to the country is a good thing for Canadian citizens and companies. It means that there is no real need for the risk to be taken by any organization, especially governments and public service entities like health care, of hosting their operations where data being held will be moved outside of Canada.
When approached by software vendors, hosting vendors, Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors and others it is a very legitimate and compelling question for Canadian companies to ask that their data and the software being sued be host in Canada. This simply removes one level of risk from their customers who are based in Canada.
Of course the big international vendors are not the only source for cloud operations and hosting to be provided to Canadian companies and it may be better to find a regional or local Canadian based company to do your cloud activities for you. This becomes another piece of the IT design pie that every organization needs to consider in their IT planning.
The tacit endorsement of the Canadian market by the majors having established here is a reinforcement of the solid IT legislative field which permits reasonable operation of cloud and co-location based activities in Canada centres.
The final piece is for consumers to become aware that they may wish to look for consumer based cloud services which will permit their data to be held in Canada as well. This is tougher since many of these services are much less transparent than the commercial market may be.
Next time you look for cloud software, data storage, off site backup, hosting services or co-location services and you have a wish to retain your data and operations in Canada, you know now that you can and should give this every consideration.