One of the challenges for organizations wishing to use cloud services for their computing from a Canadian base has been the access to appropriate services based in the Canadian political jurisdiction. This has been especially true when considering Microsoft cloud services as up to now there were no Canadian based data centres run by Microsoft.
While the company has been promoting its Office 365 and Dynamic CRM Online for several years now any business using these services has had their resulting data stored somewhere in one of the other jurisdictions that had Microsoft data centres. Within the next couple of months this will begin to change as Microsoft has listed Canada as one of the locations where new data centre capability will be placed.
What is the issue?
For many organizations and much of the data that is stored having their information uniquely held in Canada may not have been a real problem. However, the more sensitive your data is, the more it is regulated by government controls in Canada, and the more Canadian that data is the stronger the case for keeping all of your cloud data 'at home' per se.
When a business collects information about customers, partners or other parties under Canadian law it is responsible for the protection of that data and for protecting the privacy rights of the persons or even organizations involved. Understanding that date centre management is a challenge for many organizations cloud services have become attractive for many to manage their data bases and information.
If that data remains in Canada only, then for the most part the only legislative jurisdiction that must be of concern is Canadian, either Federal or Provincial.
If the data leaves Canada and resides in some other political jurisdiction, say US or Ireland (both popular locations for Microsoft data centres) the legislative regime of those jurisdictions could become applicable to the storage and use of that data. If this conflicts with Canadian law issues could arise.
For charities and not for profits which build donor base lists and other potentially personal private data the risks associated with hold their data in non Canadian data centres are severe.
A Canadian Microsoft option
With the creation of Canadian resident data centres Microsoft has opened up its market in Canada to remove the above challenges and makes it much easier for them to be a consideration when Canadian organizations look at their cloud services operated under the Azure banner. This is good for Canadian organizations as it provides a strong offer.
Of course Microsoft is not the only operator of data centres and there are many successful Canadian resident cloud services which can provide the secure Canadian hosted option. The challenge has sometimes been in locating these (although several are associated with major Canadian telecom operators) and of course they may not have the presence that Microsoft provides.
In the end, Microsoft recognizing there is a need for and imperative to provide Canadian resident data systems is a good thing for the country and its data holders.