"Contrast Microsoft's actions with those of Yahoo, who have been subject to the same requests from the NSA as Microsoft," Hooker says. "In Yahoo's case, they decided to fight the NSA's requests. Yahoo has recently won a fight with the US government to unseal a court decision dating from 2008 forcing Yahoo to hand over customer data to the NSA's PRISM program. So not all companies were as happy as Microsoft to assist the NSA's intelligence gathering.
"There are serious privacy issues involved in selecting an off-shore cloud provider; then there are the support issues. Are you as a business owner, CIO or IT manager able to get hold of your cloud provider for support at 3am on a Sunday morning if you need to? Or will you be left on your own to do support for someone else's application?
"By choosing a cloud provider located in your region you can cover off one of the most important questions raised by cloud customers: where is my data stored? You can also minimise the number of opportunities for you to lose access to your data due to network problems, as well as limiting the risk of your data falling into the wrong hands. The trust question is much more complex but anyone considering out-sourcing their IT requirements to the cloud needs to fully trust their provider."
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