A new trend is developing in the hosting industry whereby more and more global suppliers are using data centres located in Switzerland to host their IT applications and store customer data. Some of the reasons for this new development have been outlined below.
Switzerland is often viewed internationally as representing the following values – stability, neutrality, discretion and trustworthiness based on its banking history. For example Swiss law is often used in international contracts by non-European customers when there is a disagreement about which law is to apply to the contract.
Currently many global companies use data centres located in the USA. However, when dealing with European customers, suppliers often encounter problems with customer concerns about the application of the Patriot Act, a US law which permits US authorities to access customer data stored in the USA under certain circumstances.
An additional benefit of using a Swiss data centre is that generally data stored in Switzerland is not traceable to a named person, but only to a number.
Safe Harbor not Adequate
Increasingly customers, particularly in Germany, are raising concerns about the adequacy of the safe harbor status of US data centres, as this certification is seen as little more than a paper exercise which in practice does not actually equate to European levels of data protection.
Compliance with EU Data Protection Laws
An added advantage of using Swiss data centres is that Switzerland is accepted by the EU as having equivalent protection to EU data protection laws. Therefore no additional consents are required from customers to enable the supplier to store and process customer data in Switzerland.
Although English is not one of the official languages of Switzerland, it is widely spoken and is the language of preference for business transactions. In addition French, German and Italian are official languages providing the added bonus of suppliers being able to request services in any or all of the four languages, if required. This makes Switzerland very attractive to global companies who are often wary of hosting outside of their territory due to language barriers.
Companies who now Host in Switzerland
For the above reasons many global companies are starting to relocate their hosting services to Switzerland for the above reasons. For example Swift, Yahoo and Hewlett Packard now have data centres in Switzerland.