Blogpost from development

A shift in hosting strategy

How hosting provider independence is a win-win for our clients and us
Anders IngemannAnders Ingemann

Anders Ingemann

Operations Manager at Orbit Online A/S

(Data) location, location, location

Do you know where your data is stored, and whether your hosting provider is the right fit for you? It’s all about location, and how the right provider will make your choice worthwhile.

After the Schrems II ruling of July 2020, our clients at Orbit Online became increasingly curious about where their data was physically stored and which legal entity owned and managed the equipment on which their data was hosted.

Changes in compliance law, no matter if it’s within the EU (GDPR) or outside (CLOUD Act), can trigger internal changes that can be near impossible to implement - such as moving to a completely different hosting provider.

A hosting strategy - ready for the future

At Orbit we prioritise handling data efficiently, safely, and reliably. We dedicate a considerable amount of time to make sure that our clients’ data does not end up in the wrong hands – or at government entities of foreign countries.
To that end we decided to future-proof our hosting strategy to not only comply with current GDPR regulation but to also ensure no future court cases based on it would force us to adjust reactively (rather than just being prepared and already compliant).

We set out to achieve this goal by implementing a provider independent hosting strategy.

The challenge - Fool's gold features!

Hosting providers are skilled at building services that simultaneously help the customer and themselves: unique features improve the efficiency and security of their offerings while also increasing the cost of switching to a different provider (vendor lock-in). When building Orbit, we were of course aware of these “fool’s gold” features and avoided them where it made sense.

Nevertheless, these new challenges were the impetus for us to bring our work on being provider independent to its conclusion: our Operations Manager built the required services that abstracted away provider specific features while ensuring an identical or, in certain situations, improved level of reliability and security.

The end result was a widening of our hosting offering to a legal entity based in Europe, specifically Germany.

What’s the impact for our clients?

This hosting strategy has multiple benefits:

  • We are now able to provide our clients with data storage that is not only GDPR compliant but also ensures protection from court orders outside the EU
  • It is a great long-term investment – for us and for our clients – knowing that, regardless of future legislation, our provider in Germany is subject to the exact same legislation
  • Our clients are not forced to scramble for a new solution once any legislation that governs their data inevitably enters its next evolutionary step
  • We have confirmed that our hitherto theoretical policy of provider independence works on a practical level

What’s the key takeaway?

We don’t know what will happen next with regards to data agreements between Europe and the USA, which is why we needed a long-term solution to our hosting issues. A solution that we know will protect our clients’ sensitive data.

For us, it was the right choice to invest in a solution that provides stability for both us and our clients and is adaptable when needed. Regardless, now is the time to look at your current hosting provider and decide whether they will be able to meet your needs in the long run.

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