Why Canadian businesses are turning to cloud-based data storage

Rogers Communcations SVP Charlie Wade talks about the climbing cost of storing your own data—and why borders still matter

An employee checking equipment at a data centre

(Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty)

Small to mid-sized businesses across Canada are faced with a problem—they’re collecting more data than ever before, and they need somewhere to store it. While many have their own in-house servers to do the job, these can require frequent maintenance, and, consequently, plenty of cash. To cut down on those costs, companies are increasingly turning to cloud-based data storage. Amazon Web Services was a pioneer in such low-cost data warehousing and remains one of the biggest providers, but for a variety of reasons—whether because companies want additional technical support or because regulations require them to store their data within Canada’s borders—many are looking around for other options. Rogers Communications (which owns Canadian Business) unveiled a new one today— the Rogers Public Cloud. We asked the company’s SVP of products and solutions, Charlie Wade, what Canadian companies are looking for from their cloud-computing providers now:

What have you been hearing from Canadian businesses about what they’re looking for in a cloud-based service? What’s important to them?

Cost and security are the two main things that we’re hearing. We see a real worry about the increasing cost of storing data. Businesses are collecting more and more data—about their customers, about their operations—and they’re looking to store that on the cloud. They’re worried about the cost of that storage, as the amount of information they’re looking to store grows. The second thing they’re worried about is security—are they going to be compromised in any way? They want to make sure that the information that they have is secure.

Your service stores data in Canadian data-centre facilities. Why should that matter to Canadian companies?

The major reason it’s important is that Canadians are becoming increasingly worried about their data being accessed by foreign agencies. There’s a lot of concern about the U.S. PATRIOT Act, and the ability of federal bureaus to get access to their data.

That’s one area of concern. The other is that, from a Canadian economic point of view, over 40% of the revenue in cloud technology flows out of our country to other areas of the world—mostly the U.S., but to other countries as well. So from a Canadian economic point of view, we believe that it’s important to keep that activity in Canada.

What kind of companies would be interested in this kind of product?

We’re looking to serve those companies that already have their own existing servers, who are finding they’re having to tie up a lot of capital in their in-house solutions. They have to buy bigger machines, with more storage, and that’s becoming a runaway expense for them. What a solution like ours offers is storage that is cost-effective—our research shows that our service is two to three times cheaper than building your own in-house solution.

By using a service like ours, companies aren’t tying up their cash flow—and that’s very important for small to mid-sized businesses.