Before you choose an IT service provider, you should ask where your data will be stored. Storing data on your personal computer is very different to storing data in a ‘cloud’. The cloud means ‘no fixed address’. Your data could be in your building, somewhere in Australia, or anywhere in the world. This matters if you store 1) private business data or 2) confidential information about your clients or any of their personal information.
Firstly, in Australia, privacy laws require you to keep your clients’ confidential data secure. If your data is stored offshore, this might not be possible. Understand that privacy laws of a foreign country may be either different to our own, or even non-existent. Yours and your clients’ data may therefore be insecure. Furthermore, if your offshore data storage is breached or hacked, don’t expect leniency under Australian law. The Australian Privacy Act has quite specific rules about your responsibilities.
What if your service provider is located offshore, but with a local office in Australia? Once again, don’t assume that there is no transfer of data offshore. Head offices located offshore, may from time-to-time require personal data for billing and administrative purposes.
Second, regardless of where your data is stored, no one can guarantee it will be 100% safe. For this reason the Australian government’s Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, released the mandatory Notifiable Data Breach Scheme in July 2017. This means that if your data is deliberately hacked or accidentally disclosed, you are required to report the breach. The following is a link to the relevant government website: https://www.oaic.gov.au/media-and-speeches/statements/mandatory-data-breach-notification. Such obligations may or may not apply to offshore data hosts, but this does not release you from your own responsibilities to maintain your client data securely.
All Incarta’s cloud storage is located in Melbourne, Australia. We use Next DC data centres. Next DC is a market leader in data centre technology, and their newest facility, located at Tullamarine is Australia’s first and only Tier 4 security facility. When you engage Incarta, you can be confident that the data you entrust us with is stored securely and within Australia where it belongs.