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A report from Japan’s NTT Communications suggests that recent revelations about US National Security Agency’s cyber-surveillance have changed the buying habits of many companies looking for a global host.  

The survey quizzed 1,000 ICT decision-makers in France, Germany, Hong Kong, the UK and the US. It found that nearly nine in ten (88%) of ICT decision-makers are changing their buying behavior. About a third (38%) have amended their procurement conditions.

Now only 5% of purchasers of hosting services believe location does not matter, with the problem of storing company data and the local regulations affecting it, cited as the primary concern.

As a result, 31% of ICT decision-makers have already made their minds up to move their data to locations where the business knows it will be safe for surveillance, according to the report.

The vast majority of companies now seek to host their data within their own national boundaries, the survey suggests.

Of the ICT decision makers in the EU, 97% said they would only use a hosting service from their own region. In the US, the figure was 92%.

One legal advisor to IT buyers told DatacenterDynamics why companies would be advised to shop for a local host.

“The NSA could get access to my data wherever it’s stored,” Mark Lewis, head of commercial at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, said.

This access is a consequence of the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act channels and because technology suppliers might give access to the NSA unwittingly via chips that have deliberate vulnerabilities, he said.

“A US hosting company operating in the UK or EU may therefore not be the right choice if I were concerned about the NSA accessing my data,” Lewis said.

“I would then want to have my data hosted by a UK or European supplier, with no or insignificant US links, and I would need then to understand that my data was being processed only in the UK or EU.”

These days, according to Lewis, customers will want their supplier’s technology to be as secure as it could be from penetration by any governmental organization anywhere.

“I would want a contract with the supplier to back that up,” Lewis said.

One European based hosting company said it has seen domestic interest pick up since Edward Snowden’s wikileaks uncovered the cyber surveillance tactics of the NSA.

“We have seen a rise in enquires from cloud providers wishing to locate their servers outside the UK and US because of customer demand,” said Jonathan Evans, international accounts director for Green Mountain data centers.