It’s 2019 – do you know where your data center is? If not, your business might be in serious trouble.

If you have a website, the content is stored on a server that resides in a data center somewhere in the world. If you care about security and privacy, you need to know everything about your data center. For example, if you’re in the healthcare sector, your data center needs to be HIPAA compliant. Hosting your website on a server that doesn’t comply with HIPAA regulations will leave you with hefty fines in the event of a data breach. 

Unfortunately, in 2019, data breaches are rising. More than 59,000 data breaches have been reported since the EU’s GDPR regulations were passed in 2018. Plenty of fines have been dished out to multiple organizations, and Google was hit with a €50 million fine – the largest GDPR penalty yet.

If you want to avoid unexpected fines, it’s time to make sure your data center is compliant and secure.

Inferior data centers are susceptible to attack

Data centers are the prime target of many malicious attacks. Unsecure data centers are especially vulnerable to attacks. Some hackers destroy servers for fun, while others want private data like credit card information. Either way, one attack could destroy your website forever if you don’t save offsite backups. Worse, if a hacker obtains unencrypted private data, they could destroy your business.

Your chosen data center should follow privacy and encryption laws

Some businesses are bound by more privacy laws than others, so it’s imperative to find out what regulations control your industry. However, it’s never a bad idea to host your site with a data center that offers high-level encryption and security. 

You’re not stuck with the hosting options that pop up in Google’s search results. Most of those options will be shared hosting. If you’re serious about your business, you need a real data center. The best way to find a reliable data center is to talk to different companies to find out if they meet your needs. 

Don’t limit your search to your home country. You can host your website on any server anywhere in the world. In fact, there are plenty of reliable, secure data centers in Brisbane Australia that follow proper security protocols and guarantee 100% uptime. 

To find out what privacy and encryption laws your business is bound by, you’ll need to research your country’s laws as well as state, city, and local laws. Some countries require certain data to be encrypted at rest and in transit. 

While it’s not an exhaustive list, there are ten major privacy and encryption laws you should learn about. This list details several well-known and other lesser known laws including the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, Denmark’s Data Protection Regulation, European banking regulations, the European Union’s GDPR regulations, and HIPAA. Some regulations (like GDPR) apply to the whole world, despite originating in the EU.

Many data centers will be compliant with data privacy laws, with the exception of shared hosting.

Shared hosting plans are dangerous for businesses

You know those ads for cheap hosting plans that cost between $3-$10 per month when you pay for several years up front? There’s a reason for that low pricing – it’s all shared hosting. Shared hosting means you are sharing a server with potentially hundreds of other people. Everyone shares the same server resources. You don’t have access to anyone else’s files, but they’re all on the same computer. If that computer (server) gets hacked, everyone’s website is at risk. If one person’s website gets hacked in a way that hijacks server resources, all sites, including yours, will go down.

A hacker doesn’t need an existing vulnerable site to hack a shared hosting server. They can just sign up for a plan and use their own website to gain access to other sites on the server. Unfortunately, shared hosting plans don’t provide access to PHP and Apache configurations needed to harden the server. If you’ve got sensitive data stored on a website hosted on a shared server, it’s unlikely to be encrypted, which means you’re putting your customers at risk.

Know where your data center is before committing to a host

When you know where your data center is, you can verify that security and privacy laws are being implemented. If you can’t find out the location or name of the data center hosting your website’s files, it’s time to find a new host. It’s not worth the risk.