The Global interconnection and data centre company released the survey results at the official Equinix Lands in Ireland event at The Marker Hotel in Dublin yesterday.
The survey was commissioned in May 2016 by Equinix Ireland and carried out by TechBeat among 137 senior IT decision makers in Irish-based businesses which were typically larger enterprises.
The findings show that Irish-based business leaders are confused about data transfer regulations surrounding data privacy following Safe Harbour’s invalidation by the European Court of Justice in October 2015.
When asked if they have a clear understanding of the current state of EU-US data regulations and what they mean for their business, some 60% of respondents answered ‘no’. For Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies, that figure increased to 80%.
Data protection is now among the leading reasons why businesses choose to host in Ireland. Some 40% of respondents said data protection features in their top three drivers to host here. That is followed by proximity to their business (37%). Furthermore, strict legal rules around data localisation in certain countries (such as Russia and China) are not found in Irish data protection laws, which further consolidate the “Irish hosting preference”. In a similar survey last year, data protection did not feature in the top reasons to host in Ireland.
Forty one per cent of respondents are planning on changing how they host their data in the next two years, with 28% of those saying they plan to move to a cloud solution.
The average spend by respondents on hosting data in the past 12 months was €160,000– the same figure as last year and 74% of overall respondents said recent announcements regarding the location of data centres in Ireland from some of the world’s leading internet companies has made them more likely to consider an Irish data centre to host their digital assets.
Managing Director of Ireland and Emerging Markets at Equinix, Maurice Mortell said, "Ireland is continuing to showcase itself as a prime location to host data and our data protection laws are adding to that story."
He added, "Our survey shows that as the role of data becomes ever more valuable to businesses, IT decision-makers want assurance that their digital assets are in safe hands. In Ireland, we can guarantee that."