US SaaS firm bows to Snowden concerns with UK-based datacentre

Clarizen sets Euro customers' minds at rest

Project management as a service vendor Clarizen will open a European datacentre this summer as it seeks to assure customers here that the US government will not rifle through their Gantt charts whenever they feel like it.

The San Mateo-based firm will partner with Equinix to serve European customers from an Amsterdam-based datacentre. It will also open a second site in London for disaster recovery. This mirrors its US operation, which has its datacentre on the West Coast with disaster recovery on the East Coast.

Issues of latency and redundancy are no doubt part of the rationale for the move, but increased prickliness by some European customers about data protection and privacy were also behind the move, CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski told The Register. This is hardly a surprise when if you’re using Clarizen to underpin the management of and collaboration around your organisation’s most strategic initiatives.

“Lots of customers in this region are concerned about having the facility located in the US … The issue of privacy, it’s a big issue here in Europe,” Nowogrodski said.

And while the US and Europe have always had somewhat divergent approaches to privacy and data protection, the Edward Snowden disclosures of two years ago has exacerbated concerns about how secure corporate data is once it moves outside the European Union.

“People here feel the the US government can access it [data held in the US] any given time,” said Nowogrodski. “When it’s here, they feel they can’t.”

Of course, there’s an element of perception here. Much of the intrusive activity disclosed by Snowden was carried out with the cooperation of vendors and service providers. One of the known-unknowns in the equation would be the extent to which the US - or other actors - could intrude without the connivance or knowledge of providers.

Clarizen officially incorporated in the UK in 2014, and opened an office in the West End of London earlier this year. However, it has serviced customers here for a while, including Alder Hey Children’s’ Hospital and Bucks County Council. ®

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