Canadian Cloud Storage Providers: Which Providers Comply with Canadian Regulations?

obr2By Davis Porter — Last Updated: 16 Feb'17 2016-10-03T16:00:39+00:00
Canadian cloud storage providers

In North America, technology headlines have taken a decidedly political tone over the last couple of years, as ongoing debates simmer on issues such as:

  • privacy
  • copyright issues 
  • national security

Data storage plays an essential role because sensitive personal, corporate and government data is often the main target in espionage and hacking attempts.

In the past, adequate data security was mostly a matter of physical measures like cameras and mechanical reinforcement.

The Best Cloud Storage for Canada

After careful analysis of 23 Canadian cloud storage services, we concluded that www.sync.com offers the best value for money for most people (businesses and individuals) offering end-to-end encryption and storing files in the cloud like an external hard drive.

 

Rank Company Score Price Storage Link
1 Winner
$ 4.08 per monthAll Plans
500 GB www.sync.com

Nowadays, in this digitally saturated age, individuals, companies and the state itself are largely dependent on more complex security measures enforced on expansive remote data centers.

Unfortunately, although these measures are increasingly effective against external threats, they barely offer sufficient protection against insider threats like employees and third-party data handlers.

With this type of threat accounting for 43% of all data breaches, various governments, including Canada, have taken this issue up and implemented laws to protect user privacy, especially with data handled by third-party service providers.

Canada has decidedly been on the forefront, with both federal and provincial legislations applying to cloud storage providers, in a bid to protect user privacy and prevent illegal distribution of data.

Why Canadian Cloud Storage Providers Are Growing Tremendously

By now, you’re probably aware that data security is the greatest single concern among cloud users.

As a matter of fact, through a 2016 LinkedIn Cloud Security spotlight report that surveyed more than 300,000 respondents, it was established that cloud security is the biggest barrier to cloud adoption.

Nearly half of the IT specialists surveyed indicated that they were particularly concerned about data security, with 41% naming leakage risks and data loss as the prime impediments to cloud deployment.

The biggest players in the cloud storage industry have consequently responded by developing multi-layered security systems, to provide reinforced protection against external threats.

However, as we’ve already established, that’s not enough to guarantee ultimate data security.

And that’s where government legislation comes in.

As a result, the popularity of Canadian cloud storage service providers has recently grown tremendously, as businesses and individuals continue shifting their data to Canadian cloud servers.

All cloud storage providers based in Canada are expected to be compliant with federal and provincial data privacy laws, as stipulated within their respective territories.

Additionally, thanks to the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), all personally identifiable health information is kept secure and private at all times. 

This is especially critical to multinational organizations handling personal health data on various individuals.

And speaking of multinationals, it’s worth noting that these legislations further ensure that your data is not subjected to foreign law, like the controversial US Patriot Act.

So, which laws are we talking about here?

Legislation On Canadian Cloud Storage Providers

Federal Privacy Laws

Federal privacy laws have been enacted through two acts:

Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection

Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

The former, the Privacy Act, only applies to government institutions handling private citizens’ data.

The latter however, regulates how private organizations collect and handle personal and company data, making it the primary act governing cloud service providers.

That makes it invalid to cloud storage providers.

However, and rather interestingly, it’s only applicable to commercial organizations, leaving out charity groups, even when they gain money through fundraisers.

Since none of the cloud service providers fall into this group, it’s safe to assume that all of them are expected to be complaint with PIPEDA.

So, what’s so good about PIPEDA that it attracts organizations and individuals towards Canadian cloud storage providers?

To comprehensively address issues relating to data privacy and user rights, the act is essentially a set of 10 basic principles of fair information practices as follows:

Recourse: All the procedures of raising a complaint should be simple, straightforward, and conveniently accessible to all users.

Individual Access: You should be able to access personal and private information collected by cloud storage providers.

Openness: All the cloud storage terms should be available to all users, and written in an unambiguous, understandable language.

Safeguards: Your data should be stored in a secure manner, with the requisite protective measures.

Accuracy: Your information and data, as collected and stored by cloud storage providers, should be accurate and complete.

Limiting Use: Data submitted to cloud storage providers can only be used for storage purposes. Otherwise, additional consent should be sought.

Limiting Collection: Only necessary information about you can be requested by a cloud storage provider.

Consent: Your cloud storage provider should seek consent before collecting or backing up your data.

Identifying Purposes: Cloud storage providers should identify all intended purposes of stored data before the actual collection process.

Accountability: Cloud storage providers should prove to be accountable by dedicating resources to ensure ultimate data privacy, and openly communicating on all data handling policies.

Provincial Privacy Laws

To avoid double legislation, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta are exempted from PIPEDA, since they already have privacy laws that have been deemed substantially similar to the act.

Quebec has enacted its own, Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector, while British Colombia relies on its Personal Information Protection Act, which is almost similar to Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act.

Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Ontario, on the other hand, have enacted privacy laws on personal health information, which are almost similar to PIPEDA.

Top Canadian Cloud Storage Providers Complaint to Privacy Legislation

Now that we’ve established Canada’s commitment to guaranteeing data security and privacy, here is a list of Canadian cloud storage providers:

Canadian Cloud Services ProvidersServicesOperations BaseDescription
Sync.comIaaSTorontoFully encrypted, zero-knowledge cloud service that makes it easy to store, share and access your files from everywhere - your privacy guaranteed.
Bell Business SolutionsIaaS, PaaS, SaaSMontrealProvider of information and communications technology (ICT)solutions for medium and large businesses
cacloudIaaS
Vancouver, BC, Toronto
Provider of cloud hosting services and web hosting for business and enterprises
Canadian Web HostingIaaSVancouver, TorontoCloud hosting services
Radiant CommunicationsIaaS, PaaS, SaaSMontrealProvider of managed network and cloud hosting services for medium-size businesses in Canada
Cloud AIaaSHalifaxConverged cloud servers, SSD storage, and virtual networking as a service
Cloud PocketsIaaS, SaaSBritish ColumbiaKeeps your critical business data in Canada with an online backup. Easy to configure, fully automated.
NetelligentIaaS, PaaS, SaaSMotrealSpecializes in Dedicated Servers, Colocation, Cloud Solutions, and Hosting Services

10 thoughts on “Canadian Cloud Storage Providers: Which Providers Comply with Canadian Regulations?”

  1. Hi darron,

    Thanks for the heads up on vexxhost. We’ll be sure to have a look at their service offering when we look at Canadian cloud services in future posts.

    1. Unfortunately vexxhost is a US company and as such I doubt meets the PIPEDA for servers on Canadian soil.

      Looked reasonable otherwise.

    1. Hi Matt,

      Thanks for letting us know about ThinkOn. We’ll definitely include them in future posts on Canadian Cloud services.

  2. A discussion on which meet Personal Health Information (PHI) and similar regulatory requirements for secure data would be very interesting.

  3. I like your site, but since when did you stop using paragraphs? I understand readers these days have short attention spans, but this one-sentence approach to writing is really distracting, and comes off as amateurish. It makes me want to stop reading. 1-3 sentence paragraphs, and occasional 4-5, are fine. We’re not 6-year olds. We can handle a “little” bit of sophistication. 🙂

  4. I’ve heard Shaw Communications also have scalable cloud solutions here in Canada through their subsidiary Via-West although you have not listed?

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