The Bahamas has a solid Internet infrastructure, and is a favourable jurisdiction for data privacy. This has been affirmed by Richard Douglas. He moved to The Bahamas from Canada in the 1990s to explore opportunities in the IT space. By the late 90s, data centres were built, with the local phone company and the cable company providing high speed internet. In 2001 he co-founded [Secure Hosting](http://www.securehost.com/), and serves as its Chief Technical Officer (CTO). At that time he had said, *“I actually tried to go to other countries besides The Bahamas to look at opportunities but there were no reliable Internet connections. The Bahamas was really the only country that had set up subsea fiber and high speed Internet that we were used to in North America. It’s very close to the US so it was easier to set up a hosting company here.”*
Soon afterwards the Government launched a public-private sector collaboration to develop e-business and data protection legislation and regulations. *“The team spent over a year in consultations to discuss what legal framework would be required to protect the data that is in The Bahamas, as well as to encourage local business to adopt the Internet and trust it as a way to do e-commerce, as well as encourage international companies to look at The Bahamas as a place where they could come and set up an operation,”* Douglas said. In 2003, The Bahamas passed The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, The Computer Misuse Act 2003, and The Data Protection Act 2003 – the last ensuring that data stored in The Bahamas is not transferred to any other country. The Secure Hosting CTO adds that the public private sector collaboration effectively was instrumental in creating a data protection and privacy law which specifically addresses personal privacy and protection of corporate data in The Bahamas – a plus for the jurisdiction in attracting data hosting providers.
Douglas references the much-publicised case of US-based Microsoft and whether US prosecutors can access customer emails in a data centre located outside the US based on Microsoft’s “ownership” of such a centre. He said this highlights the reasons why you should be careful where you put your data, also pointing out that The Bahamas is not the only “solution” in the world. *“Indeed, there are many providers that offer offshore hosting, and locations including Switzerland and Panama.”*
He recommends that companies choose who they host with – and where – very carefully. *“If your business is that important and you have business data or confidential data or intellectual property, it may not be protected by US providers”*. It is recommended that hosting customers ask where a provider’s offices are located, and whether they have a sales office in the US since that still counts as a US presence. They should also inquire about company executives and the board of directors, because they may be American and therefore may be under jurisdiction in the US. *“There are companies in Europe or Asia who mistakenly feel like they’re dealing with the local version of Amazon or Rackspace and not the US version.”*
Many of Secure Hosting’s clients are financial institutions, and use its data centres as their primary location or a satellite office. The company has data centres in Nassau and Freeport, the latter of which it opened in 2013. Local firms use Secure Hosting’s services for disaster recovery and data continuity.
Douglas also notes that storm concerns in the Caribbean are overrated because data centres are built to deal with such contingencies. Insurance companies and government agencies also use Secure Hosting’s data centre to meet regulatory compliance.
Secure Hosting isn’t the only data hosting provider in The Bahamas, but it is one of a handful of providers, including [Maxil Communications](http://www.maxil.com/).