Data Centre Risk Index Names Iceland World’s Safest Location

The 2016 Data Centre Risk Index, published by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W), has moved Iceland to the number one position among 37 countries as the safest location for remote data storage, while the United States dropped from the number 1 to the number 10 position. The reasons Iceland rose to the top of the list are several (as described below under “Methodology”), but what it means for key business decision makers around the globe is unmistakable: Iceland is the best country in the world to secure their data. What it means for the clients of companies like OrangeWebsite, located in Reykjavík, Iceland, is added reassurance that their data is safe and protected.

Why Is Remote Data Storage Important?

For companies large and small, unplanned downtime is a cost of doing business. That doesn’t mean, of course, that businesses should (or do) passively acquiesce to the eventuality of downtime. In fact, American businesses spend millions implementing strategies to avoid downtime, from moving operations to the cloud or data centres to training employees to ignore suspicious emails and documents.

What Is the Cost to Business of Downtime?

There’s a good reason businesses spend so much time and money preventing downtime episodes. Downtime means a loss or revenues during the period their systems are down, in addition to lost productivity and damage to their reputations. According to the Data Center Journal, revenue losses due to downtime episodes are increasing exponentially. The average cost per minute of downtime is $7,900, an increase of 41% over a one-year period. The average downtime episode lasts 86 minutes. Doing the math, that’s a cost—on average—of almost $700,000 for every incident of downtime.

What Systems Are Most Affected by Downtime?

Downtime can affect every aspect of business operations, but the two at the top of the list are business applications and technology services. Business applications are those operations which employees access through the company’s internal server to do their jobs. Technology services include email operations, as well as internet and intranet access. Loss of either business or technology applications impacts productivity—and costs money.

The loss of business applications can affect the productivity of every employee, from financial services to marketing to information systems. For example, downtime can bring down CRM operations, making customer communications disorganized at best, or lost entirely at worst. It can also mean the loss of ERP capabilities, eliminating the flow of business information and preventing data-driven decision making.

The loss of technology services, like email and internet access, means employees have reduced access to non-mobile phone and fax machines service. It also compromises use of a company’s intranet, which employees rely on to access and share documents.

The Pervasiveness of Remote Data Storage

Understanding the risks associated with in-house data storage, an increasing number of businesses are looking at remote data storage options, such as remote data centers and cloud computing. For example, a study by RightScale reports that 93 percent of businesses now use cloud services. In another study, Emergent Research predicted that twice as many small businesses will move all business operations to the cloud within 6 years.

Other companies, particularly those which run a wider variety of business applications and have more complex workloads, are opting to store data at remote data centres. Those data centres offer more customized solutions and greater control over their data and equipment, better meeting the needs of large, complex businesses.

The complication for business decision makers is that remote data centers are, themselves, at some risk for downtime episodes. In order to help business owners decide which data centers are at least risk, Cushman & Wakefield each year publishes its annual Data Centre Risk Index. In its 2016 report, Cushman & Wakefield describe the importance of their analysis:

“The index ranks key established and emerging locations by the most appropriate risks affecting data centre operations in today’s current climate. It has been designed primarily to support data centre due diligence and senior decision making when considering global investment and deployment activities.”

Data Risk Index 2016: Methodology

Cushman & Wakefield’s analysis surveys more than 4,000 clients worldwide to rate the relative security of 37 countries along 10 key factors related to data centre risk. These include factors like ease of doing business, natural disaster, energy security and corporation tax, among others. Each factor is weighted based on its relative importance to potential risk, with natural disaster (15.38%) and political stability (12.82%) at the top of the list, and GDP per capital (5.77%) and corporation tax (6.41%) at the bottom.

The methodology employed shifts each year to reflect changing conditions. This year’s report reflects the growing concern among businesses related to political stability, natural disaster and energy security, which have surpassed concerns related to cost and connectivity. As they explain in their introduction:

“Natural disaster and a location’s coping capability ranked as the most important risk factors while political stability ranked second this year, collectively accounting for one third of overall decision making and implying a level of emotional sentiment throughout the survey following a number of major incidents over the past few years.”

Data Risk Index 2016: Key Findings

Among this year’s most significant takeaways are the following:

Iceland was rated the world’s safest data centre location, followed by Norway and Switzerland The United States dropped from the number one to the number 10 position, scoring particularly low in “corporation tax (36th out of 37)” and “international bandwidth (15th of 37).” European countries offer on average the lowest risk environment, taking the top 5 index positions because of low risk for natural disaster and strong energy security ratings Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong rated highly based on proximity to market, ease of doing business and IT infrastructure, and despite poor ratings for risk of natural disaster The 10 safest countries in the report are:

  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Canada
  • Singapore
  • Republic of Korea
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The top 5 riskiest markets for data centers, according to C&W, are:

  • Nigeria
  • India
  • China
  • Turkey
  • Indonesia

Conclusion Businesses which are considering moving their data to a data centre, or moving from one data centre to another, should carefully weigh the conclusions of the most recent Data Centre Risk Index, and especially the particular factors which informed those conclusions.

Founded in 2006 and located in Reykjavík, OrangeWebsite is one of Iceland’s leading web hosting companies, a 100% green company offering top-quality and secure web hosting solutions for clients around the globe. Their servers are in Iceland, and all of their data is stored and protected in Iceland. To learn more about the ways we can keep your company’s data safe and secure, contact us today.

The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative: A Good Crisis and Evolved Democracy

Iceland Modern Media Crysis
Iceland Modern Media Crysis

Democracy is evolving, and Iceland is leading the change. As vigorous proponents of radical transparency, freedom of expression and speech, publishing process protections, and rights to privacy, Iceland is developing the first political consensus that comes from the collective intelligence of the people. Through the foundations provided by the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the country is developing into a safe haven for those working toward international freedom of information. The people of Iceland are developing a culture of collaboration and consensus decision making, and enjoying the benefits of an evolved democracy: transparency and a free press, whistleblower protections, and freedom of speech, expression, privacy, and information. 

When economic and social crises threaten the stability of a free society, several options are available to the people. For some, the easy way out of the crisis is to let the government handle the problem. And the easiest way for governments to manage problems is to exert more control. When control is seen as a paternalistic type of affection and concern, a tightening fist can be rationalized or ignored by a population that has abdicated the responsibilities and the work of democracy. When government control is couched in terms of threats to the national security, either from political, military, or financial crises, civil rights, especially rights to a free press and freedom of speech and privacy, are often the first to go.

Iceland didn’t take the easy way out of the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, they empowered the collective voice, experience, and intelligence of the people to lay a new path forward. By crowdsourcing their ideas and legislation, their vision of the future represents the beliefs and values of the nation.

Several important aspects of the legislation and the continuing work of advocating for it are critically important. Unequal access to justice means that for many citizens of a democracy, they cannot access the resources needed to defend themselves. In this climate of inequity, the judicial systems becomes one with the power to punish, a big stick to silence those outside the majority. The threat of action against those without resources can be significant enough to silence free speech.

Source protection and limiting prior restraint are also powerful judicial and legislative protections that are critical to a free press. Coercion by anyone with power and something to hide–a government agency, a financial organization, a publisher or newspaper, a telecommunications agency– means that threats of various kinds can be applied to disrupt the process of a free press. Protecting journalists, bloggers, and media such as newspaper publishers from the threat of these types of action means Iceland has a media that is as close as humans can come to the radical transparency and free press the collective citizenship desires. OrangeWebsite provides several business structures that allow journalists and bloggers this free press protection, including anonymous accounts and a range of payment options, including bitcoin and World Coin.

Iceland Modern Media Crysis

Whistleblower protections are also a critical part of the Modern Media Initiative. In an evolved democracy, aggressive nationalism and militarism are never used to justify silencing the population. Threats to the nation and national security concerns are not blunt weapons to shut down the press or free speech. And those who bring abuses of power into the open are not tried and jailed for espionage.

Enlightened democracies are seen as places of light and opportunity, freedom, and hope to the people of the world who live under the threat of oppression. That light, and the hope that comes from knowing there are better places in the world, places where people are treated with respect and dignity, where they have the right to voice an opinion, give those who are living in darkness and oppression something to hope for, a place to dream about. For people working in those countries trying to bring about change, the work of enlightened democracies–the legislative and judicial framework–provides a blueprint for changing their own political systems.

When those democracies that have always held the light of hope for the world descend into chaos, and the threat of fascism rises again, with censorship and racism, aggressive militarism and nationalistic rhetoric overtaking the collective voice of a people, those who believe in the basic tenets of democracy are silenced. First the whistleblowers are silenced as threats to national security. Then the press is censored to protect the population. As government control over the national narrative and the human voice of the people tightens like a fist around the throat, freedom of speech and the freedom to dissent is cut off. And the light of hope for the world is extinguished. Enlightened democracies have the power to give that light and hope to the world. They do not exist in isolation, solely for the benefit of their own people. Iceland is working on the evolution of their enlightened democracy, when much of the rest of the world is seeking to consolidate power and control the voice of their people.

The International Modern Media Institute is an advocacy group who are attempting to protect and expand the protections and the radical transparency called for in the original initiative. Closely tied to a political party, the group nevertheless functions as an international watchdog for issues related to freedom of expression, privacy, and a free press. They are advocating an agenda where Iceland serves as a safe haven with the legal and judicial framework to protect freedom of expression to the greatest extent it exists anywhere in the world. OrangeWebsite provides a number of services that directly embody the privacy and freedom in the new legislation, such as access to virtual private and dedicated servers in a country protected by these laws. Services such as these, with Icelandic state protections, are unique in the world. Using the collective power and will of a people to bring about state-sponsored human rights protections is a revolutionary idea–and it is a revolution that is changing the world. 

For more information on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, please contact us.

Iceland Airwaves – A Music Festival on Volcanoes

A cheering crowd in front of a stage at a music event
A cheering crowd in front of a stage at a music event

Iceland Airwaves took place 4th – 8th of November 2014. Since the first one was held in 1999, Iceland Airwaves has become an annual celebration for local and foreign music lovers.

When you think of Iceland, images of fiery volcanoes, imposing mountains, craggy peaks and vast glaciers come to mind. Iceland also has rich green land, vibrant cities, and farms, but more importantly, it has a rich creative culture that has bound its society together from ancient history to modern times.

Icelandic culture and lifestyle is unique in that it is deeply rooted in ancient heritage. It’s a close-knit, relatively small population with an enterprising spirit, especially when it comes to honing its creative crafts. From writing to painting, to composing and designing, Iceland has a definite creative edge. Iceland is well known for its ancient sagas, such as Egil’s Saga, which go back as far as the 1200s. These days, it is known for its award-winning films and music.

The most recent of these creative waves to hit Iceland was the Airwaves music festival, a yearly event that rocks for five days with a variety of music. This year’s festival was graced by a huge range of sound, from the delicate and rich work of Icelandic Symphony Orchestra to the screaming poetry of Kaelan Mikla. Five days of music in Iceland can barely scratch the surface of what the country has to offer, but it’s certainly a great time.

In fact, the Airwaves line-up held more than just Icelanders. If you found yourself there on the right day, you’d also be able to listen to the cathartic music of the U.S. group Future Islands, the wistful melodies of Norway’s Farao, or the “sound bombs” of Poland’s BNNT.

For five days, this spectacular festival invites artists to perform both on venue and off, rollicking in musical creativity and freedom. 219 bands and their fans from various countries around the world came to Iceland to celebrate. The island may have been a bit crowded for a week, but that’s really what Iceland loves to do: share creative endeavours.

Five Essential Souvenirs from Iceland

The blue water between the lava stones covered with moss just outside The Blue Lagoon Resort
The blue water between the lava stones covered with moss just outside The Blue Lagoon Resort

Iceland is full of exciting adventures waiting for you at every turn.

If you’re going to travel to an exotic destination like Iceland, it’s a good idea to get a souvenir or two. Whether it’s for yourself or someone else, there are some very special things travellers should see (and possibly bring home).

1. Volcanic Jewellery

While volcanoes may not immediately come to mind when thinking about Iceland, appearances can be deceiving. In fact, Iceland has many active volcanoes, and they can be quite disruptive. The country’s famed volcanic glass jewellery, with accents of pure silver, is something you won’t find anywhere else.

2. Sweaters, Scarves, and Knitted Things

Iceland is a country with Scandinavian heritage, so it knows how to stay warm when things cool down. While it may sound like a bit of a cliché souvenir, wool knitwear from Iceland is warm, soft, stylish, and it has a distinct look and feel, so you definitely won’t regret it. Best of all, it pretty much lasts forever, so you’ll always have a warm memory of your trip.

3. Gifts from The Blue Lagoon

This is one of Iceland’s most famous tourist attractions. While it’s something to see all on its own, the Blue Lagoon also boasts a gift shop full of unique products that will keep your skin soft and hair gleaming. Naturally made with minerals, geothermal seawater, and other materials from the lagoon, there’s nothing else quite like them. If you get the chance to see the lagoon and try out its beauty treatments, you’ll definitely want to take some of the magic home with you.

4. Atson Leather

Famed far and wide, Atson Leather produces quality, handmade leather goods that come in a wide variety of styles of choices. From jackets and coats to backpacks and briefcases, Atson has something for everyone’s budget level. Even if all you can afford is a spotted seawolf keychain (it’s a very special sort of fish found in Iceland), it’s a unique, attractive souvenir that will be sure to hold all kind of memories.

5. A Guide to Trolls

While Iceland isn’t geographically speaking part of Scandinavia, it shares a great deal of Scandinavia’s culture. This includes trolls, often-gigantic magical creatures who turn to stone in the sun. There are several locations all throughout Iceland where these troll rocks still stand, and for those who want to come and see something unusual a collected guide of famous troll locations would make for a great sightseeing aid. Some of these books even have places inside them where you can mark off the trolls you’ve seen and the ones you want to get to.

7 Ways Your Website May be Screaming “I Am Out of Date!”

Website Out Of Date
Website Out Of Date

There are two types of website owners. There are those that understand that a website should be the center of your online universe. It shouldn’t just be attractive but pertinent and informative. It should funnel leads and prospects to you. Your social media and promotional materials should point to it. It should be a vibrant force in your online marketing efforts.

Then, there are those who had their teenage cousin create their website years ago. It likely hasn’t been updated since. It is prone to error messages and spam and hasn’t produced a lead in months or years. Owners of these websites will complain that internet marketing doesn’t work “for them”. They probably haven’t visited their own website in years and are too embarrassed to have others view it. Here are 7 ways your website may be screaming “Help me, I am out of date!”

  1. An Out of Date Copyright. One of the easiest to spot tell-tale way your website is shouting “Out of date!” is a copyright year that is not current. Back in the day, these types of texts had to be manually updated but, of course, today, there are apps for that. There should be no excuse for an outdated copyright date; and if your website has one, please get it fixed.
  2. It is Not Mobile Capable. Pew Research now says that about 80% of Americans own a smartphone. When you look at the 18-34 demographic, that number climbs to over 95%. These smartphone owners are using their devices to look up news, information, reviews, and to shop for goods and services. Your website should be designed to be responsive to smartphones, with basic information like location and contact data upfront and easy to find. Many smartphone users are “ready to buy” but will move on quickly if your information is hard to find or see. Make sure you view your website on a mobile device and make the necessary changes to make it appealing when seen on a smartphone.
  3. Contains Outdated Information. There are many ways a website’s content can show it is behind the times. There could be older dates on news releases or outdated blogs. The content itself may tell readers in more subtle ways. For example, your main page copy may say “Serving our customers since 2005” but then also say “In our ten years in business”. This can be avoided by using evergreen content on your website, especially if keeping it updated may be a challenge for you.
  4. It has a Look that is So 2000. It is hard to imagine that the year 2000 was almost two decades ago. Your website may look like it. It may be boxy, slow loading, and use giant navigation buttons. You know it when you see it. If your website looks vintage 2000, your potential customers will simply move on.
  5. It Doesn’t Link Your Social Media Accounts. Modern, well-designed websites should make it as simple as possible to connect with your organization. This includes logos and links to your various social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, PinterestSnapChat, and more. Websites that don’t include their social media links can appear out-of-touch. You’re also not taking full advantage of the valuable synergy that your social media and website can build together.
  6. Uses Flash or Java. Patience has grown increasingly thin when waiting for websites to load. Outdated software like Java and Flash can drag your website down. If you are going to use video, consider using an off-site service like YouTube. Make sure all software used on your website is supported by popular web browsers like Google Chrome.
  7. Not Using an Eco Web Hosting Company. One of the ways you can demonstrate you are connected to what’s important today is by choosing an eco web hosting service that offers environmentally-friendly features. How will your users know you are using a “green” web hosting company? At OrangeWebsite, we offer all of our clients access to use a choice of free banners that can be easily installed on the pages of their website. These banners tell visitors they are working with an organization that cares about the planet. It is not only the right thing to do, it is a terrific way to attract like-minded prospects and customers.
Website Out Of Date

What Makes OrangeWebsite Eco-Friendly?

The story of starts with our location in Iceland. Ours is a country that gets just about 100% of their electric energy from renewable resources like hydro-electric and geothermal. Because our data center is located in a cool climate, we are able to use much less energy in conditioning air for our servers. We even offer employees the ability to work remotely from home, using less fuel for work travel and keeping more cars off the road.  This form of web hosting has been referred to as organic because it is better for our planet.

If your website needs an overhaul, maybe it is time to start with an eco-friendly web hosting company that offers a choice of hosting plans to fit any size organization. Iceland has a superior technological infrastructure with quick load times to both North America and Europe. We have clients in over 100 countries across the globe. We offer anonymous web hosting with a 99.9% uptime guarantee and payments can be made by Bitcoin, PayPal, cash by mail or wire transfer. We are an ultra-secure hosting company that minimizes the data we keep on our clients. We even provide a 30-day, money back guarantee to ensure your satisfaction.

Is your website screaming for help? Sure, you will want to start with a fresh new design and include valuable content. Of course, you’ll want it to be mobile capable and easy to maintain. You should also consider starting with green hosting from OrangeWebsite. Contact us today to learn more!