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New regulations reflect Saudi Arabia’s push to build regional data centre hub

New regulations protecting data centre users in Saudi Arabia will help build trust and encourage companies to move to third party data centre providers, a technology law expert has said.

Announced by Saudi Arabia’s Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST), the regulations, known as the Data Center Services Regulations, came into force at the start of the year.

The regulations cover both the Saudi Arabian retail and wholesale data centre markets, and focus on service quality and safeguarding date centre users.

Under the regulations, data centre providers are required to register their data centres with CST, based on the classifications set out in the regulations, and renew their registration of each data centre every three years.

Data centre providers must ensure their data centres are physically secure, with only authorised individuals allowed to access to the facilities, maintain quality standards and provide service level agreements to their customers. They will also need to maintain with the CST accurate and up to date information concerning power capacity, connectivity and certifications related to their data centres. In addition, the regulations set out various requirements that need to be covered in data centre provider contracts with their customers.

Reflecting the growing complexity of the Saudi Arabian data centre ecosystem, data centre providers providing cloud computing or telecommunications services face additional requirements, including registering as a cloud computing service provider or being properly licensed as a telecommunications service provider in addition to their registration as a data centre provider.

According to Martin Hayward, a Middle East technology law expert at Pinsent Masons, the new regulations reflect Saudi Arabia’s push to create a regional data centre hub and build trust in its data centre ecosystem.

“Saudi Arabia has moved quickly to put in place the regulatory landscape needed to build a resilient data centre industry, to encourage Saudi companies to move to third party data centre providers and to attract international data centre providers to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

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