Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bluffs in Top-10 cities for data security operations

John Boyd Jr.

John Boyd Jr., a principal in The Boyd Co., a location consulting firm headquartered in Princeton, N.J., said a recent study found Council Bluffs to be in the Top 10 American cities – actually ranking No. 4 – to locate secure, low-risk data security operations. Boyd said commercial property tax reduction, an effort touted by Gov. Terry Branstad and being debated in the Iowa Legislature, would be a “game changer.”

Posted: Sunday, January 22, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:06 pm, Sat Jan 21, 2012.

A new corporate site selection study comparing data security costs in a series of 45 U.S. cities ranked Council Bluffs No. 4 on a list of the 10 best security cities.

The study, conducted by The Boyd Co., a firm headquartered in Princeton, N.J., that specializes in location consulting, covered many of the nation’s largest regional financial centers, including New York; Boston; Chicago; Charlotte, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; Des Moines, Denver and San Francisco as well as other cities named as best meeting site selection criteria for housing highly secure, low-risk and cost-effective data security operations for the banking and financial services industry.

According to the report, factors distinguishing Council Bluffs’ attractiveness to the data security field are its secure, mid-continent location, favorable operating cost structures and its proximity to an National Security Agency accredited National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

While not included in the report, John Boyd Jr., a principal in the consulting firm, said the current debate by Iowa lawmakers and Gov. Terry Branstad about lowering the state’s commercial property taxes has caught the attention of corporate executives looking to expand or relocate their operations.

“Right now, reducing commercial property taxes is the most important thing the governor and the Legislature can do. It would be a tremendous positive, a game changer that would create a national buzz,” Boyd said.

The report, “Banking & Financial Services: A comparative Cost Analysis for Information Assurance Operations,” names information assurance as leading a new wave of post-debt crisis spending and facilities planning within the financial services industry.

The study focuses on the growing information assurance sector and those units dedicated to preventing security breaches and computer crimes like fraud and identify theft.

The overall field of information assurance is projected by Boyd’s company to be a major driver of corporate re-engineering, capital spending and strategic site selection planning in 2012 as compliance to growing federal data security legislation is extending beyond financial services and reaching all sectors of commerce.

The study analyzes all major geographically variable operating costs that are most critical to the decision where to locate new data security facilities. Those costs include skilled labor in information assurance and financial services, land costs, construction costs, taxes, utilities and corporate travel.

For purposes of comparison, the study’s basic assumption scales annual operating costs to a data security center employing 75 workers and occupying 125,000 square feet of space. Based on those assumptions, annual operating costs ranged from a high of $23.6 million in New York to a low of $10.3 million in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Ranking fourth among the top 10, the study projected annual costs at $11.1 million for Council Bluffs. Omaha, which ranked eighth among the top 10, had total annual operating costs of $11.5 million.

“Operating costs are really carrying the day,” said Boyd. “Another consideration is the fact that you have cheap, low cost, reliable power.

“I think the Midwest is going to be the next frontier. Smart people are staying here because this is where the jobs are,” he said. “Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota are very stable fiscally.”


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