Like people, digital data can’t just travel wherever it wants. Learn how data sovereignty is changing the adoption of the cloud and how it’s affecting enterprise companies.
Remember The Matrix? That end-of-the-century groundbreaking sci-fi movie ends with Neo defeating Machine avatar Agent Smith then placing a phone call to tell of a “world without rules or controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.”
Sure, we have the cloud, an enormously beneficial technology that quickly delivers applications and data to people and companies across the world, seemingly as if there are no barriers, but we’re not quite at that world Neo describes yet—the cloud is still constrained by rules and controls, borders and boundaries.
In a nutshell, that’s basically the idea behind data sovereignty, which refers to the location of digital data and the laws it is subject to. Since data privacy laws are different in each country, that can make the adoption of cloud services very tricky for enterprise organizations that must also carefully navigate various regulations.
While there’s been some ever-so-slight movement towards Neo’s ideal world, we’re still a long ways off from reducing the barriers that ensure hassle-free travel of data across international borders. Cloud-ready enterprise companies still must contend with the legal and technical ramifications of data sovereignty for each country where it wants to do business. Of course, what exactly that entails depends on the country.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) complicates matters further. The new privacy laws, set to come into full effect in May, require all enterprise organizations that transfer or store the personal data of European citizens—even if those companies are in the U.S. or elsewhere—to comply with mandatory data privacy, safeguarding, and transparency measures or risk possible fines imposed by European regulators. Enterprises need to be up to the challenge.
The silver lining for enterprise companies is that they can leave the worrying about compliance with the laws of various nations to cloud service providers. However, enterprise companies planning to expand into new territories must be diligent and do their research to ensure their chosen cloud provider is transparent about complying with data sovereignty. On top of that, companies need to estimate all potential costs and research how to minimize any compliance risks, especially with heavier legislation such as the GDPR (download our ebook about the GDPR here) only months away.
As more companies adopt cloud services this complex process will simplify over time. Maybe not to the extent of “a world without borders or boundaries”, but businesses and enterprise organizations can at least ease in to data sovereignty compliance with privacy and safety solutions such as eperi Cloud Data Protection which ensures the encryption and tokenization of personally identifiable data in-transit across the cloud, and while at rest. With eperi Cloud Data Protection, your company holds the encryption keys to the data with sophisticated access controls that prevent unauthorized users from accessing it, while at the same time ensuring compliance with data sovereignty rules and regulations.