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What is data sovereignty, and why is it important?

When any type of data is stored in any type of binary or any other digital form, it’s automatically subjected to the according laws and general practices created by the hosting country.

With the emergence of the cloud and other methods of online data storage like virtual data rooms, the need of redefining the whole concept of data sovereignty became more eminent than ever.

Establishing sovereignty is an important concern among legal and policy constraints when data and resources are virtualized and widely distributed. Data sovereignty has been recognized by cloud practitioners as a critical issue.

Data Sovereignty and Cloud Users

Data sovereignty is a big concern for enterprise cloud users. Depending on the countries where they operate, businesses may need to keep certain types of information within a defined geographic jurisdiction.

Many governments claim to have the right to seize data from servers located in their territory.

The duties that companies have in the face of requests from governments vary, ranging from states that give themselves limited inspection powers, to countries that give themselves great powers of collection.

Businesses need to ensure their cloud provider can guarantee where their data is held, so they can limit liability and allow them to properly plan for regulatory compliance and data management.

Why is Data Sovereignty so Important?

The definition of privacy is not the same in every country. The resulting limitations are not equal for all companies.

For every organization, data security is the highest priority, but its implementation process varies significantly.

If companies want to properly manage their data ensuring automatic compliance with regulations and mitigate legal risks, they need to:

  •        Manage the data storage process itself,
  •        Manage their data,
  •        Have insight in the management process used by cloud providers.

Unified international standards on privacy and data security don’t exist.

These sets of rules and guidelines are very flexible, requiring various constraints on the side of both the cloud provider and the user.

Companies should pay close attention to the data location.

If they implement processes that ensure privacy and data security directives are met, but their data is stored in another location, the consequences could be severe.

It is essential for companies to know the exact location of their data.

Technologically speaking, it is very simple for cloud providers to transfer US data in Canada, so they can efficiently use their infrastructure, but the potential risks to the end user are far more important than the technological benefits.

Who’s Affected by Data Sovereignty?

The jurisdiction has bearing on both provider and consumer concerns. Various jurisdictions will relay in different outcomes.

Today’s jurisdiction concerns affect everyone.

Users should focus on data policy and education to expand the knowledge within the organisation. The absence of clarity is attributed to the fast growth of technology, emphasized by the trending shift toward increased data sovereignty requirements for organisations to comply with.

Providers of cloud services have the same concerns as the users.

In addition to those concerns, they need to fulfill and maintain a trusted relationship with the consumer and guarantee that the service they provide is always adhering to the requirements of the consumer.

Providers can best position themselves through being observant of jurisdiction concerns, being flexible, transparent and see data sovereignty as a strategic driver, rather than impediment.

Providers can solve the challenges by offering solutions that support data sovereignty and ease the jurisdictional concerns.

Cloud providers, cloud users and political entities worldwide have showed interest in resolving these concerns and challenges sharing the same goal of achieving data sovereignty and maximizing cloud storage potential capacities in the future.