Data sovereignty is a very heavy term. To put it into simple and clear words, “Data sovereignty is a concept that information converted and stored in binary digital form as data is subjected to the laws of the country in which it is located.”
With the rapid adoption of SaaS, cloud, and hosted services, it is hard to overlook data sovereignty issues. In fact, it is one of the hottest topics for businesses looking to migrate on cloud, and it is here to stay. Some organizations assumed that data sovereignty would not affect their business, but this is where they have misjudged.
Due to the distributed architecture of cloud, the locations where the application data is stored may not be known to end-user. Cloud providers tend to host the data in technically efficient locations or locations that are commercially viable. Organizations using cloud services also have the power to select the region in which they want to host their environment. So, technically the distributed attributes of the infrastructure running the services imply that data hosted may fall under the laws regulated by a foreign government.
Bursting the Data Sovereignty bubble
Data sovereignty asks a few questions no matter you are in cloud. There are various regions that vary, such as regions that are kept on adding when it comes to cloud. This adds advantages but complexity too when it is about adding the entire
Where is the data stored?
For the current generation of cloud and SaaS hosted services, it is not always obvious to find out where data is stored. Who decides the geographic location of your data? Does your service provider have the mandate to request your consent to move your data internationally or even internationally? In the world of distributed infrastructure, where cloud services run, it is difficult to ensure the sovereignty of your data when it is in the hands of third parties.
Does data comply with the local laws?
With the distributed nature of cloud computing, data hosted by SaaS applications can end up in strange and wonderful places. While this can keep costs down and speed up access, it makes user data vulnerable to foreign governments and related laws.
Is your data secure?
Do local laws set mandates for data retention? Is there a secure destruction policy if you remove your data from the hosted service? What are security controls in place to protect your data from malicious actors?
Who really owns the data?
Organizations may not be aware of the ownership of data stored in different sovereign countries. Data protected by strict data protection laws may not be protected in a foreign jurisdiction. This cannot make legal challenges for data access defensible.
Is the data secure?
When dealing with third parties, it can be difficult to really know the security of the data and services they control. An example of a large data breach from a high-profile file hosting service illustrates the problem. The popular service allowed unrestricted access to personal data using any password for a period of 4 hours. It is impossible to know how secure your own data is when it is checked by third parties. A simple error is all that is required to expose confidential data to a data breach.
Can you avoid the cloud and all third parties?
Avoiding the cloud is, of course, not practical. Corporate productivity, costs, services, and superior platforms determine today’s data landscape. The only way to ensure that your data is secure and under your control is to encrypt the data before it gets into the hands of third parties. Without encryption, you are exposed to too many factors to simply ignore them. Encryption is the simplest form of risk mitigation and the safest mechanism to ensure that you always control access to your data.