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How Data Sovereignty Could Impact Your Business
When it comes to cloud hosting, the benefits it brings businesses outweighs most fears of data sovereignty.

How Data Sovereignty Could Impact Your Business

There are countless benefits to digital data, including easy storage, portability and easy access from multiple offices or locations. In response, cloud solutions have risen as a great and innovative way to control and manage all this information with limited to no risk of data loss.

Many companies are moving to cloud storage, and for good reason – cost savings, flexibility, scalability and limited to no risk of data loss, are just some of the benefits it offers. 

Even so, many organizations are uncomfortable with the idea of storing data in American data centres. As both public and private organizations continue to move sensitive data to cloud storage, data security and sovereignty have increasingly become issues they consider.

While it’s important to fully understand data sovereignty when moving to the cloud, particularly when dealing with private information, it should not be a deterrent when considering otherwise reliable hosting solutions.

What is data sovereignty?

Data sovereignty is the concept that any information created or stored in a digital form is subject to the laws of the country in which it’s located.

The cloud is designed to be everywhere – scattered across parts of the world, each with its own set of laws. While your cloud solution may comply with certain models, it may not with all.  For instance, some countries won’t allow the export of personal data. Countries such as Canada, Germany, and Russia are drafting stricter data residency and sovereignty laws, which require data from certain organizations to remain in the country in order to protect their citizen’s personal information.

The U.S. Patriot Act of 2001, which dictates that in the case of a perceived high-security threat, the U.S. government can access personal data from any organization, including subsidiaries operating in other countries, without consent or notification to the owner, tends to be the law that makes organizations wary. 

This sounds avoidable by choosing data centres in other countries, but the reality is, the act affects ordinary internet traffic, searches, and other informational requests for not the only U.S., but citizens all over the world. Each time anyone enters a search request into the Internet, a record is made.  Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows a secret national security court to issue an order allowing the F.B.I. to obtain “any tangible things” in connection with a national security investigation.

While this is an unsettling notion that competes against values of privacy, it really isn’t detrimental to most organizations who decide to host on the cloud, especially given the amount of data created to be intended to be accessed by the public and your audiences.  

This isn't to say organizations shouldn't be aware of the laws their data will be subject to. There are various factors, such as whether the organization is public or private, and the sensitivity and ownership of the information itself that will impact the significance of data sovereignty. 

Not only does storing data via the cloud not significantly increase or decrease the likelihood that the U.S. government will request and be granted access to it, but there are far bigger risks facing anyone using cloud hosting – namely unaffiliated hackers and unauthorized third parties. 

For this reason, when considering cloud storage, as many are, given its many benefits such as easy access to data for all members of an organizations, disaster recovery and overall cost savings as cloud computing reduces the need of internal power to store content, it’s more worthwhile to consider an established hosting company that guarantees better security and offers constant support. 

Provided companies first meet their legal requirements, there’s no reason to avoid the benefits of storing data in the cloud, it’s not worth sacrificing the best features that strong hosting solutions offer businesses because of where their (otherwise secure) data centres are located.

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As Founder and CEO, Chris lives and breathes the paradigm that OPIN was founded on: Open Innovation. This mantra has helped our founder grow OPIN from its roots to Canada's fastest-growing digital agency. Chris is considered a thought leader in the entrepreneurship, open-source and government communities.