Data protection regulations and privacy are important concerns for businesses
More than three quarters of TechWeekEurope readers say it matters to their business whether their data is stored in the European Union (EU) – but mainly for privacy reasons, rather than performance.
Many companies, particularly those in regulated industries, are restricted as to where they can store data because of national or European privacy legislation. This can make it difficult to store some data remotely or use cloud applications for all workloads.
The difficulty in negotiating a new data sharing agreement between the US and the EU have highlighted this issue, while many cloud providers are letting customers store their data closer to home.
The primary motivation is to ensure data is protected by EU law, but vendors also claim this will have an uplift in performance, particularly latency.
But our poll shows that while 78.8 percent of readers say they need their data stored in the EU, just 4.1 percent say it’s solely for performance reasons. Nearly half (48.5 percent) said it is a combination of privacy and performance, while 26.2 percent say it’s just for privacy. The remaining 21.2 percent are adamant it doesn’t matter where their data is stored.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and IBM are but three cloud infrastructure providers that have opened or are opening data centres in Europe, while cloud service providers like Dropbox and Box are striking agreements to ensure their customers have the option too.
The previous ‘Safe Harbour’ transatlantic data sharing agreement between the EU and US was ruled invalid last October. It had been in effect since 2000 and allowed US firms to collect data on European users so long as certain principles around storage and security were met.
The idea was that this would ensure strict EU data transfer rules were not broken. However following revelations of state-sponsored surveillance, it was deemed there was insufficient data protection in place.
A replacement piece of legislation, known as ‘Privacy Shield’ was agreed in February but its implementation has so far been delayed amid concerns about the independence of a new US privacy ombudsman, and demands for reassurance over US surveillance practices.