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How Data Sovereignty Made Data Protection King

by Chris Brook on Wednesday August 16, 2023

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The concepts of data protection and data sovereignty have become even more intertwined and crucial of late, especially in cloud computing environments.

As data becomes more and more valuable for individuals and organizations, data sovereignty, protection, and privacy have become critical aspects for building trust and creating added value. Data protection is essential for data sovereignty because it helps ensure that an organization maintains control over its data, prevents unauthorized access and data breaches, and safeguards the privacy and security of its customers, partners, and employees. This is especially important in today's digital age, where data breaches are becoming more common. Therefore, organizations must prioritize data protection to ensure data sovereignty and maintain customer trust.

What is data protection?

Data protection refers to safeguarding critical, confidential, and personal data to avoid getting corrupted, compromised, or lost. Data protection also ensures that data is only accessible for authorized purposes and can be restored if rendered unusable or inaccessible. In recent years, many countries and regions have passed data protection regulations, such as the EU GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act in the US, the Privacy Act in Canada, and the General Personal Data Protection Law in Brazil.

What is data sovereignty?

Data sovereignty refers to the concept that data generated and processed within a specific geographical location is subject to the laws and regulations of that region. This definition means businesses must comply with data privacy regulations and best practices within their jurisdiction or the region where they provide services. Data sovereignty also refers to the organizations' ability to control and protect their data against potential interference or data breaches.

The concepts of data protection and data sovereignty become even more intertwined and crucial in cloud computing environments and are essential when migrating workloads to the cloud. Companies must know where their data is hosted and rely on services and infrastructure that enable them to comply with the regulations of the regions or countries they are operating in.

Why is data protection crucial for data sovereignty?

The close relationship between data protection and data sovereignty signifies the importance of maintaining a robust data security posture. The following talking points justify why a business operating in any continent or country should invest in comprehensive data protection solutions.

  1. Safeguard digital rights: Data protection measures are necessary to uphold the digital rights of business customers and employees regarding their personal information. It ensures that personal data is not misused, shared without consent, or accessed unlawfully by external or internal actors.
  2. Maintain control and ownership: An organization can maintain control and ownership over its data by implementing robust, technology-agnostic data protection policies and practices, such as Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) or Bring Your Own Encryption (BYOE). This helps prevent data from being stored or processed outside its borders, reducing the risk of exploitation or compromise from inherited threats.
  3. Demonstrate compliance with laws: Many countries have enacted data protection laws and regulations to protect their citizens’ data privacy, where adopting adequate data protection controls is a fundamental requirement. By adhering to these laws and safeguarding personal and sensitive data, a company demonstrates its commitment to data sovereignty, respects employees, customers, and partners, and ensures that data is treated lawfully and ethically.
  4. Strengthen national security: Ensuring data protection enhances national security by preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data generated and processed by critical infrastructure companies (i.e., utilities, armed forces, manufacturing industries, banks, etc.). These entities are the backbone of national economies and compromising critical, confidential data may have implications for the country's defense, infrastructure, or strategic interests.
  5. Provide opportunities for business growth: Data sovereignty can be a competitive advantage for businesses that operate in countries with strict data protection laws. By demonstrating a commitment to protecting customer data and complying with local regulations, businesses can build trust with customers and gain a competitive edge over companies that are not as diligent in protecting data.
  6. Build customer trust: Robust data protection builds trust among customers that their data is handled responsibly and transparently. This trust is essential for fostering a positive environment for data-driven technologies and experience-enhancing services.
  7. Mitigate data security risks: Without proper data protection measures, data can be vulnerable to breaches, theft, or other security incidents. By prioritizing data protection, a company can reduce the risks associated with data breaches and the subsequent ripple effects, such as costs for remediation and restoring business operations, legal fines for violating privacy regulations, lost revenue, etc.
  8. Avoid legal conflicts: Data sovereignty issues can arise when data is stored or processed in multiple jurisdictions, such as with cloud platforms. Robust data protection practices can help avoid conflicts between different local or regional laws and regulations, reducing potential legal disputes. In addition, comprehensive data protection practices are the foundation for enabling data transfers between jurisdictions (i.e., the UK and the US or the EU and the US), which is crucial for promoting innovation and research.

In summary, data protection is a crucial component of data sovereignty, as it provides the necessary framework and security measures to protect customer rights and maintain control over the data generated and processed. Data protection enables an organization to exercise its sovereignty over data and sets the foundation for responsible and ethical data management practices.

Download our comprehensive guide on data protection to understand why it has become a core component of modern businesses and learn what it takes to build a robust data protection strategy.

Tags:  Data Protection

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