Why pay for gigantic servers and software when you only need a small amount of space? Or so goes the logic.
Many companies large and small are starting to migrate to what we call the ‘cloud.’ This system stores data in off-site servers, which are located throughout the world.
Governments ranging from local, state to federal are looking at these options as well. But considering how data is kept in third-party servers sometimes offshore, some are expressing concern about private information like health records, criminal records and other sensitive materials.
Australia in particular is seeing intense debate over what some term ‘data sovereignty.’ Some government agencies, private companies and groups, who prefer data centers be housed within their territorial borders, are raising concerns over jurisdiction and privacy.
In the private sector, this concern is also being expressed by HP’s Asian Enterprise Services Director Alan Bennett. The company has partnered with agencies in Australia to move their data to the cloud environment but is rolling out these systems in phases.
“Some of the state agencies we’ve spoken to have been open to hosting certain classes of processing out of state, but they really want their data in-state and the ability to process it when they need to,” says Bennett.
Concerns by Bennett, governmental agencies and privacy groups mainly center on the extent at which laws can protect the privacy and access to sensitive data.
These debates extend into Europe as well…some member nations of the European Union have placed restrictions on the types of data that can leave their national borders. In the U.K for instance, its Data Protection Act expressly forbids sensitive data from being stored offshore.
To address these types of concerns and meet jurisdiction standards, some have floated the idea of maintaining multiple copies of data. Some of these members of the EU also advocate creating an EU-wide cloud. While this solution does ensure redundancy and physical jurisdiction over sensitive materials, it doesn’t address concerns/restrictions about data leaving a particular country.
As you can see, controversy can ensue with how technology can integrate into running an enterprise. Private companies can certainly see similar concerns arise – proprietary information, sensitive company records and other items are quite valuable and would devastate a company if they fell in the wrong hands.
When thinking about records involving an entire country’s population, you can imagine this gets quite complicated.
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