There is the standard view that the “the cloud” is an ever-present, “everywhere” magical place where architectures, workflows and files reside to be accessed at will by a world of users. And yes, that is mostly the case. But as geopolitics continues to evolve, so too does the technology that connects the globe.
Now, I’m not by nature a political person, nor is this a political article. However, I do represent a multinational technology company with insight into how laws and politics affect business. So let’s start there.
The idea that politics are volatile is nothing new. Moreover, every generation likes to think that they somehow live in a more unstable time than any other time in history (but I’ll leave that argument for you all to a debate over a family holiday dinner). But I can say that in the time we now live, the cloud and its seemingly borderless nature are coming into question like never before.
With a rise in nationalistic, protectionist ideologies globally, industry compliance has become the first bastion of cloud defense. In short, industries including insurance, finance, medical and more are now forced to look at the cloud more carefully—understanding where data resides and who has access.
To be clear, data sovereignty measures are nothing new. In fact, since the advent of the cloud, companies have been cognizant of data sovereignty and its implications. However, in the past few years, what has changed is the drive to create more robust regional cloud ecosystems, along with vertical cloud ecosystems that better meet industry compliance standards.
To put it another way, industry vertical data stay in a cloud infrastructure that remains inside a country’s borders—never to be tampered with. This is all done for a few reasons. The first is to reduce critical lock-in and single points of failure. For example, cloud providers in certain countries could be subject to political strife. In turn, that strife could disrupt a significant data center affecting organizations globally.
There is more to the challenge. Countries have laws that can allow them to view data residing inside their borders. That’s the case for most countries.
A perfect example is Canada and the US. Though our two countries are allies, data sovereignty is still critical. For the most part, Canada keeps its data for specific verticals within Canada—due to US laws about providing access to data. And vice-versa, the US does the same due to regulations in Canada. This is a perfect example of where protectionism isn’t the driving force, but laws on data access and sovereignty still affect where data can reside.
So, where am I going with all of this? First, when considering (or reconsidering) your options for the cloud, make sure that data sovereignty, location, and resulting security are always top of mind. And if you’re not quite sure where to turn—reach out to me any time. Our company does this for a living—helping organizations of all kinds address security and cloud infrastructure. So, if you have questions, we have the answers and the cloud solution for you.