For all the opportunities IT developments bring when it comes to storing or transferring sensitive data internationally, they naturally bring challenges, too. We’ve rounded up a few of the fears international IT managers are facing at the moment.
Concerns over cloud security
A study done by SecureData demonstrated that 49% of UK businesses currently use cloud services - so why not the other 51%? Although there are enormous benefits for businesses adopting cloud computing, such as significant cost reductions, there is a broad concern throughout IT departments about secure file transfer. This concern increases if those files are transferred internationally.
Roy Illsley, Principal Analyst at Ovum, stated: “The slow adoption of cloud computing is essentially down to perceived threats around the cloud. While multiple surveys report security as the number one reason for a failure to adopt cloud computing from end user organisations, Security as a Service providers prove that the managed services and technology to allay many of these concerns exists.”
- Using state of the art Tier 3 data systems that protect infrastructure and minimise risk
- Giving IT managers control over who sees and downloads specific files
- End-to-end encryption (which is crucial for international secure file transfer)
Legal uncertainties over data-residency
IT managers handling personal data for companies with international offices is an additional complication thanks to the plethora of data residency laws that vary between countries, especially when the centres holding the data are in a different jurisdiction from the customers themselves. As of mid-2013, there were over 99 countries with their own data residency laws and, unsurprisingly, those laws vary. Without a global law to simplify the matter, it can leave managers wondering which country’s laws apply to what data.
Steve Pata from Computerworld stated: “There is a complex web of regulations and policies that govern data privacy. The most frequently cited are the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). European data protection laws often go even further, prohibiting any personally identifiable information from moving outside EU or country borders. This puts some obvious limits on unrestrained use of the public cloud… Organisations are also concerned that law enforcement or government officials could potentially access data directly from their CSP, bypassing the company completely.”
When it’s not clear which laws apply, it’s critical to have the very best systems in place for international data transfer and storage. One of Maytech’s clients, Top Right Group, faced this very issue. With bases in Frankfurt, Dubai, Melbourne, New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo and Shanghai, they needed to send large image and video files between countries quickly and seamlessly, which is why they came to us.
Thanks to our global infrastructure, Top Right Group is able to use our international hubs to channel content quickly, and the managers don’t have to worry about data residency or portability issues.
European rules on the horizon
In 2015, the EU Data Protection Reform regulations were agreed, although these are not yet in force - and it remains to be seen whether they will impact the UK following the Brexit decision. If they do, it means that companies across the EU that mishandle or fail to protect personal data will face significant penalties (up to 4% of annual revenue). In addition, any data breach would have to be disclosed within 72 hours.
Facebook has welcomed the reforms. A representative has said: “Having a single set of rules to protect Europeans' personal data while creating opportunities for growth and innovation is important for people in Europe and the European economy. We welcome consistent regulations that enable all companies to comply with the same standards across Europe, under the guidance of one lead supervisory authority.”
Problems with data transfer to China
Given that China is the world’s second largest economy, it makes sense for companies to do business there. But these technological issues make transferring data into or out of China extremely difficult. The Great Firewall of China means that certain search terms and websites are banned and that Chinese websites aren’t accessible outside the country, making it a challenge to share information across the digital border. What’s more, Dropbox, the file sharing software, is blocked and there are many fears around the security and reliability of the internet there.
Because of these problems, Maytech came up with FTP-Stream China, a superfast and super reliable China file sharing framework that bypasses the Chinese internet when sending files. For more information on how this can bolster your productivity when conducting business in China, click here.