Cyber pact with India highlights data sovereignty risk, says Claranet

Cyber pact with India highlights data sovereignty risk, says Claranet Cloud concerns about data sovereignty and security remain high

David Cameron’s pact with India to secure UK data stored on the subcontinent will do little to reassure the large contingent of cloud users concerned about data sovereignty and security. According to Product Director Martin Saunders, the deal should remind end users of the questions that they need to ask their Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) if they are able to protect their sensitive information and prevent their data from being stored in undesirable jurisdictions.

David Cameron is to sign a cyber security deal with India in response to fears that British personal and business data stored on Indian servers are vulnerable to attack. According to Downing Street, the pact marks “an unprecedented level of co-operation with India on [computer] security issues”.

Saunders said that although the deal is a positive development in the global fight against cyber threats, cloud users should still seek contractual clarity and reassurance from their CSPs to understand how the service is delivered, where data is stored and ultimately who has access to their data.

“Cameron is right to highlight the risks associated with hosting data in jurisdictions which are perhaps not as well protected as at home. We’re all for tightening up security around the world, but the issue here is whether or not businesses are comfortable with their data being stored in India, even with these additional safeguards. Indeed it might come as a surprise to many to find that their data is even being held in the subcontinent. It’s important that cloud users equip themselves with enough knowledge to be able to ask the right questions of their CSP to ensure that their data is properly protected.”

In late 2012, Claranet polled 250 IT decision-makers from a range of small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises and public sector organisations, roughly half (47 percent) of respondents identified data sovereignty as a key security concern. In addition, 45 percent of respondents were concerned about security breaches resulting in the release of data.

Saunders continued: “Claranet’s own research into end user concerns about cloud services found that data sovereignty is one of the key concerns for organisations when moving to the cloud. Moving data to a cloud service can often mean it is hosted in another country and therefore subject to different data laws. If users have no visibility or control over where their data resides, they are risking the security of their data, their customers and even their own business’ survival.”

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