A survey of over 300 IT decision makers in EU businesses has revealed that 47% are unaware of the geographical location their critical and personal data is hosted in.
The survey, conducted by cloud hosting firm UKFast, comes as the proposed data transfer framework, Privacy Shield – itself a replacement for the failed Safe Harbour treaty – is met with criticism from EU privacy watchdogs. Last week the influential Article 29 Working Party raised concerns over snooping and security protections on data stored or backed up in the USA, where many data processors keep data as standard.
UKFast CEO, Lawrence Jones, said: “This is a big issue for British businesses. If they don’t know where their data is being stored then how can they reassure their customers, or the courts, that it is secure and not at risk of interference? I think the biggest problem with Safe Harbour and now with Privacy Shield is that the American government is able to access companies’ data. The EU is now saying, quite rightly, that it’s not comfortable with that.”
Jones claims the results of this survey demonstrate the industry as a whole needs to take a stronger stance on the control of data and the education of businesses, something that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to achieve. The GDPR is set to introduce stricter rules on data regulations and, significantly, much higher fines and sanctions for those organisations which fail to meet the standards.
“Our research shows that there are too many businesses not taking responsibility for sensitive personal data, so I welcome the EU taking a firmer line on data privacy and protection, and trying to raise awareness. It should have happened sooner.
“There needs to be a greater understanding of this issue in the marketplace and more discussion between hosting companies and their clients. We are always ready to have that conversation with our customers because our supply chain is very tightly controlled and data sovereignty is guaranteed.”
Privacy Shield is set to be adopted in June but is widely expected to be subject to legal challenge on the grounds that it fails to protect EU citizens’ data privacy, casting doubt on future transatlantic data processing arrangements.
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