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Data Sovereignty

Data on the internet is accessible all over the globe, and every country makes different laws regarding data usage. If you own a business that stores data, it's important to recognise these different laws to ensure you're not breaching them in your country as well as any other country where you hold data. For example, if you run an online store and you store the information of your customers and some of those customers are from different countries, you may need to comply with the data laws in their countries.   

Please continue reading to learn everything you need about data sovereignty and how it applies to your business. In addition, we will discuss these laws on a personal basis, so you understand them.

What is Data Sovereignty?

It’s important you understand what data sovereignty means and why it matters. Data sovereignty is the idea that individuals and organisations should be entitled to the protections offered by their own country's laws regarding how their data is stored and processed by other places. This means that data should be handled in accordance with the laws of the place it originated from, not necessarily the laws of the place where it is being stored, or processed. For example, consider a scenario where a country prohibits the sharing or selling of its citizens' medical data for commercial purposes.

A country that respects the data sovereignty of others would ensure that this information is also not shared or sold in their jurisdiction. You can see how this idea is great for our own individual protections globally but may pose some initial challenges for business.  

Learning each country's laws would be best when you collect information from people outside your country or host website information in other countries. You can land block your IP address to ensure that other countries don't have access to private information that they can use based on their laws. If you host your website worldwide, you're subject to the laws throughout each country regarding your data sovereignty.

The Importance of Data Sovereignty

Data sovereignty is important because your customers need to know how accessible their information is. If your business doesn't follow laws of data sovereignty varying from country to country, you could be subject to that country's punishment. The last thing you want to worry about as a business owner is violating laws you're unaware of.

Each country has different regulations regarding their data sovereignty that you need to make yourself aware of for any country you host your website. It may sound appealing to make your website as accessible as possible, but this isn't always practical.

Protect Your Company

The number one way to protect your company from trouble is to practice data sovereignty and understand the rules regarding personal data. For example, if you mishandle your customer data in a country, the people in that country can have a class action lawsuit against your organization. These lawsuits could cost you tons of money and give you a bad reputation worldwide.

Law enforcement will get involved with your company if you don't follow a country’s data sovereignty rules. People take personal information seriously and don't want to be the victim of a data breach.

Why Are Data Laws Different In Every Country?

Most countries value data security to keep their people safe from cyber-attacks. However, different countries have varying laws regarding these cyber-attacks depending on direct threats to that country. For example, a country that doesn't often deal with data law issues may not have as many protective measures.

Alternatively, most countries are aware of data leak issues and create laws to protect their citizens. These laws can vary from country to country; some are strict, while others are lenient. For instance, Iceland has the strictest data privacy laws in the world, so website owners need to be cautious before making their data available in that country.

You are subject to their rules if you host a website in Iceland or any other country with strict data privacy laws. Even if you don't live in the country where you host your website, they can take you to court and deliver consequences based on your data collection practice.

Back-Up Important Business Information

No matter which country you host your website in, you must create backup information to enhance your website security. The following are ways that you can back up your important business information to keep it safe.

What is a Data Cloud?

A data cloud is an intuitive way to back up your business information. However, each cloud can have security issues you must be aware of before deciding. You'll need to find a reliable cloud to keep your information on and protect yourself. You should avoid storing sensitive information in these clouds in case they get compromised.

Physical Backups

Creating physical backups of your information is one of the most secure ways to store sensitive business info. For example, you can print off documents that have sensitive information and store them in a private spot in your office. This way, people online can't access the information, but you still have it backed up.

If you create physical backups of your business information, you should print multiple copies and keep them in different areas. This way, you can keep your info if something happens to the building where you store your physical backups. For example, you'll lose your physical backups if your house burns down.

USB Drives

You can back up your information using a secure USB drive. Be cautious about the USB drives you select to ensure you don't compromise your information. Sometimes, scammers create USB drives that give them full access to your private information, so only buy USB drives from reputable sources.

If you see a deal on a USB drive that seems too good to be true, it's best to assume that it is. Scammers put viruses on these USB drives that streamline your information directly to their computer after you purchase it. A legitimate USB stick will carve the data information onto the USB drive instead of using a sticker.

You're a cautious consumer; using a USB drive to backup implant business information is a great way to secure your data. It's important to create appropriate backups of information to protect your business. When you do lose important business information, it can have a huge impact on your life.

Backup Service Providers

If you're nervous about backing up your data, you can hire a service provider to handle the situation. Hiring a backup data management service provider is also a great way to ensure that you follow data management laws in the country you host your website. You may need to hire different backup service providers to stay within the country’s laws.

If you violate data management and backup laws, people in that country can take you to court and win a lawsuit against you. These lawsuits range in price depending on each country's laws and punishment. In some countries, you can even be jailed for mishandling personal data.

Important Points About Data Sovereignty

Now that you understand what data sovereignty is, it's important to discuss the main points to take away from this article.

- Some countries have lenient data sovereignty laws, while other countries have strict laws regarding personal data.

- Data sovereignty laws vary from country to country.

- You can hire country residents to handle your data for your business to ensure that you comply with all data sovereignty laws.

- Neglecting to comply with data sovereignty laws in a country you collect data from can lead to jail time and fines, even if you don't live in that country.

Some countries have strict data sovereignty laws to ensure their residents remain safe when using websites.

If you're unsure about data sovereignty and if your business is compliant, give us a call. Our cybersecurity team can help guide you in the right direction. 

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