Data Sovereignty and Cloud Computing

Learn how data sovereignty impacts your cloud data storage.

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With data sovereignty, businesses have the ability to keep their data within the borders of their own country. This is done with the purpose of protecting that data from being accessed or used by other entities without authorization. Almost 93% of the IT industry has switched to cloud computing—these companies are looking into whether or not it's feasible to store and access their data outside of their home country in order to take advantage of cloud benefits. In this post, we'll explore what data sovereignty is and how it applies to cloud computing, as well as some things for organizations to consider when making a decision about where to store their data.

What is Data Sovereignty?

Data sovereignty is the idea that a government has the right to control the movement and storage of its citizens' data. It also means that the government has a responsibility to protect that data from unauthorized access or use. Data sovereignty is particularly important in countries with strict privacy laws, like Germany and China.

Data sovereignty is an important issue to consider when using cloud computing services. It is important to know where your data is stored and how it is protected. You should also be aware of the laws of the country where your data is stored. If you are storing sensitive data, you may want to consider using a cloud service that stores data in a country with laws that provide more protection for your data.

Data Sovereignty vs. Data Localization vs. Data Residency

Data Sovereignty

Data Localization

Data Residency

Keeps data within borders of own country

Keeps data within certain geographic boundaries

Stores data in a specific geographic location

Important for countries with restrictive internet policies



Protects data from unauthorized access or use

Can improve performance and security of data storage

Can improve performance and security of data storage

Necessary for some organizations to comply with regulations

Helps organizations adhere to local regulations

Helps organizations adhere to local regulations

What Countries Have Data Localization Laws?

  • China. China has had a data localization law in place since 2016. The law requires that all personal data collected by companies be stored within China. This is done to help protect Chinese citizens' personal data from being accessed or used by other entities without authorization.
  • Russia. In Russia, data localization laws require that certain types of data be stored on Russian soil. This is meant to ensure that Russian citizens have access to their data and to protect it from foreign governments. These laws can make it difficult for companies doing business in Russia to store data in the cloud.
  • France. Since 2015, French localization laws have caused some concern among cloud providers, as it could limit their ability to offer services globally. However, many companies are still choosing to comply with the laws in order to maintain their presence in the French market.
  • Germany. Germany's data localization laws have been in place since 2016. Germany has some of the most stringent data localization laws in place, which can impact how cloud computing is used in the country.
  • Italy. Italy's data laws were put into effect in 2017. Like other countries, Italy's data localization law requires that companies store data within the country. This is in contrast to countries like the United States, where data sovereignty is not as strictly regulated.
  • Spain. Established in 2018, their data laws require that certain types of data be stored within Spanish borders, in order to ensure that the Spanish government can exercise jurisdiction over it. Many Spanish companies have built data centers within the country in order to comply with the law.

What Countries Have Data Residency Regulations?

  • United States. The United States has data residency regulations that require certain data to be stored within the country. This helps ensure that the data is accessible and under the jurisdiction of U.S. laws.
  • China. China's Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) went into effect in May of 2018. The law regulates the handling of personal data by both Chinese and foreign companies operating in China. One of the key requirements of the PDPL is that personal data must be processed and stored within China. This means that companies must establish data centers within China.
  • Russia. Personal data must be stored on Russian territory and can only be processed by Russian companies that have been certified by the government.
  • India. India has unique data residency regulations in place to ensure that Indian citizens have access to their data, and also helps to promote the growth of India's technology sector.
  • Canada. Canada has data residency regulations that require that certain types of data must be stored in Canada. Personal data is a key example of data that must be stored in Canada in order to comply with the residency regulations.

Learn more about Data Privacy Policies.

How Does Data Sovereignty Impact the Cloud?

Data at Rest

Data sovereignty impacts the cloud in a few ways. First, data residency regulations can mean that businesses must store data in specific countries. This can limit where data can be processed and stored, which can impact the performance and scalability of the cloud. Second, data sovereignty can impact the way that data is accessed and shared. In some cases, data may need security measures in place to protect it. Finally, data sovereignty can impact the pricing of cloud services, leading some companies to be charged more for storing data in a foreign country.

Data in Transit

Data in transit is data that is being used and is moving from one location to another. It is at risk for attack because it is in a vulnerable state, and it can be intercepted or altered. Data in transit can be protected through encryption and access control, just like data at rest. Similar to data at rest, data in transit can be protected by using encryption making it difficult for someone to intercept and understand the data.

Best Practices for Cloud Data Sovereignty Compliance

Cloud computing has become a staple in business operations, with more and more businesses making the switch to storing data and applications off-premises. However, as businesses move their data to the cloud, they must be aware of the potential for data sovereignty issues. In order to ensure compliance with country-specific data protection laws, it is important for organizations to follow these best practices:

Partner With an Internationally Compliant Cloud Provider

When looking for a cloud provider, it is important to ensure that they are compliant with international data protection laws. By partnering with teams that follow rigorous data security standards, businesses can minimize the risk of data sovereignty issues.

Automate Backups to Build Redundancy into Your Process

Backups are essential for protecting data from accidental loss or destruction. By automating backups, businesses can ensure that their data is redundantly stored in their data center and easily retrievable in the event of an incident. This helps to protect against data sovereignty issues, as well as data loss or corruption.

Implement the Most Common Data Sovereignty Rules into Your Data Storage Process

Many businesses are taking steps to ensure compliance with the most common data sovereignty rules. This includes implementing measures such as data security protocols. Businesses may safeguard their data from loss or corruption and reduce the chance of data sovereignty concerns by following these best practices.

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