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Critical lessons businesses can learn from Huawei - Memset

17 Jun 2019

Following the recent announcement that the Chinese tech giant Huawei has scrapped its laptop launch, Memset CCO Chris Burden says that business leaders need to start having a closer attentiveness to data sovereignty. While a lot of talk has been about increasing barriers for IT hardware supply chains, data is just as important and could easily turn into a geopolitical bargaining chip.

Burden explains, “For most companies outside of regulated sectors, past concerns about data sovereignty were arranged around the level of trust in overseas countries’ environments and a desire to have a clear knowledge of where their data was stored.

“Having a specific place where IT leaders could visit to make sure everything was as it should be is important. However, as the use of public cloud has become more ubiquitous, the geographical whereabouts of data have become less important. This could be about to change.”

In the past ten years, there has been a growth of three paradigms for the internet and control of data.

  • A de-regulated, free-wheeling system in the US that favours businesses
  • An authoritarian, highly controlled internet and data surveillance exhibited by China and Russia behind – designed to give greater control to the state;
  • And a regulated, rules-based approach with the protection of the consumer at its heart, exhibited by the European Union.

However, the recent statements from the US and its blocking of Huawei, the EU’s increasingly aggressive investigations into Big Tech businesses and China and Russia’s move to separate their internet from the rest of the world demonstrate that the different world-views are becoming increasingly hostile to each other.

Burden continues, “The geopolitical climate might seem a long way from many businesses and their decisions on where to store their data.

“However, things could change quickly. A growth in regulatory divergence, threats to global supply chains – which include the handling of data – and the use of technology as bargaining chips in international trade relationships could quickly have a host of ramifications for SMEs."

“Data sovereignty is important and should not just be an afterthought when appointing a cloud provider."

“Suppliers should be able to actively respond with a commitment to only keep data in certain jurisdictions and be able to provide evidence to their customers that they are meeting those commitments. They should also be able to easily adapt to changing sovereignty issues and adjust the storage of data easily."

“Having a clear sense of where your data is and what rules you need to abide by are not only good housekeeping but could be fundamental for the success of businesses."

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