Protecting Data Sovereignty
Often the term 'Sovereign Cloud' can have many different interpretations depending upon who is using the term and in what context. The standards for a sovereign cloud can vary drastically depending on where the cloud servers and data are located. For example, some countries and nation states enforce strict requirements for protecting data sovereignty, while in other countries businesses and individuals can determine for themselves how private data will be secured in transit and at rest.
We want to be very clear in that when we use the term 'sovereign' we do mean it has been designed and built to provide data access in compliance with UK local laws and regulations, ensuring that each subscriber’s data, including their metadata, is protected from foreign access and stored in compliance with the originating country’s privacy mandates. In the case of the UK this is UK GDPR and Part 3 of the UK Data Protection Act 2018 relevant to law enforcement processing.
Data Protection Act
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data protection law that was introduced by the European Union (EU) in 2018. It aims to provide individuals with greater control over their personal data and imposes strict obligations on organisations that collect and process such data.
GDPR sets high standards for data protection and privacy. In recent years, the United Kingdom has been making strides to catch up with countries like Germany and Italy. The UK has implemented our own data protection law: “the Data Protection Act 2018”, this closely mirrors the GDPR principles. The UK has to think about the sovereignty in a similar fashion to the rest of Europe, to ensure that personal information is not misused.
Data is a valuable asset, with the potential to shape economies, influence decision-making, and impact individuals' lives. Nation states are only just waking up to the need to establish robust data protection frameworks to safeguard the privacy and rights of their citizens.
By asserting sovereignty over data, nations can ensure that their laws and regulations are respected when it comes to the collection, processing, and storage of personal information. This becomes particularly important in an interconnected world where data flows can cross borders, and ensuring data sovereignty helps protect national security, economic interests, and the fundamental rights of individuals.
Germany and Italy have both taken proactive approaches to protecting data to ensure the privacy of their citizens. Germany is known for its strict data protection laws and robust enforcement mechanisms. The country has a long history of valuing privacy rights, coming from experiences with surveillance during World War Two and The Cold War. In Germany, data protection is considered a fundamental right, and the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) establishes comprehensive regulations for the collection, processing, and use of personal data. The German approach emphasises transparency, consent, and purpose limitation. It requires organisations to obtain explicit consent from individuals before processing their data and mandates clear information about the purpose of data collection. The country also promotes data minimisation, ensuring that only necessary data is collected and retained. Germany has a well-resourced data protection authority, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI), which oversees compliance and investigates violations.
Italy has a legal framework that focuses on privacy protection and individual rights. The Italian Data Protection Code (Codice in materia di protezione dei dati personali) is the primary legislation governing data protection in the country. Italy places emphasis on obtaining informed consent and limits the use of personal data to specific purposes. The country has established the Italian Data Protection Authority (Garante per la protezione dei dati personali) as an independent supervisory authority responsible for enforcing data protection regulations. The authority has the power to investigate violations, issue fines, and provide guidance on data protection matters. Italy has also implemented sector-specific regulations, such as the Italian Electronic Communications Code, which sets additional rules for data protection in the telecommunications sector.
Both Germany and Italy prioritise the protection of personal data, emphasise transparency and consent, and have strong regulatory bodies to enforce compliance with data protection laws. In order to be at the same level as Italy and Germany, we need to focus on some key areas:
- Strengthening Data Protection Laws: whilst we have already implemented data protection law,
- Data Protection Act 2018, which aligns closely with the EU’s GDPR needs to be enhanced,
- UK could consider further updates or amendments to address emerging challenges and stay in line with evolving best practices.
UK Regulatory Body
Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
Robust Enforcement: The UK's regulatory body, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), is playing a vital role in enforcing data protection laws. The ICO should continue to demonstrate a proactive approach in investigating and penalising non-compliance with data protection regulations. Starting to replicate the approaches of the bodies for Germany and Italy - this includes imposing substantial fines and taking swift action against organizations that fail to adequately protect personal data.
For UK businesses, catching up with Italy and Germany in terms of data protection is crucial. Non-compliance with data protection laws can result in significant risks and consequences:
1/Legal Penalties: Failure to comply with data protection laws can lead to substantial fines imposed by the regulatory authorities. Fines can reach millions of pounds, depending on the severity of the violation.
2/ Damage to Reputation: Data breaches or mishandling of personal data can severely damage a business's reputation and destroy customer trust. The negative publicity and loss of customer confidence has long-term consequences for a company's brand and its ability to attract and retain customers.
3/ Business Disruption: Non-compliance with data protection laws can result in business disruptions, including investigations, audits, and legal proceedings. This can divert resources, impact productivity, and lead to financial losses.
4/ Limited Market Access: In an increasingly globalised economy, businesses that do not meet adequate data protection standards may face restrictions when accessing international markets.
5/ Compliance with robust data protection regulations is often a requirement for international data transfers and partnerships.
Acting now and aligning with the data protection standards set by countries like Italy and Germany, UK businesses can greatly reduce their risks, increase their competitive edge, whilst building trust with customers, partners, and stakeholders.
Fully Managed – So You Can Focus On Your Business
Our cloud-based approach to secure hosting delivers unique economies of scale and flexible commercial options, which when combined with price transparency can help deliver value for money. We understand that the challenge goes far beyond the technical issues of building a secure and scalable IaaS solution. Our new UK SovereignCloud is managed and operated by UK Citizens with SC Clearance and Police Vetting (NPPV L3), hosted in assured secure UK data centres.
Every cloud design will formalise the dedicated components required for the solution, including storage hardware, storage software, network hardware and cables. Claritas is a strategic provider to the UK Government and has a wealth of experience in understanding what is required. Our unique multi-cloud platform enables you to mix and match the right cloud technology at the right classification level. We can deliver cloud infrastructure wherever you need it so you can focus on delighting your customers. Working with us means you never have to compromise the availability or integrity of the solutions you use.
Our secure UK cloud web hosting solutions provide businesses, non-profit, and governmental organisations with UK-compliant ways to deliver their web services and applications with a wide range of website hosting options to choose from, and we’ll help you select the one that is right for you.
New SovereignCloud Stack Features:
Virtual machines (VMs) provide the basic building block providing compute in SovereignCloud Stack. We offer a range of available VM sizes.
Virtual networks - we will configure the virtual private, hybrid and public clouds to suit your specific requirements with any 'add-on' features factored in to work for your environment.
We use object storage to support the application; not for multiple petabytes of data storage. So we always advise clean up backups to conserve storage & consider use of temporary storage.
Benefits For Your Business
Billion of pounds are expected to be spent on legacy technology within the UK public and private sector over the next few years - with the majority of this reserved to refresh aging, failing equipment. The cloud represents the opportunity to break the mould and focus on innovation.
The risks to data subjects’ rights include US government access via the Cloud Act, which effectively gives the US government access to any data, stored anywhere, by US corporations in the cloud. There is also a concern that transferring personal data to the US, a jurisdiction with demonstrably lower data protection standards, could in turn negatively impact people’s data rights to rectification, erasure and not be subject to automated decision-making.
Multi-channel capability allowing for controlled isolation from any existing Hyperscale commercial cloud services. Managed and operated by UK Citizens with SC Clearance and Police Vetting (NPPV L3), hosted in assured secure UK data centres.
A fully managed cloud infrastructure platform, with optional ‘add-ons’ to suit your multi-cloud business strategy.
- Fine-tune Security – Implement security controls in the cloud more quickly and effectively as well as secure data and workloads against rapidly changing attack vectors
- Achieve Compliance – Achieve compliance significantly faster and more efficiently as well as demonstrate compliance on an ongoing basis
- Improve Control – Ensure visibility and auditing of all cloud administration activities as well as prevent unauthorised or authorised access to data by foreign entities
- Unlock Data – Share and extend data with trusted companies or clouds within jurisdiction of the UK
- Future Proof – Avoid vendor and cloud lock-in. Sovereign Cloud protects against changing regulations, security threats and geopolitical impacts
- Choice of Storage – Robust, flexible storage options to meet different demands