Glossary

Data Residency

In the digital era, where information traverses borders effortlessly, data residency has emerged as a critical consideration for organizations navigating a complex regulatory landscape. Analogous to residents in a geopolitical context, each bit of data has an identity, subject to the data residency laws and regulations of the region in which it resides.

Much like residents of a country adhere to specific legal and cultural norms, data residing in a particular jurisdiction is bound by the regulatory imperatives and standards unique to that locale. 

Data Residency

What is Data Residency?

Data residency refers to the physical or geographic location where data is stored and processed. Data Residency is particularly relevant in cloud computing and data storage, where data can be distributed across servers in different countries.

Organizations and businesses must often consider data residency requirements to ensure compliance with local regulations and legal frameworks. Some countries have specific laws governing the storing and processing of certain types of sensitive data within their borders. For example, personal and financial data may be subject to data residency regulations that dictate it must be stored within the country to protect the privacy and security of individuals.

Data residency considerations can affect data privacy, security, and legal compliance. Businesses operating globally or using cloud services need to be mindful of these factors to avoid legal complications and ensure they meet the requirements of the jurisdictions in which they operate.

Major cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform have multiple data centers worldwide. The distributed nature of these data centers allows organizations to store and process their data near their users, improving performance and reducing latency.

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It’s 2023: Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

  • Global Network of Data Centers: Cloud service providers typically have a global network of data centers to offer scalability, redundancy, and performance optimization. These data centers may be located in different countries and regions.
  • Provider’s Regions and Availability Zones: Cloud providers organize their data centers into regions and availability zones. A region is a geographical area with multiple data centers, and availability zones are isolated locations within a region. Users can choose specific regions to host their data based on their needs.
  • Data Residency Options: Many cloud providers offer data residency options, allowing organizations to specify the geographic location where their data will be stored. This is particularly important for compliance with regional data protection regulations and industry-specific requirements.
  • Security and Compliance Measures: Cloud service providers implement robust security measures in their data centers, including physical security, encryption, and compliance with industry standards and certifications (e.g., ISO 27001, SOC, GDPR).
  • Provider-Specific Services: Different cloud providers may have specific services or features related to data residency. For example, some providers offer dedicated instances or services that ensure data stays within a specific country or region.

Understanding the Semantics: Data Residency vs. Data Sovereignty and Data Localization

Each concept carries distinct implications, and discerning their nuances is vital for businesses seeking to make informed data storage and compliance decisions.

Data Sovereignty

This concept revolves around the idea that data is subject to the laws and regulations of the country or jurisdiction where it is physically stored. Data sovereignty ensures that the legal framework governing data aligns with the laws of the location where the data resides. Governments, businesses, and individuals have stakes in data sovereignty, especially considering its impact on data security and compliance with various regulations. Laws such as the Canadian Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CCPPA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Australian Privacy Principles (APP) exemplify data sovereignty regulations. To adhere to these laws, organizations often conduct data audits, implement data protection policies, and stay abreast of regulatory changes.

Data Residency

Unlike data sovereignty, data residency pertains to the physical or virtual location where data is stored. It focuses on the geographical aspect of data, making it particularly relevant for organizations adhering to data privacy regulations like data residency GDPR. Data residency involves mapping, helping organizations understand what data they possess, its location, and the applicable residency policies. Reviewing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with cloud providers is crucial for verifying data movement, storage, and processing capabilities.

Data Localization

Data localization is another related concept involving storing data on servers physically located in the same country or region where the data was generated. It aims to maintain data within the legal boundaries of the nation or area of origin.

Understanding the distinctions between data sovereignty and residency is critical for businesses making informed data storage and compliance decisions. In an interconnected world with diverse legal frameworks, robust data protection measures, awareness of regulatory changes, and careful consideration of storage options are essential for ensuring data security and compliance.

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See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Want to talk to Centraleyes about Data Residency?

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