Understanding data protection in the cloud


The concept of protecting content in the cloud seems like an obvious one. No organization is going to put their crown jewels into a cloud-based solution without making sure that they are going to be secure, right?

For countries based in the European Union (EU), it’s actually a little more complicated than simply making sure that data is secure. The reason for this is something called the Data Protection Directive, which the European Commission introduced in the 1990s. The legislation covers the protection and processing of personal data regarding individuals and the free movement of such data across the EU.

Put simply, the Directive is not law in itself, but 28 EU states have incorporated it into their laws – in different ways!

This has led to a lot of confusion by cloud vendors and organizations wishing to use the cloud within the EU. For example, the German and Austrian interpretations of the Directive have resulted in situations where personal data is not permitted to be stored outside of the physical boundaries of those countries. As a result, many German organizations believe that the only way to manage this is with German data centers hosted by German vendors.

In order to provide both end users and vendors with a clear and concise resource to manage their cloud content, AIIM, the enterprise content management (ECM) industry association – in conjunction with Hyland, creator of OnBase – has created a 30-page whitepaper, “Making Sense of European Data Protection Regulations.”

The whitepaper is available to download for free and includes key sections on:

  • What data protection actually means
  • How the European Union Data Protection Directive affects organizations operating in the EU (both as end users and vendors)
  • Country-by-country details of what to be aware of in terms of legally managing content in the cloud

I advise anyone considering a cloud-based solution of any type to read the paper – as well as anyone already using the cloud – as the findings and recommendations are very interesting.

And for the Germans and Austrians reading this, you can store content in the cloud outside of your countries’ borders, but you’ll have to read the report to find out how!

David Jones

Dave brings over 20 years’ experience of working across the globe on projects ranging from enterprise content management (ECM) to Big Data, and for clients ranging from the BBC to... read more about: David Jones