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Unlocking data control: The power of enterprise data sovereignty

02 / 05 / 2024

Article by: Thomas Castermans

As businesses grapple with the realities of a hyper-connected world, asserting control over data assets becomes essential for ensuring streamlined cross-border operations.

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In today’s globalised landscape, businesses are facing a major challenge of transcending data silos and avoiding extensive data fragmentation that impedes business efficacy. The only way to achieve this is by taking back full control over data, which requires a fundamentally new approach and strategy. This is where enterprise data sovereignty (EDS) comes into play.

What is EDS?

The interpretation of EDS varies across organisations, yet it universally revolves around data ownership, access and security. At its core, EDS entails ensuring:

  • Full ownership of data generated by an organisation through a variety of touchpoints;
  • Internal data accessibility and sharing with granular access controls;
  • Effective security measures for unauthorised access prevention;
  • Compliance with applicable data jurisdiction laws. 

Why is EDS so relevant today?

As data sources and user numbers expand, managing data becomes increasingly complex, posing challenges in governance, compliance and security. While different user groups may not require access to all data generated by an organisation, it is essential to ensure they can readily access the pertinent information they need, when they need it. Balancing user autonomy with centralised data ownership and access permissions management is essential to ensure uninterrupted workflows and control over data.

Another reason for the growing relevance of EDS stems from the pursuit of greater autonomy in managing data collection, processing, storage, and transfer, ultimately aiming to mitigate risks such as compliance breaches, data loss and unauthorised access. The introduction of legislation such as the 2018 US CLOUD Act, granting US law enforcement access to US companies’ and their clients’ data, irrespective of its storage location, sparked concerns over privacy and security among users of US cloud platforms and prompted them to scrutinise their providers' data handling practices more closely.

There is a growing emphasis on implementing measures such as granular data access controls and permissions management, localised data storage and encryption key ownership. These initiatives are geared towards bolstering control and sovereignty over digital assets, thereby ensuring business resilience in the face of challenges such as security breaches, system failures and other critical disruptions.

How to design and execute an efficient EDS strategy?

EDS requires more than just policy change; it demands a paradigm shift followed by concrete action. Designing and executing an efficient strategy entails a holistic approach that encompasses technology, governance and culture. Here are key steps to consider:

  • Policy development: Formulate clear and robust data governance policies that outline ownership, access controls, encryption standards, and compliance requirements. Ensure alignment with relevant regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and industry-specific standards.
  • Access control and monitoring: Deploy solutions that will help you enforce granular access controls based on roles, responsibilities and data sensitivity. Implement monitoring tools to track data access, modifications and transfer activities for audit and compliance purposes.
  • Data localisation: Evaluate data residency requirements and consider implementing strategies and technology for localising data storage and processing where necessary to comply with jurisdictional regulations and mitigate cross-border data transfer risks.
  • Vendor management: Evaluate third-party vendors and cloud service providers to ensure they adhere to stringent data protection and transfer standards and provide transparent data handling practices. 
  • Continuous evaluation and improvement: Regularly review and update the EDS strategy in response to the evolving regulatory landscape, technological advancements and emerging threats.
  • Employee training and awareness: Foster a culture of transparency and accountability by providing regular training on data privacy, security best practices and compliance requirements. 

At Valarian, we believe that adopting a proactive approach to EDS can help organisations establish a strong foundation for data protection, compliance and resilience in today’s complex and interconnected digital environment.

Our solution facilitates streamlined collaboration across various scenarios while granting organisations absolute authority over their data. Whether it's enabling privileged collaboration, ensuring business continuity, or offering a trusted channel for crisis communication, the Valarian platform supports enterprises with robust data oversight, security and governance measures across a variety of scenarios. Get in touch with us to discover how enterprise data sovereignty can benefit your organisation.