Why It Matters Where You House Your Data

Businesses have legal and ethical obligations to protect information in one jurisdiction and legal requirements to turn that information over in another.


25 February 2014

Why it Matters Where You House Your Data

Living in the age of Edward Snowden and the NSA, it’s no surprise that issues like data privacy and data governance have become major topics of conversation - especially concerning where organizations should house their data.

The notorious Edward Snowden and NSA scandal is just one example of government data collection for the purpose of security, law enforcement or foreign relations. Major technology companies like Google and Facebook have started being more transparent about government requests for customer data to make the surveillance practices of nations more visible to their users.  When government requests are made, organizations collecting data are put in a very difficult situation - businesses have legal and ethical obligations to protect information in one jurisdiction and legal requirements to turn that information over in another.

Organizations’ increased use of cloud-based file storage and collaboration tools are only intensifying these concerns. Some businesses are unaware of the data protection regulations in different countries and jurisdictions, making it nearly impossible to confirm or deny whether or not their cloud collaboration vendor of choice has the right safeguards in place to protect its most valuable information – wherever it’s stored.

You might already be asking, “Why should I care where my data is housed?” While common sense would suggest local governments can access information in the location of the corporate headquarters, this is not always the case. Even if a company is headquartered in one jurisdiction and houses data there, information sharing isn’t always geographically bound. When you share content in another jurisdiction, that might be enough cause for said jurisdiction to demand access to your data too. With uncertainty and breadth in the law, in some cases a government could present a case of illegal activity absent criminal intent.  And even if you aren’t concerned about law enforcement or intelligence services having access to your data, your customers might be - another important reason of why choosing where to house your data matters.

Information is one of your organization’s most valuable assets and should not be shared without first putting the proper safeguards in place. So where should you go from here?

Deciding where to house your data and how to move it securely requires an understanding of data protection regulations in different countries and jurisdictions and the level of risk analysis in the decision-making process. An evaluation of that criteria in regard to cloud-based storage and collaboration tools should follow.

If you’d like to learn more about what factors to consider when choosing where to house your data or for information on global regulatory compliance, check out our latest whitepapers “Data Privacy: Where Should I House My Data?”  and  “Confidential Collaboration: How to manage regulatory compliance & data privacy while keeping your data safe.” 



Meagan Parrish

Meagan Parrish

Meagan Parrish is the Senior Manager of Social Media at Intralinks. She is responsible for social media strategy development and the communications for Intralinks' online communities. Meagan has been creating social media strategies for a variety of companies across verticals for the past several years. She holds Bachelor degrees in Marketing and Finance, with a minor in English Literature.