Unpacking the Importance of Data Sovereignty

In the digital world, data is king. Especially personal data. It influences the ads we see, the products we consume, and even the policies we operate under. However, as more of our personal data is shared with (and stored by) services we use, or companies we buy from, the more vulnerable it becomes to misuse and abuse.  

This is where data sovereignty comes into play. 

What is Data Sovereignty? 

Data sovereignty is a concept that originated in 2016 and consists of these two ideas: 

  1. Individuals, organisations, and governments should have control over their own data, and 
  2. That data should be stored and processed within the jurisdiction where it was collected. 

The world at large has been doing much better when it comes to the first idea. Users have more control over their data than in previous years and, thanks to current legislation, that power will continue to grow. When it comes to storing and processing data locally, though – companies can struggle. Especially if they’re using cloud-based software. It’s tempting to just ignore local processing altogether. 

But we’re here to say don’t do it. Compromising on data sovereignty, even a little, can leave you open to big risks. Especially for Australian companies, which have unique obligations that must be considered when it comes to data. 

Why Data Sovereignty Matters for Australian Companies 

  1. Legal Compliance. Data sovereignty is critical for ensuring that organizations comply with both international and national laws and regulations. For example, in Australia, The Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) set out strict guidelines for how personal information can be collected, used, and disclosed. By keeping data within Australia, organizations can be sure they’re complying with these national regulations and not exposing themselves to legal risk.  
  2. National Security. Data sovereignty is also important for national security. By keeping data within Australia, not in a cloud server in some other country, companies can better protect it from foreign entities who are looking to abuse or misuse it. 
  3. Cultural Considerations: Australia is a multicultural society, and it’s important that companies respect and protect the cultural heritage of all Australians. This is especially important for Indigenous groups – whose traditions and laws have often been overlooked. Data sovereignty dictates that Indigenous data should be governed by Indigenous laws as well as national laws.  

Australian’s Data Sovereignty is Often at Risk – And They Don’t Even Know It 

One of the most significant examples of this is our government’s use of Hikvision and Dahua devices for surveillance in all our defense buildings. These devices are owned, in part, by the Chinese Communist Party and if they requested footage from these cameras, the Hikvision and Dahua owners may be legally obligated to provide it. Even if they wanted to preserve their customers’ data sovereignty, they wouldn’t be able to 

Because of this, and many more national security concerns, the Australian government is replacing all devices with a solution that’s completely compliant with all necessary data and privacy laws. 

This raises questions about other communications devices, like IP phones and UC software. Is user data truly secure when outsourced to companies not governed by the APPs? Are private conversations as private as we hope when they’re had under different security laws and regulations? 

Many communications providers outsource important data – like call records, medical histories, credit card information, etc. – to countries with less stringent data sovereignty laws. Which is why the Australian government has taken steps to severely limit what kind of personal data is shared with certain providers and how it’s shared. 

But by and large, it’s much easier for businesses to keep their data “in-house” using a locally based communications company. That way they know they’re held to the strictest data security standards.
 

How Yabbit Can Help Aussies with Data Sovereignty in their Communications Channels 

At Yabbit, we take data – and data sovereignty – seriously. This is why all our data is stored and processed within Australia, not outsourced to other countries. That way it’s still governed by Australian rules and regulations. 

We also take great care to protect our customers’ data from unauthorized access. First, all our solutions are equipped with the highest levels of encryption, so customer data is secure at rest and in transit. Second, all of Yabbit’s platforms have multiple forms of authentication which prevents unauthorized users from accessing our customers’ information.  

Oh, and did we mention we also provide a way to manage your data too? That’s right, our offerings come equipped with the tools you need to run diagnostic check-ups, visualize your data, and generate detailed reports on how it’s being used and accessed. 

Give You – and Your Customers – the Gift of Data Sovereignty with Yabbit 

Here at Yabbit, we pride ourselves on being a cloud solution provider Aussies can trust with their data. Our UCaaS platform‘s locked down tight, and our support staff constantly monitoring to make sure it stays that way. Want to experience the extra levels of security yourself? Schedule a free demonstration of our capabilities with a member of our team! They’d be happy to yabber with you and answer any questions you’ve got! 

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