Concerns about data protection, privacy and security are at an all-time high as enterprises around the globe prepare for regulatory and compliance requirements like GDPR. To address this, today, IBM has announced major upgrades for its cloud data centre in Frankfurt, Germany to give clients even more control and transparency over where their data lives, who has access to it and what they can do with this access.
The transition to the cloud presents enormous opportunities for enterprises operating in Europe. The rapid growth of higher value services like AI, analytics, blockchain and IoT is enabling companies to unlock transformative insights from their data like never before. In fact, the European Commission estimates that the value of the data economy in the EU can increase to €739 billion by 2020.
While exciting for all of us, this transition also introduces the need for greater responsibility. Concerns about data residency, security and personal data protection are at an all-time high as businesses prepare for pending regulatory and compliance requirements like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Every day I hear from a wide range of global clients across every industry that they need tighter controls and visibility into where their data is stored and processed in the cloud. However they don’t want to be slowed down when they decide to tap into higher value cloud services that can drive their businesses forward.
That’s why I’m excited to announce an important step forward in IBM’s ongoing commitment to data responsibility. In December 2017, IBM will roll out a new support model and capabilities for IBM Cloud in Frankfurt, Germany that truly set our approach to data responsibility apart.
Data responsibility is an area where IBM has already taken the lead and it has always been IBM’s policy that the client determines where their data is located in the cloud. Today IBM is taking that a step further to ensure access is fully restricted and to give clients complete control and transparency over where their data lives, who has access to it and what they can do with this access.
“IBM’s commitment to data responsibility and the added controls in the IBM Cloud in Europe allow us to trust IBM to protect our most valuable data,” says Patrick Palacin, Cofounder and CTO of TeleClinic, which provide security-rich telemedicine services to patients throughout Germany. “Our patient and caregiver information is highly sensitive and additional capabilities to ensure data residency, security and privacy mean the IBM Cloud is the innovation platform we can trust.”
Let’s take a closer look at what these new capabilities to the IBM Cloud in Frankfurt will mean for enterprises.
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IBM Cloud Puts You in Complete Control Over Your Data
Every enterprise is responsible for protecting its data, and this includes knowing who has access to it and when. IBM will roll out new controls to ensure access to client content (including client Personal Data and Special Personal Data) is restricted to and controlled by EU-based IBM employees only. These employees will play a critical role in IBM’s incident and change management processes by reviewing and approving all changes from non-EU based employees that could affect client data.
In a move that is unique to only IBM Cloud in dedicated environments, clients will review and approve all non-EU access requests to their content if an instance requires support or access from a non-EU based employee. If granted, this access is temporary and the client will be notified when the temporary access is revoked. Logs that track access are made available to the client.
Access to IBM’s Higher Value Services to Drive Innovation
Clients want to use IBM Cloud as a platform for innovation and new business value, but they need assurance that their data will be restricted to the EU at all times to help comply with regulatory requirements. IBM has one of the most robust portfolios of cloud services on the market and the new support model and capabilities will be applied to the full cloud architecture stack in Frankfurt, including infrastructure and higher value services like AI, data, and DevOps over time.
Increased EU-Based Staff for 24/7 Local Support
To better support our EU clients, IBM is growing its customer support teams in Europe to provide 24/7 in-region operations and support. These new EU-based employees bolster IBM’s technical expertise and client success staff across Europe to deliver a robust, always-on client experience that is designed to meet the needs of today’s global businesses.
Advanced Encryption Capabilities So Only You Can Unlock Your Data
Additionally, in the New Year, IBM will roll out advanced capabilities that enable clients to encrypt their data – at rest and in-transit – with their own master keys. Encrypting data enables clients to store their data in the cloud and protect it from theft and compromise. Since the keys remain in possession of the customer, the data is protected from cloud service providers as well as from other users.
Today’s news builds on IBM’s leadership in data responsibility. The only technology company to clearly and completely outline its data responsibility practices and principles in one place, IBM complies with the data privacy laws in all countries and territories in which it operates. IBM was an early leader in developing and adopting the European Union (EU) Data Protection Code of Conduct for Cloud Service Providers for several offerings, securing certification under the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield and the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules.
Nowhere is IBM’s commitment to Europe more apparent than in our continued investment to expand our cloud footprint in the region. Europe is currently home to 16 of IBM’s nearly 60 cloud data centres across 19 countries worldwide. With data centres in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, clients can confidently run their data when and where they need.
We also recognise that public cloud may be the ultimate destination for enterprises, but hybrid cloud is a key part of the transition. That’s why IBM also offers clients the IBM Cloud Private software platform and a portfolio of hybrid capabilities to help bridge public cloud and traditional IT environments.
While data privacy is especially important in Europe, clients in many markets face regulatory pressures to protect their users’ data. IBM plans to take the improvements outlined here and adopt them across other IBM locations in the future.