intralinkWhen it comes to privacy laws, they often collide in different countries in the truest sense of the word. There are quite rigid requirements on the one hand and broad, interpretable laws, that allow unrestricted government access, on the other hand. However, to what extend do strict laws protect?

By now, more and more companies save their data centrally in the cloud, so that authorized users can access the data from anywhere in the world and at any time, making it easy to collaborate online with colleagues, suppliers or customers.

However, without adequate protection it can come to unwanted access and this brings us back to the reason why privacy laws are passed.

To shed light on the problem, Intralinks started to evaluate the legislation of all countries and created a ranking. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company is interested in the issue, since it offers a platform where customers can share documents and files securely, allowing them to complete their tasks quickly and efficiently. “It doesn’t matter what sort of hardware or operating system is used, all an end user needs is a browser and Web connection”, the holding states.

Company solution

Last year, Intralinks acquired docTrackr and integrated the new innovative security and digital rights management (DRM) technology into its platform, which was probably the main driver to the study. In addition, they can now give their customers sole control over data encryption keys, and strengthening security and data privacy even further by ensuring that only the key holders can access files in a readable format. The combination of Intralinks and docTrackr creates a unique solution that provides powerful protection for business documents - wherever they travel. PDF, Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, no matter where those documents are stored, shared or used can now be tracked and protected, as docTrackr combines rich document analytics, audit trails of all document activities, dynamic policy management, and a plug-in free deployment to ease user adoption and reduce operational support requirements. Besides that, the technology is so easy to use that DRM can be used by default for every shared document.

Legal solution

A high degree of legal certainty can be recognized by a rule of a comprehensive legislation, which is higher in Western than in Asian culture areas. However, there is no country on this planet, where a company can feel completely safe nowadays.

According to Intralinks findings, the toughest and most complete specifications are in Germany, UK, as well as the Netherlands and in Spain, but it has to be mentioned that European firms can store personal data in the United States, too.

On the other hand, weak data protection laws are seen mainly in Asia, Africa, Russia and South America. Unfortunately, our Asian region - and especially Hong Kong - has weak legislation and no legal hold against data access by governments or authorities. In Africa, Russia and South America, Intralinks states, there are virtually no laws on data protection, rather even personal data is unprotected there, too. In Brazil, for instance, companies are even forced by law to collect information about Brazilian citizens in the countries data center.

The US is worldwide the largest provider of IT services and the majority of global data traffic passes through servers in the United States. Hence, in many other ways the US has control power over data. In fact, as the "Five Eye agreement" shows, more than many know, as such an agreement allows e.g. the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to access data of EU citizens.

Companies should be aware of possible security holes to avoid disappointment. I can only emphasize to stay informed on new rules and regulations, and not to choose countries with unsatisfactory privacy laws so it can be avoided that corporate data can be accessed or your data can be viewed in transit through a territory.

By Daniela La Marca