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Compliance, Workloads, and the Data Centre

July 17, 2015  |  Written by Digital Realty

In recent months, discussions around data centre compliance have shifted substantially. Where attention had tended to focus on ways to deal with the diverse range of regulatory requirements governing business activity, it’s now expanded to include topics such as privacy and protection.

The shift is being driven by the changing use of corporate data and the evolving role of the data centre itself. In particular, the rise of hybrid cloud infrastructures is making the task of compliance even more complex.

With company IT infrastructures increasingly spanning national and international borders, the complications of compliance become even more acute. They now extend far beyond more traditionally scrutinised areas such as the finance, insurance, and medical sectors and touch virtually every industry sector.

The Complications of Compliance

Regulations and directives are designed to protect individuals. At the same time, the ability to prove adherence to those regulations protects the businesses and service providers. For this reason, compliance has end-to-end effects and implications.

Also, it’s no longer only the reputation and financial position of a business that is at risk. Company officers may even be exposed to personal consequences if found to be in breach of their duties.

This recent Digital Realty whitepaper, while focused on the American market, covers issues that affect businesses across EMEA as they deal with the rapidly evolving world of cloud computing. It’s also critical for organisations to ensure they have full understanding of their complete IT landscape and the inherent risks faced when using cloud services.

Why the compliance of the DC matters – Helping Businesses Protect Their Workloads

As a provider of client-focused data centre solutions, Digital Realty provides on-going support to match the changing needs of our clients. This includes helping them understand where their data resides and how it is being used. Digital Realty helps mitigate risks by supporting and facilitating compliance, and assesses those risks in order to minimise exposure and loss.

Compliance is a fundamental part of way Digital Realty operates. We see it as an opportunity to partner with our clients to deliver agile solutions that meet their specific needs.

We ensure the necessary certifications that facilitate compliance across our European Turn Key FlexSM data centre portfolio. For example, The Uptime Institute, the global data centre authority, has certified our Irish data centre, Digital Profile Park, as Tier III compliant for both design and facility. Tier certification reflects the data centre’s rigourous requirements for high-availability service capabilities. Our UK data centre which we launched in Crawley for Rackspace is one of the UK’s greenest data centres with a design BREEAM assessment certification of ‘Excellent’.

Geographic issues and complexities

The European Union has taken – and continues to take – important initiatives to harmonise relevant legislation and is working with the US and cross-industry representatives on the subject.

The EU Data Protection directive outlines seven principles designed to protect all personal data collected for (or about) citizens of the EU. The principles cover issues such as how such data can be collected, stored, and shared. As a result, the directive creates challenges for organisations with data centres in the region as they need to ensure that they adhere to these principles.

The situation is made even more complex by the additional regulations imposed by individual EU member countries and the recent focus on comprehensive reforms to create a “one-continent one-law” set of regulations.

It’s vital to consider these challenges when selecting a data centre partner. As well has having a deep understanding of the evolving regulatory landscape, a partner must also be able to demonstrate they have a thorough compliance programme in place.

Digital Realty views compliance as a fundamental component of our customer offering, designed to meet their specific requirements in every market in which they operate. Details of our compliance credentials are contained in this white paper.

– Vijay Mistry, VP Operations, EMEA


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