Protecting citizens’ digital rights has become a key area of focus for lawmakers and regulators globally over the last decade.
As a result, companies are increasingly subjected to a barrage of data localization requirements. Compliance officers and the legal departments of these entities must ensure the data they collect is processed and stored in the country of origin before being transferred overseas, ensuring adherence to local data protection laws.
Along with these requirements, there are other compliance efforts necessitated by law, such as informing users that their data is being collected, which vary based on the country or region.
Data localization requirements across major markets
Data localization regulations can take on many forms. While some countries or regions outright ban the transfer of data outside their borders, others place limitations on the storage, processing, and transfer of personal, financial, and health-related data of their citizens and residents.
In the US, there are a variety of nationwide laws mandating the retention and storage of personal data in the local jurisdiction, especially in cases of sensitive information about national security, tax or financial records, employment information, etc.
Watchdogs of highly regulated institutions, such as finance, healthcare, IT, and federal agencies further have retention period requirements, meaning the communication of employees has to be stored in an easily accessible manner for the required number of years.
The EU has even more stringent requirements that are part of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). According to the GDPR guidelines, organizations holding regulated data have to securely store their information inside the EU and only transfer it to countries or entities that have agreed to the equivalent privacy protections. Notably, the EU considers any entity accessing or processing the information from outside as a form of transfer, which could lead to the appropriate penalties. The regulator takes these violations seriously, as evidenced by the action against WhatsApp GDPR violations.
Countries, including the UK, India, and Vietnam have similar laws that require companies to obtain user consent before collecting and processing their data, which in turn has to be stored in the country.
Another major hub of IT, China, meanwhile has put in place strict data protection and localization guidelines for companies operating there, with requirements, such as having to ensure that the servers and data centers are all located in mainland China. Regulations, including 2016’s Cybersecurity Law (CSL) require companies to store a copy of the information in China as “original data” and only transfer the copy abroad after it goes through a security assessment.
Why mobile archiving and data localization compliance go hand in hand
One of the most crucial things companies have to keep in mind is that having an archiving strategy in place often makes them automatically compliant with most data localization requirements.
Recording employee communication from around the world across devices, operating systems, and networks via a mobile archiver is a surefire way to safeguard the data in the location of origin. The archived data can be instantly accessed and presented to regulators, lawmakers, or the judiciary upon request without the need for costly and time-consuming e-discovery. Having the archived information in a tamper-free manner as the “original data” or “single source of truth” will go a long way in ensuring accountability among employees when it comes to respecting the data localization laws of the region. Any attempt to share data outside the permitted location from an employee device can be instantly identified and corrected.
Further, companies can utilize archived employee communication to guarantee their marketing, customer support, sales, etc., teams are getting consent from their clients or prospects to collect, process, and store the relevant personal data. Companies are also expected to notify their customers of the purpose of the data collection, so having a record of employee interactions can ensure the customer is well aware of why they are being asked to provide certain details.
Apps like WhatsApp and Signal, which pride themselves on end-to-end encryption, only allow for communication information to be stored locally on user devices. A network archiver can help mitigate this issue, allowing companies to capture employees’ business-related communication instantaneously and store it on a server of choice for subjecting it to the necessary security assessments mandated by the regulators of the region or industry.
Capturing employee text messages and undertaking call monitoring to prevent the transfer of sensitive data outside the regulated jurisdiction can present a unique challenge, especially for globally distributed teams. Each team / department may fall under different jurisdictions and consequently have different data localization requirements. Capturing the communication sent out by each individual over the network instantaneously is a potent way to solve the challenge, as a copy can be retained for processing in a server in the same jurisdiction.
Another major way in which an archiving solution can empower organizations to undertake effective communication compliance when it comes to global data localization laws is by preserving metadata, such as timestamps, subject lines, and recipient and sender information. Companies can leverage this information to verify the authenticity of their business communication while dealing with regulator-led inquiries and investigations. Also, they can glean the context of various messages when they are conducting internal audits or investigations.
In each passing year, newer data localization regulations are being rolled out across geographies, intending to safeguard their citizens’ private information, trade secrets, and national security-linked data. So, companies, especially the ones operating in regulated industries, have to be extra careful when it comes to handling their employee and customer data. Any unintentional transfer, storage, or processing of the information in a different jurisdiction could lead to stiff penalties, as the regulators and lawmakers are intent on weeding out unauthorized data transfers. To safeguard your employee communication from tampering and to securely and instantaneously store it in a local server of your choice for as long as mandated by law, implementing a mobile archiver is the need of the hour. You can get started on the process of becoming compliant with your area’s data localization rules by contacting our team.
TeleMessage captures and retains mobile content, including mobile SMS messages, voice calls, WhatsApp, and WeChat conversations from corporate or BYOD mobile phones to ensure compliance with various data protection regulations. The messages are securely and reliably retained within TeleMessage servers or forwarded to your choice of archiving data storage vendor.
Our mobile archiving products securely record content from mobile carriers and mobile devices for various ownership models (BYOD, CYOD, and employer-issued). With our multiple archiving solutions, you can always find the right tools or blend for your requirements: