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The Future of the EU-US Safe Harbor Data Privacy Policy

If Safe Harbor is suspended, a US Company with a large presence in the EU needs other options

Last year's revelations of government surveillance programs by the NSA and others, along with possible lack of enforcement of the Safe Harbor program by the FTC, caused the European Civil Liberties Committee to recommend suspending the entire EU-U.S. Safe Harbor approach. If the recommendation was followed, the implications for businesses would be dramatic. U.S. companies would no longer be able to enjoy the simplified data sharing policy currently in place for those that are able to meet EU requirements to earn Safe Harbor certification. Certified companies are able to transfer private customer data out of the EU and receive transfers of data from EU companies as long as they properly meet renewal requirements each year.

While the repeal has not taken place, just recently, a high-level EU official called for suspending the agreement if the US did not meet some new and stricter data sharing policies by this summer.

These calls for suspension have some looking for answers to what it would mean for US companies that conduct business with Europe, both those in process of obtaining certification and those already certified who need to annually renew. There is a possibility that a company in good standing with Safe Harbor would still be allowed to share personal information from the EU for a time, but there are obviously no guarantees at this point given the current climate.

If Safe Harbor is suspended, a US Company with a large presence in the EU needs other options so that business operations are not interrupted. One option is to use a technology solution that deploys tokenization, which is the process of taking a sensitive data field and replacing it with a surrogate value called a token. With tokenization, the original data value is completely removed and replaced with tokens that cannot be returned to their corresponding values without access to a secured "look-up" table.

Using this approach would enable an organization to still use US clouds but keep EU Data Directive "governed data within Europe." The technique is used by many organizations throughout Europe today in order to keep their sensitive data local (resident) while using US based clouds. And when properly implemented via a Cloud Data Control Gateway, enterprises can continue to use all of the functions of their Cloud applications, like Searching on data, even when it has been tokenized.

For more information on a technology solution that can help US companies meet strict EU data residency requirements, visit this page explaining to learn more about PerspecSys' cloud control gateway.

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PerspecSys Inc. is a leading provider of cloud protection and cloud encryption solutions that enable mission-critical cloud applications to be adopted throughout the enterprise. Cloud security companies like PerspecSys remove the technical, legal and financial risks of placing sensitive company data in the cloud. PerspecSys accomplishes this for many large, heavily regulated companies across the world by never allowing sensitive data to leave a customer's network, while maintaining the functionality of cloud applications. For more information please visit www.perspecsys.com or follow on Twitter.

More Stories By Gerry Grealish

Gerry Grealish is Vice President, Marketing & Products, at PerspecSys. He is responsible for defining and executing PerspecSys’ marketing vision and driving revenue growth through strategic market expansion and new product development. Previously, he ran Product Marketing for the TNS Payments Division, helping create the marketing and product strategy for its cloud-based payment gateway and tokenization/encryption security solutions. He has held senior marketing and leadership roles for venture-backed startups as well as F500 companies, and his industry experience includes enterprise analytical software, payment processing and security services, and marketing and credit risk decisioning platforms.

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