Keep your data options open, warns Gartner

In the wake of privacy allegations against US service providers, companies should consider whether the US is really the best place to host sensitive information
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

International companies keeping data abroad might want to reconsider their options after a number of US telcos were accused of leaking data to a US government agency earlier this month, analyst house Gartner has warned.

Reports in the US press stated AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon had all leaked details of millions of call records to the National Security Agency. Now, says Gartner, companies should judge whether keeping their data in the US might be a risk to privacy.

The analyst house said in a research note: "Businesses with both domestic and international employees and customers — particularly those with significant operations in Canada and the EU — should expect heightened sensitivity about the way they use telecommunications, Internet and other communications service providers in the United States, and be prepared to answer questions about their use of US providers."

Gartner counsels companies with operations in a number of countries, particularly the EU and Canada, to take a look at alternate locations for data hosting in case threats to data privacy become too great.

The analyst house also recommends companies should quiz their service providers on how data is managed and in what circumstances it is divulged, as well as demanding service providers let customers know when they are asked to provide customer data by the government.

Businesses should also ensure they are able to sever their contract with a service provider if they believe their supplier has inappropriately given away its data, Gartner said.

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