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Multi-Regional Regulatory and Legal Issues

Third-party cloud providers will frequently establish data centers in affordable or convenient geographical locations. Cloud consumers will often not be aware of the physical location of their IT resources and data when hosted by public clouds. For some organizations, this can pose serious legal concerns pertaining to industry or government regulations that specify data privacy and storage policies. For example, some UK laws require personal data belonging to UK citizens to be kept within the United Kingdom.

Another potential legal issue pertains to the accessibility and disclosure of data. Countries have laws that require some types of data to be disclosed to certain government agencies or to the subject of the data. For example, a European cloud consumer’s data that is located in the U.S. can be more easily accessed by government agencies (due to the U.S. Patriot Act) when compared to data located in many European Union countries.

Most regulatory frameworks recognize that cloud consumer organizations are ultimately responsible for the security, integrity, and storage of their own data, even when it is held by an external cloud provider.