EU Court Suspends Safe Harbor

Jeannine Mulliner, October 14, 2015

Organizations collecting personal data in Europe and hosting that data on US cloud services got a wake-up call last week when the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union, ruled Safe Harbor invalid. BBC News reported that, "More than 5,000 US companies make use of the arrangement to facilitate [transatlantic] data transfers." In reviewing the implications of the court’s ruling, the article also reported that, "Personal data should no longer be transferred to US bodies solely on the basis they are Safe Harbor-certified." European Data Centers According to an article on Data Center Frontier, the Safe Harbor ruling could provide a boost to data centers located on European soil, since local servers do not transit user data to the US. We agree. In fact, our customers have identified data residency as an important factor in taking their business digital. Our customer base is made up of regulated businesses such as financial services providers and insurance carriers, who have automated customer-facing transactions that require signatures. Instead of mailing paper contracts to customers for signature and waiting for them to send back the documents, businesses today are using our e-signature service to offer their customers the ability to e-sign online or on their mobile device. Overall, we expect concerns about data jurisdiction and data security to accelerate demand for local data centers not just in Europe, but worldwide. In response, starting in November we will offer instances of our e-SignLive electronic signature service in the UK and Germany via the IBM SoftLayer network to satisfy growing concerns in Europe around data residency – particularly when it relates to customers’ data. We know that in-country adoption requires local support to get organizations up and running, which is why we are working with IBM’s team of consultants to ensure successful implementations of both European and worldwide e-SignLive instances. "Our global network of IBM Cloud data center locations, along with on-the-ground expertise, will provide customers with the best support and the most reliable availability, security and performance for their local and worldwide business transactions," said Jim Comfort, general manager of cloud services for IBM. In-country Hosting: A Feature like Any Other When transacting in the cloud, you want to be able to tell your e-signature provider that data has to be stored in the country of your choice, and cannot be stored outside the borders of that country. Your e-signature vendor should be able to meet that requirement like it would with any other feature or capability. At e-SignLive, we offer an e-signature platform that ensures that your data and your customers’ data – no matter where you operate in the world – is protected and complies with local data privacy laws. Whether that’s in Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Singapore, or any other country for that matter, our solution is built on a scalable platform that can help satisfy growing requirements around in-country data residency. To learn more about e-SignLive, download our beginner’s guide which introduces key concepts and considerations when creating digital business processes with e-signatures. Or, try our quick demo and send yourself a test document and experience how easy it is to e-sign.  

For 20 years, Jeannine has been writing about technology and how to apply it to solve everyday challenges. In her role as Content Director at OneSpan, Jeannine leads a team of writers and content developers focused on helping financial institutions and other organizations gain value from security