The ‘Where’ in Data and missing Standards (London – Week 10)

February 28, 2014


(Source: Wikipedia)


Yesterday I was on a panel at the Cloud Expo Europe together with the Ian Cohen, the Chief Information Officer of Jardine Lloyd Thompson, an insurance and risk broker.

He made a forceful comment about a problem easily overlooked in the Big Data Hype: The ‘where’ of data. Operating a global company in jurisdictions with very dissimilar legal frameworks and requirements goes opposite to an uniform cloud based application and data delivery framework.

Data in Germany about German clients may not leave the country’s border, i.e. a physical cloud setup in say Dublin will not compute. In another country you may transfer certain data if, you say comply with a safe harbor agreement. Many of the banks we are in discussions about onboarding Squirro to analyse their treasure troves of unstructured data face similar challenges.

Next to these restrictive regulations the lack of a standardised regulatory framework puts up additional hurdles.

The situation is reminiscent of the situation roughly 175 years ago with the advent of the railways. Britain alone, had railways operating on roughly a half a dozen different gauges, and Bristol time was different from London time from Edinburgh time, lest anything going on the continent…

It took suppliers, railway companies and the regulator about 50 years to create a unified environment. Let’s hope it takes the industry and the regulators a little less time today.