Regional and personal data privacy controls in the local cloud from Bloomberg Vault

Compliance with data privacy controls is much more than an eDiscovery / eDisclosure problem. Those whose primary focus is eDiscovery tend to see data privacy compliance as an obstacle which stands in the way and complicates data collection for litigation or regulatory purposes, but the privacy laws of the EU and, increasingly, of other regions, present compliance challenges quite apart from potential discovery obligations.

The solution to a wide range of discovery problems lies increasingly in pre-emptive action – in defensible deletion, in pre-emptive tagging to give searchable labels at the moment of creation, and in instituting policies which define the status and life-cycle of data. This applies in any context, but is particularly valuable where personal data is or may be involved. Put the stuff in the right bucket, so the inescapable logic goes, and you simultaneously flag it for general compliance purposes and make it easy to identify for discovery reasons.

The latest extension to Bloomberg’s cloud-based enterprise information management service, Bloomberg Vault, gives physical form to this approach by the concept of the “Local Vault” which allows data compliance and archiving policies to be configured at the employee level by reference to the regional regulations which apply to the content, including e-mail, mobile communications, social media, instant messaging, files and documents.

The press release includes a link to an interesting paper from IDC which was commissioned by the European Commission’s Cloud Partnership Initiative. Its title, Quantitative Estimates of the Demand for Cloud Computing in Europe and the likely Barriers to Uptake addresses both the benefits of cloud computing – which the Commission is keen to promote – and the perceived difficulties which stand in the way of adoption. Jurisdictional differences, security, data protection and portability are amongst those barriers.

It is the combination of global consistency moderated by granular and localised policy management which will make Bloomberg Vault’s localisation the key benefit for global organisations for a range of reasons, including eDiscovery. The standard advice to companies facing multi-jurisdictional collections includes the taking of local advice in every jurisdiction (and Germany, for example, has regional sub-jurisdictions with their own rules) and to begin by identifying locally those documents which are subject to local restrictions so that they can be treated in accordance with the rules which apply to them. Gathering this information is a prerequisite for discussions with opponents and, if necessary, for applications to the court as early as possible in the proceedings, adding a significant upfront burden on top of an already complex task.

The cloud can exacerbate these problems, not least because its low costs tend to encourage the keeping of more data.  Bloomberg Local Vault addresses many of these problems in a way which is simultaneously global and local.

This is one of the topics which I speak and write about – I have just returned from the Masters Conference in Washington where I co-moderated a double session on data protection and privacy with Amor Esteban of Shook, Hardy & Bacon (on which I write shortly). I am also a proponent of the pre-emptive and proactive approach to discovery problems by the use of appropriate policies and the technology to support them. Bloomberg Vault and its new localisation features is of obvious interest to me quite apart from its importance to the market generally.

This significance gave me a conflict when sitting down to write this article. I usually greet the arrival of a new sponsor for the eDisclosure Information Project with an article whose heading includes the words “Welcome to new sponsor….”. This time, the new sponsors’ product announcement came out at the same time as their logo went up on my websites and I give headline priority to the announcement. I am, of course, delighted to welcome Bloomberg Vault as a sponsor of the eDisclosure Information Project and very much look forward to working with them in the interesting area which brings their work in parallel with mine.

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