In a digital world, and a digital age, the privacy of Australians' online data is front of mind for companies, government departments and individuals alike.
Australian institutions are increasingly demanding that their data is hosted and stored within Australia rather than being sent to offshore services and cloud storage technologies.
Some interesting points to consider before deciding on your preferred cloud software vendor:
• Under the USA PATRIOT Act introduced in the United States in October 2001, U.S. officials could access information about citizens of other countries, including Australia, if that information is physically within the United States or accessible electronically. The potential exists, for example, for law enforcement agencies to obtain information about Australians whose information might be handled under a contract between the federal government and a U.S.-based online survey company.
• Certain Australian regulators have different requirements for how data is managed – and discourage offshore data hosting. For example: The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) which oversees the domestic financial services sector, insists on being able to physically inspect the data centres of its members – difficult (if not impossible) when it's in Singapore or USA. As such, APRA members typically always host their data locally.
• Some Australian organisations simply refuse to have their data transmitted and stored overseas. For example, the Commonwealth of Australia Government Contract for IT Services expressly prohibits suppliers from transmitting or storing their customer data outside of Australia.
• Data stored in the U.S. is subject to U.S. law. Data stored in an offshore Cloud may move across multiple foreign jurisdictions, each with its own set of rules. As such Australian based customers would have limited visibility over where their data is at any point in time, seriously reducing their ability to ensure continuing regulatory compliance with Australian law and to manage the associated non-compliance risks. Data stored in the U.S. is subject to U.S. law, regardless of whether the data user or the data subject is based in Australia, or elsewhere.
• Within Australia, government, community and industry concern around data privacy is growing. The current federal government has expressed particular concern about the potential exposure of personal data once it is transferred offshore. A Bill was recently introduced into the Senate that would require companies to obtain written consent from customers before transferring their personal data offshore. And in November last year, draft legislation had been introduced in Parliament, banning the overseas storing of Australian electronic health records.
Some regions are currently taking this more seriously than others but there is no doubt that a growing number of organisations believe that Australian data is best kept within the country, and regulations are starting to catch up with this belief.
Because of greater demand by local firms for Australian-owned and hosted software, PeoplePulse is increasingly being recognised as the go-to online survey software solution for local organisations.
For the record, PeoplePulse’s online survey software is proudly built and supported locally and hosted in tier 1 data centres right here in Australia.
Want to trial an Australian-built online survey tool?
Click here for a free custom-branded demonstration of PeoplePulse.