Cross-Regional Data Integration: The Marriage of Performance and Compliance

Data is entering the world at a rate of more than 2.5 quintillion bytes per day. This makes data integration all the more challenging. In addition to managing the unprecedented volume, velocity and variety of data flooding in, there is also the added complexity of distributing that data across multiple data centers worldwide. Compliance issues must be considered, along with the accessibility of data. Subscribers today have high expectations when it comes to the services they use, including anytime access to their accounts from multiple devices. 

Video game services, banks, and insurance carriers are just a few examples of the many businesses that must provide high levels of service to their customers while making certain that the data is protected. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can be especially challenging to handle effectively. It is obvious that this kind of data must be secured at all costs.

Performance or Compliance?

In simpler times, businesses kept their data in one place. That made the data easy to access and control. Today, many large enterprises have a global component to daily business transactions, with customers, partners and employees located around the world. Given the distributed nature of many organizations' users as well as increasing data location regulations, the traditional method of storing data on a central server to support worldwide stakeholders no longer meets business needs. 

Our 24/7 connected world has created new possibilities for business, but these opportunities often come with the complication of new regulations. For instance, while regulations vary by country, there are growing requirements for PII data to remain in the country of origin.  This means that policies must be created and maintained to ensure that data is stored in compliance with these regulations, which might be easier said than done when a company operates across continents.

Faced with such restrictions, organizations often must make a difficult choice. They can either store data where it is convenient to do so, risking non-compliance with data location regulations, or they can establish separate data stores by region, per regulations.

Let’s quickly consider the drawbacks of each:

  • Regional data separation – With this choice, companies must constantly consolidate and synchronize data in order to meet regulations. This could take place weekly, daily or multiple times a day, but in any case it means that immediate access to data in real time is impossible.
  • Ignoring regulations – Choosing to store data wherever it’s most convenient and flouting the law can land a company in legal and regulatory hot water.

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Neither of these choices is satisfactory. As luck would have it, though, new approaches to data management exist that allow an organization to keep its existing infrastructure, while enabling automated data location compliance. One approach is an integrated policy-driven data management system that eliminates the challenges described above, by automatically synchronizing data in real time, which provides a 360-degree view of the data at all times.

One of the benefits of implementing a data integration plan that lets organizations keep existing infrastructure, while addressing data location compliance issues, is that it will significantly reduce costs and administrative time. This new approach takes advantage of a “scale-out” architecture where capabilities are extended by simply adding identical data management “nodes.” This enables easy scaling either within a data center or to multiple locations around the globe. Integrated policy management virtually eliminates the manual labor usually involved with scaling such a system and delivers a more streamlined, automated process.

An Elegant Solution to a Messy Problem

Companies can run a data integration solution alongside their current data stores by

leveraging existing infrastructure and simply add data management nodes where needed. For example, if a company chooses to expand operations into a nation that requires all PII data be maintained in-country, it can place a node in that country and the PII data will be stored only on that node, rather than deploying a separate instance of the company’s existing database. The nodes form a geographically distributed fabric that provides data visibility in real time.

Because companies are crossing geographic boundaries like never before, they are allocating considerable resources to make sure that they have sufficient data availability and performance while maintaining compliance as well. A node-based data management technology unifies data across different systems and regions, resulting in time and cost savings, immediate cross-region data visibility and better response times for remote users. The authorities are happy, the customers are happy and that makes the organization happy.

About the Author:

Frank Huerta is CEO and co-founder of TransLattice.