Presented by Mixpanel

Laws. Customs. Expectations. These three components make up the concept of privacy with each part of the trifecta varying across geographic regions, generations, and groups. But in order to meet these diverse expectations, companies processing personal information need to offer their customers regionalized solutions.

Enter data residency.

Data residency is the storage of personal information within a particular region where that data is processed in accordance with the laws, customs, and expectations of that specific region. Choosing providers that support data residency helps companies satisfy their customers’ increasingly regional expectations of privacy — especially when paired with a robust, globally-focused privacy program.

Geographies’ relevance to privacy in the information age is becoming more important. While large, multi-national privacy regulations like the GDPR or major laws like the CCPA make headlines, there are countless smaller, regional laws and customs that often get less coverage or attention. Companies navigate these differences by building services designed to respect regional privacy differences.

But this explosion in regional privacy laws has left many companies wondering how to do this. They rightly question how a business can offer services globally while respecting the wide — and sometimes conflicting — array of local privacy laws and customs.

At Mixpanel, we believe data residency is a big part of the answer. Here’s why:

  • Different strokes for different folks: Given the variance of privacy expectations across the globe, services processing personal information should be built to respect regional differences. What may be seen as an acceptable use of personal information in California could be controversial in Germany. A service supporting data residency allows processing to be tailored to regional expectations through internal processing decisions.
  • Regional differences are increasing: It’s always challenging to see into the future, but if the last five years are any guide, regional differences in privacy laws are likely to increase. Working with service providers that support data residency helps ensure that information can be collected, processed, and stored in a way that meets different expectations.
  • Customer expectations: While the definition of privacy varies across regions, there’s one thing everyone, everywhere agrees on — that privacy is important. Supporting data residency sends customers two signals. First, a business supporting data residency respects privacy (however defined). And second, a business supporting data residency can meet regional data protection and privacy requirements.

Data residency programs also have benefits outside of meeting local security needs. International data centers enable companies to offer faster data processing times since information doesn’t need to cross continents and back to be processed. This enables more responsive analytics, not to mention a better user experience.

Companies investing in data residency are not only offering compliance for near-term programs like GDPR or CCPA but are creating initiatives to provide a better product for their customers now and into the future.

Peter Day is Head of Privacy and Security at Mixpanel, where he leads global privacy and data security teams focused on data protection.  From vindicating data subjects’ rights to designing security controls, Peter’s teams are always working on enhancing Mixpanel’s privacy program and its data security controls.   Before joining Mixpanel, Peter worked as the Privacy Officer and Deputy CISO at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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