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Is it Possible That the Global Internet’s Days Are Numbered?

By Arooj Shakeel
July 29, 2023

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The internet’s ability to cross international borders has long been considered one of its greatest strengths. The free spread of information between nations and the accelerating speed of networks makes the ability of consumers and businesses to access technology and services that are physically located thousands of miles away.

Many political classes believed that the internet could “disappear” national borders. Large and small businesses saw global networks offering immediate access to new markets and talent. 

In fact, without the ability for businesses to connect quickly over the global internet, the emergence of organizations like Techzir Solutions would have been challenging, if not impossible. 


Is the Internet Becoming More Divided?

Of course, some nations created variously solid digital “walls” to keep their citizens offline. However, the trend appeared to be more interconnected than less as the internet developed. While some countries, like North Korea, created complex firewalls and gateways, others severely restricted internet access. 

That pattern seems to be shifting. The most well-known service providers, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, are US-based businesses with a sizable portion of their technological assets. As a result of initial worries about citizens’ data stored in other countries, this has started to cause concern in many nations.

Which country’s laws would apply to data stored in the US for a cloud-based application if the user lived in the UK? Is another nation required to abide by UK-mandated personal information protections if the UK does so?


How large companies’ expansion has created disturbance?

Large tech companies’ expansion into new markets has also increased worries. For instance, China is interested in foreign businesses, given its enormous potential consumer base. Nevertheless, these businesses might have to abide by regulations restricting content or permitting technology access.

These challenging questions have been made even more difficult by the recent conflict in Ukraine. Other countries expressed concern after Russia suddenly cut off Western networks and technological resources. Could these services be “unplugged” in case of a dispute or strained relationship if your data and essential applications are located in another nation?

Regulations that specify how data is to be kept and, in some cases, that it must be kept in-country and subject to the jurisdiction and oversight of that country are generally known as data sovereignty laws. These laws are typically simple to follow if you want to provide services to customers in big European or Asian countries. 

But what if you want to create a cloud-based application, but you are in the Middle East, Africa, or some other place where you might be limited in the platforms or service providers you can use?


The Legal and Political Aspects of Cloud Computing

It is crucial to consider the legal and geopolitical implications of your cloud architecture design when creating a new or updated application. 

This can be difficult for tech leaders who are more used to worrying about bandwidth than borders since many of these regulations are changing quickly in response to privacy concerns and shifting diplomatic relations.

As your business expands or enters a new regional market, hybrid clouds or other architectures that combine cloud services with local infrastructure may be required. 

Growing and emerging markets could present particular difficulties because their legal systems are likely to change more quickly. 

Another issue is that a regional office or business partner might claim the law is only “suggested” and not currently being applied. 

Although that may or may not be the case, you should carefully consider the risks of disobeying local laws. The laws that, depending on shifting political winds or the discretion of a government official, might not be enforced one day but subject you to fines or even criminal penalties the next.


Creating a Flexible Design

The advantage of cloud computing is the high level of technical flexibility it offers. The introduction of the cloud liberated architecture from specialized hardware and operating systems, enabling generalized applications that could quickly increase or decrease their capacity in response to demand.

Focus on incorporating flexibility into new application designs when determining where and how to host and store data. Even the largest cloud providers struggle with geographic flexibility, especially in emerging markets. You will be in a lot better shape than assuming your app will always be on AWS US-East if your application is built from the ground up to support data storage in different geographies. Or to be hosted on several other cloud providers as geographic requirements dictate. 

Additionally, recognizing and addressing these problems could give your business an advantage in a cutthroat market. You might have a competitive advantage if you understand how to conduct business in a specific area and deploy a scalable legal cloud app. 

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