Almost half (47 percent) of IT leaders in EU-based businesses are unaware of the geographical location of critical and personal data. 

A survey conducted by UKFast studied over 300 IT decision-makers ranging from startups and medium-sized businesses. The survey comes as the Privacy Shield, a replacement for the failed Safe Harbour treaty, receives criticism from EU privacy watchdogs. Privacy Shield is set to be adopted in June, yet widely expected to be subject to legal challenge if it fails to protect data privacy of EU citizens.

Nearly half (48 percent) are unsure as to whether their data was being appropriately handled or hand no concept of the conditions under which it should be held. Over 20 percent of companies were unsure whether the data being hosted by a third party counted as personal data. Over half (54 percent) of respondents were unaware of the invalidation of Safe Harbour.

“This is a big issue for British businesses. If they don't know where their data is being stored then how can they reassure their customers, or the courts, that it is secure and not at risk of interference? I think the biggest problem with Safe Harbour and now with Privacy Shield is that the American government is able to access companies' data. The EU is now saying, quite rightly, that it's not comfortable with that,” said Lawrence Jones, CEO of UKFast.

“There needs to be a greater understanding of this issue in the marketplace and more discussion between hosting companies and their clients. We are always ready to have that conversation with our customers because our supply chain is very tightly controlled and data sovereignty is guaranteed,” Jones concluded.