Navigating the Future of Data Sovereignty With MongoDB

Cara Heimbaugh


There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day, and more and more of that data is being stored in a public cloud. The rise of cloud data storage brings with it a focus on data sovereignty. Governments and industry regulatory bodies are cracking down on protecting user data. At any given time, organizations must know where its data is located, replicated, and stored — as well as how it is collected and processed, prioritizing personal data privacy all along the way.

The challenge of GDPR compliance

A PwC survey found that 92% of U.S. companies consider GDPR a top data protection priority, and rightly so, as there is pressure from both governments and citizens to protect user data. A recent Vormetric survey found that 85% of American consumers said that if significant personal consequences resulted from their information being compromised as part of a breach, they’d take their business elsewhere.

Without a strong handle on data sovereignty, organizations are risking millions of dollars in regulatory fees for mishandling data, loss of brand credibility, and distrust from customers.

Where to start with data sovereignty

Creating a proper structure for data sovereignty can be complex, and as big data gets bigger, so will the breadth and depth of regulations. The GDPR of today may not resemble the GDPR of tomorrow, and more laws continue to be rolled out at the federal, state, and industry levels.

GDPR, while the most notable, is not the only data regulation policy that businesses must consider. California has rolled out the California Consumer Privacy Act, and there are numerous countries that have similar laws in place to protect consumer data and regulate how data is managed, including Japan, India, Egypt, and Australia. And as these regulations continue to be introduced, organizations will need to keep pace to avoid damage to their businesses.

Major considerations that impact data sovereignty include:

  • Process: How is your company going to maintain compliance for data sovereignty with efficiency?

  • Infrastructure: Is a legacy infrastructure holding you back from being able to easily comply with data regulations?

  • Scaling: Is your data architecture agile enough to meet regulations quickly as they grow in breadth and complexity?

  • Cost: Are you wasting time and money by leveraging manual processes to adhere to governmental regulations and risking hefty fees attached to incompliance?

  • Penalties: Are your business leaders fully aware of the costs associated with noncompliance? GDPR violations can exact up to €10 million (an average of 2% to 4% of organizational revenue) in penalties.

Learn more about strong controls for critical data privacy at our upcoming webinar on queryable encryption.

Managing data sovereignty with MongoDB Atlas

MongoDB enables you to easily comply with most data privacy regulations. MongoDB Atlas, our cloud database as a service, includes intuitive security features and privacy controls, including:

  • Queryable encryption: Revolutionary to the industry and currently in preview with MongoDB 6.0, queryable encryption enables encryption of sensitive data from the client side, stored as fully randomized, encrypted data on the database server side. This feature delivers the utmost in security without sacrificing performance, ensuring that even the most critical and sensitive workloads are safe and performant in a public cloud.

  • MongoDB Atlas global clusters: It is no longer sustainable or advantageous to build applications across geographic areas and jurisdictions. Doing so requires more infrastructure, more maintenance, more management, and, in turn, more complexity and more resources exhausted.

    Atlas global clusters allow organizations with distributed applications to geographically partition a fully managed deployment in a few clicks and control the distribution and placement of their data with sophisticated policies that can be easily generated and changed. This means that not only can your organization achieve compliance with regulations containing data residency requirements more easily, but you can also reduce overhead at the same time.

  • Virtual private clouds (VPCs): Each MongoDB Atlas project is provisioned into its own VPC, thereby isolating your data and underlying systems from other MongoDB Atlas users. This allows businesses to meet data sovereignty requirements while staying highly available within each region. Each shard of data will have multiple nodes that automatically and transparently failover for zero downtime, all within the same jurisdiction.

    Being able to meet data residency requirements is another big technical challenge made simple with MongoDB Atlas. Further, businesses can connect Atlas VPCs to customer infrastructure via private networking (including private endpoints and VPC peering) for increased security.

  • IP whitelists: IP whitelists allow you to specify a specific range of IP addresses against which access will be granted, delivering granular control over data.

  • Client-side field-level encryption (CSFLE): This feature dramatically reduces the risk of unauthorized access or disclosure of sensitive data. Fields are encrypted before they leave your application, protecting them everywhere: in motion over the network, in database memory, at rest in storage and backups, and in system logs.

Dig deeper into data sovereignty

To learn more about strong controls for critical data privacy, join MongoDB’s webinar on August 24, 2022. Our experts will focus on queryable encryption, the industry’s first encrypted search scheme, and how, with MongoDB Atlas, your data is protected with preconfigured security features for authentication, authorization, encryption, and more.