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SAP makes European guarantees to boost data privacy

In order to appease its customers across Europe, SAP has guaranteed that only its European technicians will be able to access sensitive customer data when performing technical support in the region.

The German headquartered company has come out and said that the sensitive data in its cloud data centres will only be accessible by technicians in Europe if a company requests it. This move is aimed at ensuring that the private data of companies does not end up in the hands of other governments without a subpoena.

Recently businesses have grown more concerned over the issue of data sovereignty as regulatory pressure to safeguard data has increased globally. At the same time, state surveillance has increased and this has led many companies to be more aware of how another country may be trying to access their data.

If a business is put in the position where it has to enlist technical support from the US or Asia, then its data could potentially end up in the wrong hands which is why SAP had decided to utilise technicians in Europe to deal with technical support issues. This prevents data from being exposed overseas and will likely lead the company to employ more IT staff throughout Europe.

Thomas Otter, SAP's group vice-president for product management at its HR software division, said: “There is a lot of talk about privacy laws and data protection laws tightening up. People are focusing on where the server and software live. You can have your server in Paris, but if your support person is in Tunisia then your data might as well be in that country.”

Since 2015, SAP has been working to improve its support services offered out of Hungary in order to better accommodate companies that are concerned over data protection issues. The company's foresight has certainly paid off as more companies are becoming aware of the issue.

At an industry conference, Otter explained how SAP would deal with complicated technical issues that require outside help from outside of Europe: “If there is a situation where we need a person from outside Europe to support a particular product – for example, if there is a programme developed in America that needs support – we ask the customer's permission for that engineer to do that work, so most of the work can be done in Europe.”

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After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.