In the interest of protecting its data from cyber attacks and ensuring continuity in its digital systems, Estonia has agreed a partnership with Luxembourg to set up the world's first 'data embassy' there.
As Siim Sikkut, the Government’s ICT policy adviser, explains: “We have back-up data storage facilities in Estonia, but in order to be prepared for any occasion, if, for example, the state suffers a large-scale cyber-attack, natural disaster or a conventional attack on a datacentre – we need back-up sites outside our borders."
Cloud back-up was another option available to Estonia, but the foreign data embassy concept was preferred because it allows the state to maintain full control and jurisdiction of its data and systems.
The question of how to keep data secure at scale is a growing concern for all industries and nations. Estonia's move shows how the question of security from attack must be considered alongside questions of access and ownership.
If more countries were to follow the example of building diplomatic relations around physical solutions for data security, might we find data centres play the role of 'peace builder' that, 20 years ago, Thomas Friedman attributed to McDonald's?