Financial Data Localization: The Importance of Cloud Security 

In light of the war in Ukraine, officials in Finland are taking a relook at regulations around how data is stored, particularly financial data. There has been an ongoing push to require the data to be stored locally. However, the current geopolitical landscape has highlighted the need for data to be stored securely in the cloud to keep data from being targeted and cut off in a time of crisis.  

Amcham Finland supports this and is working alongside member companies Citi, Microsoft and SAS to ensure policymakers are informed for the need and importance of cloud storage for securing financial data. Mandating local data storage is a limited approach. 

The Finnish financial sector’s dialogue with the Ministry of Finance has intensified during recent weeks tied to preparedness, which includes data localization demands from the Ministry for critical infrastructure and this includes the finance sector. This debate has been ongoing for several years, but the scope has shifted due to the recent change in Finland’s national security landscape. Finland decisionmakers can use Ukraine as a benchmark for planning. 


“The reason why Ukrainian government and a lot of critical infrastructure is able to continue to function in a very resilient way is thanks to the cloud infrastructure,” said Susana Mäkelä, Senior Director of Government Affairs for Microsoft. Microsoft President Brad Smith in a recent speech in London referred to cloud computing servers as the modern equivalent of Winston Churchill’s bunker. 

In a DDOS attack, a target needs a lot of computational power to “consume it” in order not to be disrupted by it. This is what hyperscale cloud brings in as a benefit, and then on top the diverse data which helps to predict, prevent and protect, sometimes just seconds prior. If Ukraine in the name of sovereignty did not have the ability to migrate all of their critical systems to the public cloud in Europe, it would not be resilient, Makela explained. 

Karolina Burmeister, Citi Country Officer and Head of Corporate Banking for Finland, noted the digital economy is driven by massive cross-border information flows. Sharing data across borders is crucial to enable businesses to access global markets, interact with customers, communicate with suppliers/affiliates around the globe thereby increasing efficiency and productivity 

More from Susana Mäkelä of Microsoft: “The cyberattacks against Ukraine increased a year prior the invasion in February started, and since the invasion, we have seen at least six separate Russia-aligned nation-state actors launch more than 237 operations against Ukraine – including destructive attacks that are ongoing and threaten civilian welfare.* The destructive attacks have also been accompanied by broad espionage and intelligence activities. In January this year, Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) established a secure line of communication with the cyber officials in Ukraine to be sure that we could act rapidly with trusted partners to help. Cybersecurity is very much a collaborative effort and data plays a critical role in it. “ 

* Destructive incidents are counted by organization not by impacted systems 

Karolina Burmeister, Citi Country Officer and Head of Corporate Banking for Finland, highlighted the following key facts: 

  • Firms utilize regional and global data center and cloud services to ensure the security of information and to benefit from efficiencies such as reduced duplication of data, ease of updating and maintaining data integrity 
  • We welcome Bank of Finland’s Governor Olli Rehn’s comments at the Payment Forum on 25 May, where he states it is essential to learn from Ukraine’s experience of allowing a broad collaboration between parties and the use of cloud based services. This has resulted in Ukraine’s financial sector remaining operational during the war.  
  • Regulation around the cloud should be neutral in respect of technology, entity and geography. It should also be principles-based – rather than overly prescriptive – in order to allow firms to respond to this rapidly evolving technology and ensure rules are ‘future-proofed’. 

Kimmo Havu, Managing Director, Finland SAS, said that financial service players will not be able to operate effectively if they can not at least process their data in the cloud to execute business processes. 


We are putting together a position paper on this issue. If you would like to join us along with Citi, Microsoft and SAS to help highlight the importance of cloud storage and unimpeded data flows, contact Cindy Kent, Director of Communications and Network Impact. 

For more information contact:

Cindy Kent

Director of Communications & Network Impact

+358 50 430 3443

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