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The Privacy Advisor | SAP receives 2019 HPE-IAPP Privacy Innovation Award at PSR Related reading: Trūata awarded HPE-IAPP Privacy Innovation Award at DPC

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In a ceremony Tuesday morning at the IAPP's Privacy. Security. Risk. conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, application software provider SAP was announced as the winner of the HPE-IAPP Innovation Award. SAP was honored for its creation and development of Data Custodian, a multi-cloud software-as-a-service application that provides customers with data protection, transparency and regulatory compliance aid, among other data management functions, within a public cloud.

The HPE-IAPP Privacy Innovation Awards recognize unique programs and services in global privacy and data protection in the private and public sectors and serve to recognize organizations that integrate privacy in such a way that elevates its value as both a competitive differentiator and a centerpiece of customer and citizen trust.

"This award is a true recognition of SAP’s innovative and breakthrough work in the area of data privacy and protection realized in the form of our SAP Data Custodian solution," SAP Head of Product and Solution Management Wasif Gilani said. "We take this award as a testament to SAP’s mission to bring cutting edge data privacy and protection solutions to proactively help our enterprise customers with their emerging data privacy and protection challenges in the cloud."

Christine Huang, CIPP/US, SAP's data privacy and protection evangelist for Data Custodian, added that the award is the first for any of SAP's products under the privacy umbrella.

Data Custodian was launched in 2017, a time when companies were beginning to ramp up preparations for compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation while dealing with other existing data privacy regulations and standards. SAP's development also had to contend with companies migrating data to cloud services, like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

"That’s where the data privacy and protection questions started popping up about data sitting in a cloud owned by a third party," Gilani said. "With SAP Data Custodian, we collaborated with our public cloud partners to offer the same level of data protection and data privacy to our customers for their cloud deployments as they would have for their on-premise applications."

Data processing within the cloud was simplified with Data Custodian, which alleviated customer concerns by way of data access, placement and encryption features. The key functionality with the solution's data access features is undoubtedly a customer's complete transparency with their data, which is hardly guaranteed in most clouds.

"Data Custodian is providing full-stack coverage for cloud deployments," Gilani said. "It means one single solution gives our customer a full view and audit of what is happening from the infrastructure layer through to the application layer. Another very important point is that SAP Data Custodian is a multi-cloud solution, meaning our customers have one single control plane to view and protect their data for their deployments across multiple public clouds."

Customers themselves are beginning to realize the unique simplicity Data Custodian provides. The solution's clientele is wide ranging, with SAP's general business reaching 25 industries and 171 million customers.

"A number of customers are connecting to us right now because they wanted to have increased level of control over their data in the cloud or the cloud they are utilizing is very opaque to a lot of them," Huang said. "We are aiming to give control back to the customers so they can verify control and transparency in the cloud to ensure they’ve complied with regulations. They can see what’s happening in the cloud and configure the cloud’s processing according to their compliance requirements."

Data Custodian's design and multi-cloud functionalities were revolutionary concepts in the cloud industry, according to Gilani. However, such innovation came with challenges. Gilani said it took conversations across cloud service providers to bring about industry changes that allowed Data Custodian to become what it is.

"We explained the concepts, the value and the vision, aiming to change the traditional autonomous and opaque cloud processing and legacy of cloud processor dominance." Gilani said. "Needless to say, Data Custodian team had to endure resistance on various fronts, however, Data Custodian team believed in the vision and persevered. At the end, we were able to convince cloud providers based purely on the value of the product concepts and potential drastic market demand."

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