Data Mesh – A New Approach to Managing Cross-Border Data Flows in Hong Kong

data hk

Recently, Hong Kong has identified cross-border data flows as essential to its economy and encouraging them is one of its core missions. Unfortunately, however, increased data flows present companies with both compliance and cost challenges.

But hope may be at hand with the arrival of “data mesh”. First proposed in 2019, this decentralized strategy aims to provide an infrastructure which is more self-serve than today’s traditional, monolithic data architectures. While not an answer for every problem associated with centralized systems, data mesh can address many significant obstacles faced by business users.

At its core, data infrastructure aggregation refers to an approach which integrates multiple data lakes or ponds (the operational systems of record) with a catalog or graph and other components to form a more scalable and self-service model for analytics and business user access. Furthermore, this method has the power to solve some of the toughest challenges associated with various data-driven initiatives.

Data mesh strategies offer one such solution that enables data lakes or ponds to be seen and accessed more like traditional databases with standard SQL queries, eliminating the need for complex programming or development tools. This approach may result in reduced costs of development, maintenance and operations as well as making finding data easier for specific projects.

Implementation of a data governance and control framework can also ensure data is only used for its intended purposes and does not pass to unauthorised third parties, which is an essential aspect of data protection (and an obligation under PDPO).

Legal requirements dictate that any personal data transferred overseas be adequately protected against unauthorised or accidental access, processing, erasure, loss and use (DPP 6(1)).

Finally, the data mesh approach can also help mitigate data breaches as it makes identifying personal information much simpler. Furthermore, an increased auditing process can be created in order to detect breaches quickly and reduce their potential damage.

All these advantages can add up to considerable savings for data users and companies; the more proactive a compliance approach is, the lower its cost will be in dealing with data breach incidents – this is especially crucial in an age where cybersecurity threats and improving data protection is becoming a top concern across multiple industries.