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Beyond the Cloud – Zextras’ Contribution to India’s Telecom Sector Compliance

Product Of The Month May 2024

The telecom industry is in flux, with major shifts in strategies and regulations reshaping the landscape. Telcos, grappling with data sovereignty and privacy challenges, are rethinking reliance on global tech giants like Microsoft and Google, turning to private infrastructures or local partners for data management within national boundaries.

Indian Telecommunication Sector and New Regulatory Paradigm

India’s telecommunication landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by technological advancements and regulatory changes. Moving away from reliance on global giants like Microsoft and Google, telecom companies are opting for private solutions or partnerships for data management within national borders.

This shift, fueled by evolving compliance needs, emphasizes data privacy and sovereignty. Compliance with laws like the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (DPDPA), and the Telecommunications Act 2023, like GDPR, is prompting telecom firms to prioritize secure alternatives.

In the competitive landscape of India’s telecom sector, striking a balance between data protection and seamless connectivity is vital. Organizations like Zextras offer expertise to navigate this promising yet complex era.

Current Industry Challenges in the Indian Telecom Sector

India’s telecom industry, like its global counterparts, faces significant challenges amid evolving regulatory landscapes:

Regulatory Compliance

Adherence to regulatory compliance poses a significant challenge for Indian telecom companies, overseen primarily by two major regulatory bodies:

• Department of Telecommunications (DoT) – DoT regulates India’s telecom sector, covering service provision, customer rights, data protection, and competition laws.

• Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – In 2020, TRAI suggested taking charge of data protection regulation, citing overlapping functions causing confusion. TRAI highlighted its expertise in regulating data protection, cybersecurity, and “converged” communications within the data economy.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEIT) proposed a separate board for data protection oversight, diverging from TRAI’s approach. This disparity complicates regulatory compliance for telecom companies.

Non-compliance risks severe penalties, reputational harm, and loss of trust.

Fast-Evolving Regulations

Telecom companies are now required to make significant changes to their data management practices complying with the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB). The recent paradigm shift in data protection regulation in India is primarily influenced by two substantial legislations:

• Digital Personal Data Protection Act (DPDPA) of 2023 – The Digital Personal Data Protection Act (DPDPA) of 2023 sets rules for processing personal data in India, emphasizing data principal rights and imposing penalties of up to approximately INR 250 CR ($30 million) for violations, excluding specific cases.

• Telecommunications Act of 2023 – The Telecommunications Act of 2023, replacing the outdated Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, introduces stringent consequences for noncompliance, reflecting the growing significance of data protection and cybersecurity in India’s telecom sector, necessitating adherence from both domestic and foreign entities.

Localization and Residency

Compliance complexities arise for firms using international cloud services. Thus, telecom companies are reevaluating strategies, considering alternatives like on-premises storage and domestic partnerships.

Data Privacy and Security Worries on the Rise

Recent highprofile cloud breaches, as noted by Deloitte, have intensified consumer apprehensions regarding data privacy and security.

Gartner predicts a 12% increase in security spending by 2024, affirming India’s telecom sector’s shift towards private deployments amidst growing cloud security concerns. End-User Spending for Security and Risk Management for All Segments in India, 2023-2024 (Millions of U.S. Dollars) Source: Gartner (February 2024).

Cloud Repatriation – Cloud Exit

The telecom industry’s shift away from the cloud, known as “cloud repatriation” or “cloud exit,” is driven by concerns over cost, privacy, and performance, with factors including unexpected costs, privacy regulations, and performance variability influencing this trend.

The factors influencing the telecom industry’s move away from the cloud include:

• Unexpected Costs: As cloud usage grows, telecoms grapple with rising fees and unforeseen expenses associated with managing cloud services.

• Privacy Concerns: Regulatory changes and heightened data sensitivity within the telecom industry necessitate greater control over data location and access.

• Performance Variability: Public cloud performance can fluctuate depending on factors beyond telco control, potentially impacting critical network operations.

A Close Look at Zextras’s Response to Public Cloud Concerns

Zextras Carbonio provides a robust private alternative to Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, offering telecom companies a comprehensive on-premises digital workplace solution. With features including email, instant messaging, video meetings, contacts, calendars, tasks, file management, and collaborative editing, Carbonio empowers telecoms to offer secure communication and collaboration within the country borders.

Let’s explore how Carbonio tackles telecom challenges in the Indian market.

DoT & TRAI Compliance: By keeping data within the private infrastructure, Carbonio helps Indian telecom companies adhere to data storage and sovereignty regulations set by and TRAI.

PDPB Compliance: Features like data access rights and data deletion empower users to manage their data in line with PDPB guidelines.

Localization and Residency: Carbonio allows telecom companies to store data within India, addressing data residency requirements.

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities: Regular updates, secure coding practices, and built-in security features help protect against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.

Zextras Carbonio and Digital Sovereignty

To effectively achieve digital sovereignty, organizations must grasp the fundamental pillars of digital sovereignty.

• Protection: Secures data, software, and infrastructure against unauthorized access.
• Data Privacy: Safeguards personal and sensitive data from external threats.
• Residency: Requires data to remain within specific geographic boundaries.
• Localization: Ensures data and infrastructure reside within the same jurisdiction.
• Authority: Controls access to information to safeguard sensitive data.
• Ownership: Establishes legal rights over data and resources.

Strategic Advantages for the Telecom Industry

Telecom operators aim to achieve data sovereignty and digital sovereignty while managing regulatory compliance and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

• Compliance and Data Sovereignty: Using private deployment or private cloud withing the country borders.

• Revenue Generation and Cost Optimization: Using a unique formula of digital workplace for digital sovereignty. Efficient storage solution and a pay-per-use model, while exploring new upselling opportunities.

• Unified Customer Experience and Loyalty: Boosts customer loyalty by offering tailored solutions and custom branding and reducing churn rates.

• Flexible Offers, Scalability, and Multitenancy: Extreme scaling capabilities and a multi-tenant structure to expand service offerings while also providing flexible solutions for tailored services.

• Multilevel White-Label Solutions: Unique brand identity, enhancing brand recognition and customer loyalty.

About Zextras – A Trusted Partner to Empower the Indian Telecom Industry

Zextras, renowned for pioneering advanced open-source software solutions, is the ideal partner for telecom companies seeking to enhance digital communication and collaboration services. Led by CEO Paolo Storti, Zextras has developed Carbonio, an innovative e-mail and collaboration platform designed to enforce data sovereignty, offering solid solutions to telecom industry challenges.

“We’ve just launched an innovative software, Carbonio. It’s a modern e-mail and collaboration platform, which respects data sovereignty.”

Telecom companies integrating Carbonio can provide user-friendly platforms centralized for communication needs, ensuring robust data control and privacy, thus enhancing customer satisfaction and market position.

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