Big Blue has filed for a patent that would allow the provider to automatically direct data uploaded to the cloud to the relevant data centres based on existing regulations.

Filed in September 2010 and published 18 months later, the patent, #8,676,593, geographic governance of data over clouds, describes "methods and systems for "controlling a geographic region of data in cloud computing".

Sandeep Ramesh Patil, one of the co-authors of the patent, said that "Our team of inventors designed a system that will allow businesses to efficiently manage and move data in the cloud, while meeting required compliance mandates in different countries."

Solutions based on that patent would look at the metadata associated with any file, the actual file attributes as well as any predefined rules, in order to decide where exactly to send the files.

Such services would mitigate the risk of human errors associated with such analysis as well as reduce the "insider threat". Businesses will have greater control over where their cloud data is stored and they will be able to migrate data more easily to comply with local laws.