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The word cloud has never been so “used” in everyday vocab. We have blogged a lot about cloud – being big believers in it’s use as a business growth tool, we appreciate that a fundamental issue will always be security of data.

I recently listened to Social Media Podcast, where Valerie Surgenor (legal expert) discussed today’s issues surrounding cloud and security. It was a really informative podcast. I have reviewed some of her thoughts here.

Are you in the cloud already, or contemplating jumping into cloud? We work with lots of businesses where this is a real business enabler, but like Valerie, we always advise checking what you are signing up for and how it can affect your business.

  • For example, are you studying your contract with your cloud supplier to ensure that you are covered and what your rights are to your data? What happens if their data centres go down (a lot rarer than your own infrastructure having issues, but get the facts all the same so you can plan).
  • Have you checked with your clients that they are happy to have their data potentially stored offshore? Many government bodies, for example, do not want their data stored offshore, so you need to be certain that you are not breaking contract by going into a cloud where the data is stored offshore.

The Data Protection Directive within in the EU states that if you are storing data outside of the EU, it is your responsibility to check that the country you are hosting your data in has adequate security measures in place.

Ironically, the EU has declared that the USA is NOT on it’s list of countries which it perceives to have “adequate measures”.  The States have something called “Safe habor” which is a voluntary charter for showing adequacy in security in the cloud (the likes of Microsoft and Google have signed up to), but Germany does not consider safe harbor adequate to cover cloud security issues.

Be careful; you may be in breach of contract if you store your clients’ data in a country which the EU has determined as “not safe”.  What a horrid reason to lose a client, especially in the current economy.

I am not trying to scare you off from using using the cloud; we are massive believers in it. I just ask that you consider the reason you are using it, and how it can affect you business positively and (hopefully not) negatively.

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