Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cloud Security: Part 1

There are many advantages to cloud computing. Backing up important data makes it easily accessible to everyone in your company and frees up space on your servers. You most likely have many concerns about cloud security and may be pondering if cloud security will protect your client’s data and comply with HIPAA, PCI or Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.

Is your cloud storage solution following these requirements? If they don’t specify it in their privacy policies, it's not easy to tell. Let's explore this further below.

Compliance

Cloud security has grown to be an important issue lately, as more and more companies turn to online storage solutions, seeking greater simplicity, scalability and affordability. However the price in both money and reputation for poor handling of customer data can be very high indeed. If your organization should comply to key regulations associated with patient privacy (HIPAA), credit card security (PCI) or the finance-sector strictures of Sarbanes-Oxley, it can be hard to find out if a service complies with these important restrictions.


Who is responsible

Cloud security is vital when handling your sensitive data, but whose responsibility is it? Should you assume that if it is not spelled out in the privacy policy, that a service provider doesn't abide by these regulations? Even though this is clearly the safest option, it may leave you unable to use cloud computing at all. Many services don't provide detailed information in their privacy rules, presumably to reduce their liability. The hope is that with time cloud storage and sharing will become better self-regulated and corporations will decide to reveal their individual practices to the businesses they serve. While such self-regulation is not required at this time, many businesses believe it is their duty to display clear warnings, detailing what they don't provide or guarantee.

Ultimately, as there is no current law that states that companies must divulge how tight their security is, the responsibility is in your hands. You have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage to determine if it’s right for your business. 

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