In many different areas of business, cloud services remain one of the highest priorities on IT support departments’ plans for the near future. Many businesses may not have even noticed that an increasing number of services they rely on are actually being delivered by cloud technology – emails, data storage, and even the applications their employees use on a daily basis.
Despite continued growth in this field, cloud computing does raise an important question that business owners and users might not have considered in enough detail: the issue of how data is stored and protected.
In the UK and across the European Union, this has of course been a hot topic recently with the introduction of new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affecting the ways in which customers’ permission needs to be given for their personal information to be stored and used by businesses. However, in the mad rush for those businesses ensuring their own systems are GDPR compliant, many still need to look at the cloud services they use more closely.
It is entirely possible to use cloud computing in a way that is compliant and secure, but it requires several considerations.
Understanding the issues
As we’ve explained, cloud technology is moving forward at a fast pace while the global focus is simultaneously shifting toward data privacy and security. What many companies have realised only recently due to the GDPR panic is that they weren’t making enough effort to understand or comply with existing legislation in the first place.
The first step to ensuring compliance is to understand how cloud technology fits in with your business’ responsibilities when it comes to data. In short, it doesn’t reduce your level of responsibility for that data. Whether you keep it on your own hard drive, a server within your business or a cloud network in an unspecified location, you’re equally responsible for ensuring it stays private.
Multiplying your responsibilities
Bear in mind that when you use cloud services instead of in-house alternatives, i.e. keeping all your customer records on an online system, that information needs to be processed in a manner that reflects the legislation your company is bound by. That means if you’re in the UK, your data needs to meet GDPR and other UK legal requirements regardless of whether your cloud provider is based in another country.
If you use several cloud systems, it can get complicated trying to ensure this is always the case. The reason those providers offer the service to you is because they’re saving money by storing everyone’s data in one place. This doesn’t necessarily mean all of that data is being held or used in a compliant way.
Location, location, location
The key is understanding where your data is being stored. If you don’t know, you need to find out so you can prove you’re acting responsibly with that sensitive information. Cloud technology providers will most likely have considered the legal implications of where and how they store their data, and this is probably accessible to you for services you already use, but it’s crucial you check.
Depending on what exactly the information is that you’re storing on the cloud, there may be different rules regarding how you process it. Some data is legally classed as more sensitive, usually if it can be used in any way to identify individuals.
Businesses using cloud technology need to choose their providers carefully, ensuring all their partners have a transparent data policy, as well as appropriate security to encrypt and protect their cloud. The benefits of these services may be great, but don’t forget that the risk remains your responsibility.
If you’re looking for an excellent IT support service in Glasgow, look no further. From traditional repair and management of support to cloud services, we can provide everything you need to ensure your business is kept up and running. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for your business.