We have been asked by some of our customers about the Cloud and data protection concerns, so we thought we’d write a blog to help look at this topic and some key things you should know.
What is Cloud Computing, to Start With?
The Data Protection Act has produced guidelines on the Cloud and it defines it as, “Access to computer resources, on demand, via a network.” So a solution that you acess remotely.
What are the Advantages of the Cloud?
Key benefits of adopting this model are:
- Use of data and applications remotely: No matter where you are in the world, at any time, as long as you have a laptop, tablet or smartphone, you can access all forms of documents and information and share with colleagues
- Little or no investment: You usually only pay when you use a service, with limited constraints, so if you want to switch to something else, you can
- Minimal staff support: You don’t need a whole host of internal resources to keep the service up and running as this is done by the service provider
- Increase and decrease capacity: Particularly in a small business, your capacity requirements grow and decrease – and you can’t always predict that. You can get more capacity or less as and when you need it
What to be Aware of from a Data Protection and Risk Perspective
Some different issues - and you can read more in CIO if you would like the detail are:
- Where your data is stored: If your data is stored outside of the UK, there is a higher risk of violating the Data Protection Act. This impacts your customers’ and suppliers’ data, as well as your own
- You are responsible for the storage of personal data: It is the cloud customer that is responsible for complying with the Data Protection Act – that is you, as the business using the service. You may be using a UK operator, but they could have different ‘layered services’ where services such as hosting or development are not done in the UK. The United States for example, is not on the White List of countries that the European Union recognises as implementing adequate data protection standards
- Financial stability of the provider: It’s also a risk if the provider goes bankrupt, so worth checking liabilities should such a thing happen
- Risk of losing connectivity: Sometimes you can have concern of losing connectivity at an important time, particularly if the solution is used regularly. It’s worth checking bandwidth etc with the service provider
All of that said, Cloud companies have to know about security and protecting and encrypting data so that it cannot easily be hacked into. It’s their business, so they know it well. If you find any of this daunting – and we didn’t want to scare you in any way – just it’s important to be aware of the risks and advantages, we do help advise in relation to the Cloud:
- We advise on good and bad – as not every business is suited to the Cloud
- We can store client data in the Cloud and in the UK, so it complies with Data Protection laws
- We also host our cloud hosted email in the UK – some providers may be hosting in the US, as we discovered from a new customer
If you are using any software that you access via the internet, whether a CRM or other solution and are unsure of where you stand from a Data Protection perspective, do feel free to contact us. We have looked at many solutions and know where to go to find out where you stand. You can also read about the IT Support we offer for the Cloud and how relevant it is for your business.
Key Insite provides IT support for Maidenhead, Reading, Surrey, Berkshire and Slough businesses. Do get in touch, if you feel we could help your business.