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Cloud Privacy and What You Need to Know

The Cloud has been around for longer than the term “cloud”. All the cloud really is just storage space on someone else’s server. Obviously there are a lot more technical details involved but that is what it boils down to.

With most of the major cloud providers located in the United States the most common argument I get about organizations moving to the cloud is that they are worried about their information being not in their control. The fact of the matter is that once information (private or not) is transmitted over the Internet it is susceptible to compromise no matter what country it is stored in.

With the passing of the US Patriot Act in 2001 the United States made it lawful to seize electronic information within USA jurisdiction. A common misconception is that data stored in Canada would be exempt from this however with the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters signed in 1990, data stored in Canada is just as vulnerable to seizure.

There are two key elements to information security – storage and transmission. Are the storage facilities secure enough to prevent intrusion and theft? Are the lines of transmission encrypted correctly to disallow someone from intercepting data? These are key elements in the decision to use cloud based services. Organizations also need to consider the downstream affects of all data transactions when choosing a cloud provider. Most privacy legislation (which applies to private companies as well) puts the burden of data safekeeping on the organization responsible for transmitting it. This means that if the data you provide another party takes several hops along the way, you are responsible for ensuring the secure transfer of that information.

Information privacy is more prevalent today than it ever has been in the past and with all of the recent hacks (Ashley Madison, Sony) organizations have data security is a primary concern. Public entities such as government and arms – length public service organizations are bound by legislation regarding the storage and transmission of data. Cloud storage is a trend that is quickly becoming the norm and the technology is advancing quickly to support the vast needs of the industry. It will not be long until cloud storage is more common than in house storage and will likely rival or beat out the security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to data and information.

Security is and always will be a primary concern when it comes to system architecture however the tools and platforms being offered for cloud storage are meeting those needs however until the perception of cloud storage changes there will be reluctance to using it.

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