Understanding Legal Issues in Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is here to stay, all thanks to its several benefits. When connected to the right cloud infrastructure, you can save costs and enjoy broad network access and rapid elasticity.
While it is easy to be clouded by the benefits of cloud computing, you must also consider some legal issues. Doing so would ensure that you make an informed decision, especially in your choice of Cloud Service Provider (CSP). Plus, you can adequately protect yourself from the adverse effects of these legal issues in cloud computing. Today, I’ll be discussing some of the issues you need to look out for.
Data protection is one of the most critical legal issues you must consider when using the cloud for your operations. It is especially important if your business includes handling the personal data of individuals in any form. There are data protection regulations with strict provisions on how you handle the personal data of individuals.
Under most of these regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation, which deals with handling data of EU citizens, you can’t just export citizens’ personal data to the cloud without obtaining the necessary consent. You must also comply with the data protection standards as stipulated by these regulations. Failure to do so would attract strict sanctions.
You need to understand what the law says about data protection in your jurisdictions.
Data Privacy and Security
Another essential legal issue in cloud computing that you should pay attention to is data privacy and security. If a third party receives unauthorized access to private information about your clients, it can damageyour company’s reputation. Your business risks losing sensitive and corporate confidential information in the case of a security breach. You may also have to compensate your customer for violating their data privacy, which would cost your business a lot.
Make sure you engage a CSP that would offer you the highest privacy and security standard possible. You should also ensure that there are necessary firewalls to prevent a security breach.
Data Ownership (Intellectual Property Rights)
It is safe to assume that you own all the rights to data sent to the cloud by your company. However, it is advisable that your Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the CSP expressly indicates that your company has full rights to the data stored in the cloud and can retrieve it whenever you want. It is also essential to have these provisions in place, especially concerning data generated inside the cloud. The CSP may want to claim newly generated data because it was generated in the cloud through a data analytics solution.
Let the SLA provide that data generated in and out of the cloud by your company belongs to your company.
The issue of differences in laws applicable across different jurisdictions is one of the legal issues in cloud computing. For instance, the government can require CSPs to disclose client data in some jurisdictions. However, in some other jurisdictions, there is express protection for data stored in the cloud, and in those jurisdictions, governments cannot access it without following due process.
You may want your SLA to contain express provisions that the CSP can only hold your data in specific jurisdictions.
While these legal issues are not exhaustive, they are some of the most important ones you need to consider when you decide to use the cloud for your business operations. As much as you want to use the cloud for its several benefits, don’t ignore the legal issues I’ve highlighted. Keep your business adequately protected at all times.