One of the inevitabilities of working with the cloud is that you have to face a tough question; what kind of compliance requirements are there for cloud-based data? If you’re storing data for your business in a cloud-based environment, it becomes your responsibility to know where and how this data is stored--particularly if you’re not the one doing the actual cloud hosting. How do you maintain compliance when you seemingly have so little control over how your computing platform is managed and maintained?
It all starts by asking your cloud provider specific questions about how compliance is handled, as well as what terms are written into the agreement that you have with them. We’ll go over some of the details that you’ll need to address.
The Cloud Can Be Tampered With
Naturally, one of the major concerns that businesses might have about cloud compliance is the idea of how this data is being managed, maintained, stored, and transferred. This also means that it can be changed or intercepted while it is in transit. Therefore, the key concern is that data could be changed without the user’s knowledge. Those who are concerned about the legal ramifications of this should focus on learning who is hosting the data, how it is being maintained, how it is being transported from the hosting site to your infrastructure, and who can see this data. This line is further blurred by the differences between the public and private cloud. In other words, is your data being stored alongside someone else’s data? Are there partitions put into place that limit access based on role and organization? The question of security is of the utmost importance and will be a major point that you’ll need to hit for compliance’s sake.
What Can You Do?
Using the above statements as a springboard, you’ll need to think about how your business plans on securing cloud-based data and ensuring its compliance with any regulations your organization is beholden to. You start by first assessing just how deep into cloud computing your organization actually is. Depending on the importance of certain data, you may decide that a combination of private and public cloud platforms present the ideal solution. For sensitive information, an internal network or private cloud is ideal, while less sensitive or important data is stored elsewhere.
Next, you’ll need to consider who is managing this data, and what kind of agreements you will have to make to guarantee its safety. Is it being managed by an in-house department or a third party? If it’s a third party, for example, you’ll need to determine responsibilities and consequences of failing to adhere to compliance guidelines. It’s also important that you know what types of security and backup solutions are being used to protect your assets.
Since your organizational reputation and integrity is on the line, your best bet is to find a way to design, deploy, and support a private cloud solution onsite for any data that could possibly be subject to regulatory compliance. Otherwise, you may find that any cloud-hosting company or colocation service won’t have your immediate needs top of mind.
Washington Works can help your business ensure security of your cloud solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at 301-571-5040.
Washington Works has been serving the Bethesda area since 2005, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.