The cloud is a beautiful abstraction for data stored out of sight that obscures the reality of rows and racks of servers in huge data facilities all over the world. Putting your data in the cloud means someone else is managing the physical equipment that stores your data.
Dropbox, Amazon, OneDrive, and many specialty providers all offer cloud storage for individual users and large enterprises alike. Access your email through a web browser such as Gmail or view your latest sales leads on Salesforce and you’re using the cloud. This can be incredibly powerful but may also lead to legitimate concerns about the security and privacy of your data,
In addition to handling the infrastructure of data storage and the physical security of the system, cloud providers are concerned with the digital security of access and implement a number of different safeguards to prevent unauthorized access. You’ll encounter these from time to time when you have to double-verify your identity with a text message code to access an account or get a notification of unexpected activity.
Even though most cloud services use state-of-the-art security processes, they are still hacked. They mitigate this concern by having multiple off-site and off-line backups of data to ensure that, even when it does occur, they can get your data back online quickly and accurately.
Businesses are also concerned with the privacy of their data when it’s stored in the cloud. Companies that handle document storage work to put in privacy safeguards as well as security procedures. Specialty cloud storage providers often address the concerns of specific industries. For example, businesses that work with the medical industry make sure that their procedures are documented in accordance with HIPAA regulations to ensure data safeguards, limited access, and appropriate security processes are in place and breaches are quickly identified and addressed.
When considering a cloud storage provider, review their terms of service and privacy policies. These documents are available on their website, updated regularly, and will answer many questions you may have about how they handle security and privacy issues. You want to make sure that you have access to back-ups (especially in the event of the storage providers business failure), have acceptable uptime guarantees, review response times and understand excess storage charges.
The only perfectly safe digital information is on a turned off computer not connected to a network in a locked closet no one can access. As soon as a computer is connected to a network, there are access and security risks to consider and mitigate. Not only are there risks of the data being compromised electronically, there are even more significant risks of human behavior causing the security breach. Often when large companies are hacked, the key link in the security process that failed was the human who was guarding access.
If you’d like help reviewing the terms of service of a cloud storage provider or drafting a set of policies for your online software, reach out to the team at Virtus Law Firm by calling 612.888.1000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We have significant experience reviewing terms of service and helping business owners mitigate risks.