For those of you that went to the cloud, or are thinking of moving to the cloud, can you answer with certainty who owns your data? This isn’t a new question or new controversy, as big data gets bigger, as more data is stored in the cloud, as more devices hit the market and as more hackers are getting into our banks and government servers do you own your data and if not who does and where is it?
Over the past few years there has been controversy over the “Cloud” and who owns what data where. For those willing to play “who’s data is it anyway”, the legal issues aren’t getting any clearer.
As a consumer user of the cloud -posting my so important pictures of my yellow lab Riley on Facebook
Riley, the best dog ever!
or using my Gmail account or the obsessive habit of using my Amazon prime account so I can feel like a kid at Christmas every day seeing a box on my doorstep, I fail to realize the pain of this issue: probably because it’s so convenient. I then suggested the cloud as a solution for one of my customers. That’s when it hit me.
As someone working in technology (ok I’m a sales geek) I need to really think about how real and complicated this issue is to better serve my customers by educating them in the pros and cons of using the cloud
For those thinking of going to the cloud, it seems like such and easy thing. So you call Mr. Cloud company and say “Mr. Cloud company, I want to put my data way up in the cloud so no one can get it.” Mr. Cloud says ok “we’ll store your data and all will be safe in the world forever and ever amen.” You sign the contract there, you’re in the cloud. You’re happy your data is safe, no one will ever get your data, you will have access to it at all times and you don’t have to hire and pay someone to support it.
What you don’t ask Mr. Cloud company is “what is the trail of your cloud”? Why would you ask that? What is the “trail of the cloud” Clouds don’t trail! Have you ever looked up and seen those long skinny clouds? Yeah, they trail.
In some cloud companies you give your data to a cloud provider who then outsources its work to another storage or process provider, who’s responsible if your information is lost or damaged? What if that outsourcing happens in another country? So if data is created in one country, but then stored in another the legal rules that apply become blurred. YIKES!!
Now you worry about your data. You call an attorney. What area of law is this? Cloud law isn’t a thing……yet. There are 3 main areas of law (and maybe more) that cover this: Copyright, Confidentiality and Contract. So do you need 3 attorneys? Also if your data is stored or outsourced in another country do their rules apply?
In speaking with a customer of mine from a University, he mentioned real concern about security in regard to the cloud. He mentioned his concern regarding student personal information as well as student loan information. Once student loan information is breached now we have a tax payer issue, and as he put it, “now we have a federal issue”.
There are guidelines from PTAC – the US Department of Education’s Privacy technical assistance center. But it gets a little “cloudy” regarding the cloud.
What it boils down to is Data Mining or Big Data. In the education world to use as an example; this is a huge no no as it violates the “no commercial use of student data” policy. According to Education Weekly when the litigation started in 2014, consent was not given to scan or index emails under the Google for education platform.
This issue isn’t any clearer in 2016 as UC Berkeley has this lawsuit pending for the same thing, called. “UC Berkeley students sue Google Alleging their emails were illegally scanned”.
I have only discussed a bit of the issue, but how about your industry? How about your data? Think about what you personally put out there? Your buying habits, your search habits. What about when you are in crisis? Is that something we want out in the “cloud”?
Should you decide to go to the cloud, read your contracts, ask some questions. Make sure the provider can specify who will be responsible for the data should it be lost or stolen. There should also be a provision in that contract as to who is responsible if the cloud company goes bankrupt, or is purchased by another cloud company.
If you need some help to get started in this process, help is here just give us a call.