|By Jason Bloomberg||
|July 6, 2011 08:15 AM EDT||
If you don’t realize by now that Cloud Computing has its risks, then, well, you must have your head in the clouds. But then again, without risk there is no reward. When you place a bet on the Cloud, you know you’re betting on an emerging set of capabilities. And in any case, there are risks everywhere in business. Why should the Cloud be any different?
Even if you are willing to take on the risks of the Cloud, you must still do whatever you can to mitigate those risks. And unfortunately, risk means liability, and that means lawyers. To help make sure you and your lawyer are up to speed on all the legal ramifications of Cloud Computing, we’ve assembled the following list of concerns. Ignore the items on this list at your own peril.
Liabilities related to the geographic location of your data in the cloud
Legal jurisdiction – Where your Cloud provider is physically located may impact the legal jurisdiction that applies to your contract with the provider. How will you know which laws apply to your data if you don’t know what country or state your data currently reside in?
Regulatory Compliance – There may be regulatory constraints that limit where you locate your data. There’s no guarantee your Cloud provider will locate your data in your country—unless, of course, you pay them for that guarantee.
Disputes – If you need to arbitrate with or sue your provider, where do you do that? The business location of the provider may not be the same as the physical location of the data, complicating this issue.
Moving data across borders – The European Union is very particular about this rule. You can be held liable for moving customer information across borders without their permission.
Third-party access to your data
Search warrants – If a law enforcement agency has a search warrant for the server or hard drive that hosts your data, then they can remove the hardware from the provider’s data center and put it into evidence. For a long time. If you’re up to do good that’s one thing, but they may be going after suspected criminal activity for another one of the provider’s customers that happens to share space with you on the same physical server or drive.
PATRIOT Act seizures – if the FBI or other US federal agency suspects terrorist activity, they don’t even need a search warrant. They’ll simply walk into the provider’s data center and take whatever equipment they want. Think you’ll see your data again? Not likely. Does this sort of thing only happen in the US? I wouldn’t count on it.
eDiscovery/subpoenas – Even if no one suspects criminal activity, if you or someone else on the same server is party to a lawsuit, the opposing counsel can subpoena the data on the server. And just as with a search warrant, it may be many months before they return the hardware to the provider. Another question for your provider: what is the nature of their response to a subpoena? Do they need to inform you when a subpoena affects your data? What are your responsibilities in the face of a subpoena? For example, it may be illegal for you to delete data, even if the subpoena doesn’t explicitly specify such a restriction.
Provider employee access – what access do employees of the Cloud provider have to your data or machine instances? They have some level of responsibility for administering your account, but does that mean they have access to your data?
Trade secret & attorney/client privilege protection – If you have privileged information in the Cloud, either trade secrets or attorney communications, then making that information available to a third party can remove the privilege—even if the third party in question is just an admin at the provider backing up a server.
Liability of rogue employee – Employees of your Cloud provider aren’t the only risk. What if one of your own employees uses your Cloud account for illegal purposes? How much liability does your company have, and how do you mitigate such risks?
Responsibility and how to allocate it
Insurance in case of disaster – Do you have the proper insurance? What sort of disasters would be covered under your provider’s insurance, and which ones to you need to insure against yourself?
Liability for breach of privacy – Somehow your confidential data are leaked to the Internet. Under what circumstances is your provider liable for such a breach?
Liability for commingling with illegal data – sharing hardware with criminals and other unsavory types can lead to those pesky search warrants and subpoenas, but you should also understand your liability for having your data in close proximity to illegal data. Innocence may be no excuse when the feds find child pornography on the same server as your machine instances.
Liability for hacking – Hackers compromise your data or your machine instances. The weakness they targeted may have been your provider’s fault, but then again, maybe your own people misconfigured your machine instances, allowing the bad guys in. How do you determine the liability? What if the hackers installed a botnet in your machine instance that they used to penetrate the security of another company, who now wants to sue. Can they sue you?
Risk allocation – in those situations where perhaps you’re partly to blame for a disaster or a breach, how do you allocate the risk between your company and the Cloud provider? And will your insurance company pay a claim if you are partly to blame?
Logging and auditing requirements and risks
Supporting legal requirement for logging – Some regulations provide for specific logging and auditing requirements. For example, HIPAA requires you to maintain an audit log of everyone who accesses an electronic health record—even if it’s an admin at the Cloud provider. Make sure you communicate your specific logging and auditing requirements to your provider and include those requirements in your contract.
Privacy of logs – Sometimes the audit logs themselves contain confidential information. You must contract with your provider to properly encrypt that information, and you also need to mitigate the risk that such encryption is inadequate, allowing the logs to be compromised.
Other regulatory compliance issues
Regulations specific to your industry – The web of regulations is both extraordinarily complex and entirely arbitrary. It is your responsibility that you don’t run afoul of any regulations that pertain to storing, moving, or using data in the Cloud.
Risk of regulatory change – For the most part, today’s regulations that apply to the Cloud were around before the notion of Cloud Computing took off. Once regulators get a handle on the issues Cloud presents, however, you can expect new regulations to follow—and of course, it’s impossible to fully plan for them.
Requirement for provider audits and security certifications – You may also have regulatory priorities that require your Cloud provider to conduct its own internal audits or obtain security certifications. As regulations develop, expect such certifications to proliferate as well.
What if your Cloud provider declares bankruptcy?
Salvage rights to data – one day everything seems to be fine, but the next your provider is out of business, and they’re liquidating their assets. That means the servers that held your precious data are now on eBay, and they’ll soon belong to the highest bidder. To avoid this nightmare scenario, you’ll need to put in place some ironclad protections that will survive even a liquidation bankruptcy.
Escrow of provider data, code, and configurations – your own data aren’t the only things you might want to protect should your Cloud provider go belly up. Depending on how you’re using the Cloud, you may want to require your provider to escrow its own data, code, or configuration files, in the admittedly slender hope that if their servers go on the auction block, there’s some way to rebuild your Cloud application without starting from scratch.
The ZapThink Take
You probably picked up on the general assumption that this article is discussing Public Clouds in particular. That assumption is generally true, but it’s important to realize that Private Clouds have many of the same risks. You must still comply with regulations, deal with rogue employees, and potentially even respond to subpoenas or search warrants, after all. The list goes on.
Instead of focusing your efforts on insuring you’ve put together an ironclad agreement with a third-party Cloud provider, you must now serve as provider as well as customer if you’re building a Private Cloud. Yes, you have greater visibility and control, but you also have even greater responsibility and liability than if you are working with a Public Cloud provider. After all, having one throat to choke is no consolation when the only throat available is your own!
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular In...
Apr. 27, 2015 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,068
Apr. 27, 2015 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,390
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud....
Apr. 27, 2015 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,125
SYS-CON Events announced today that FierceDevOps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FierceDevOps keeps software developers and IT operations personnel updated on the latest news and trends around the rapidly evolving role of the traditional IT worker.
Apr. 27, 2015 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,139
SYS-CON Events announced today that StorPool Storage will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. StorPool is distributed storage software that allows service providers, enterprises and other cloud builders to run data storage on standard x86 servers, instead of using expensive and inefficient storage arrays (SAN).
Apr. 27, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,249
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabili...
Apr. 27, 2015 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,923
SYS-CON Events announced today that QTS Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing providers of data center facilities and cloud services and a leader in security and compliance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. QTS Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: QTS) is a leading national provider of data center solutions and fully managed services, and a leader in security and compliance...
Apr. 27, 2015 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,944
SYS-CON Events announced today that IndependenceIT, a leading software provider of simplified IT management solutions for workspaces, applications and desktops-as-a-service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IndependenceIT's Cloud Workspace® Suite combines application, end-user and infrastructure management into a seamless, easy-to-manage platform, with a unified management interface an...
Apr. 27, 2015 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,879
SYS-CON Events announced today that that Innodisk, the service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies. With satisfied customers across the embedded, aerospace and defense, cloud storage markets an...
Apr. 27, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,945
SYS-CON Events announced today that WSM International (WSM), the world’s leading cloud and server migration services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. WSM is a solutions integrator with a core focus on cloud and server migration, transformation and DevOps services.
Apr. 27, 2015 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,007
SYS-CON Events announced today that Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Site24x7 is a cloud infrastructure monitoring service that helps monitor the uptime and performance of websites, online applications, servers, mobile websites and custom APIs. The monitoring is done from 50+ locations across the world and from various wireless carr...
Apr. 27, 2015 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,091
Sonus Networks introduced the Sonus WebRTC Services Solution, a virtualized Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) offer, purpose-built for the Cloud. The WebRTC Services Solution provides signaling from WebRTC-to-WebRTC applications and interworking from WebRTC-to-Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), delivering advanced real-time communications capabilities on mobile applications and on websites, which are accessible via a browser.
Apr. 27, 2015 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,004
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-cri...
Apr. 27, 2015 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,819
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
Apr. 27, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,587
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tufin, the market-leading provider of Security Policy Orchestration Solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As the market leader of Security Policy Orchestration, Tufin automates and accelerates network configuration changes while maintaining security and compliance. Tufin's award-winning Orchestration Suite™ gives IT organizations the power and a...
Apr. 27, 2015 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,625
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudian, Inc., is a Foster City, California - based software company specializing in cloud storage software. The main product is Cloudian, an Amazon S3-compliant cloud object storage platform, the bedrock of cloud computing systems, that enables c...
Apr. 27, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,756
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the ...
Apr. 27, 2015 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 4,665
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...
Apr. 27, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,277
SYS-CON Events announced today that On the Avenue Marketing Group, a sales and marketing firm that utilizes events to market and sell products to consumers, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. On the Avenue Marketing Group (OTA) is a sales and marketing firm that utilizes events to market and sell products to consumers. On behalf of our clients, we attend thousands of fairs, festivals, exp...
Apr. 26, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,507
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
Apr. 26, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,892