The IFB News Pipe

Keep Your Data in the Cloud and Your Business on the Home Ground

26 May 2014

Cloud platforms allow secure access to data from anywhere in the world, but can the location of the platform affect your data security?

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When was the last time your staff spent the whole week at their desk from 9am to 5pm? Whether staff are working at home or working on trains, planes and automobiles, they need 24/7 access to data wherever they are. From large companies with a multimillion pound turnover to one man small businesses, cloud computing is soaring into the forefront of data services. But from NSA spying allegations to civil unrest disrupting powers supplies how can you be sure your data is secure?

Graeme Gordon, CEO of Internet for Business (IFB) explains that while the data may be up in the clouds, the actual platforms are firmly on the ground- and where they are located is the most important thing of all.

Graeme says, “When people look into moving their data onto a cloud platform, the first thing they need to look for is where their data will be located. Of course, cloud allows access to data wherever you are, which is ideal for workers who work on the go, because it is readily available. However if the cloud platforms are overseas, they will be subject to overseas data laws, which differ greatly from those in the UK.

“For example, if your data is stored in a platform in the United States, there is nothing stopping officials from viewing your data under the Patriot Act, because even though it is your data it is in their land. We have heard of this on several occasions, believing that because their former cloud provider is a UK based company that their data will be based in the UK too, but this is not always the case. Because data is so important to business I would urge companies to look into where their data is going to be stored and where it is going to be backed up, because unless you know the data protection laws in India, China or the US, it is a very big risk.  There is a huge amount of damage that could be done to reputations if confidential data is compromised. You expect a high level of security from a cloud provider but if their platforms are out-with the UK there is little they can do to influence foreign policies.

“In the wake of the NSA snooping scandal in the United States, many companies started putting clauses in their cloud contracts that stated their data should not be stored overseas, and I would strongly recommend that companies start to look further into this to ensure the privacy of their files and to ensure their data stays secure.

“Another risk is the stability of some countries that data is be stored in- for example Egypt went through huge political unrest at the start of 2013 which resulted in power failures across the country and the internet being shut down for five days with restricted access after that. Could your business cope with that sort of instability?

“Our cloud platform is located in the UK and backed up in the UK, meaning that we can remove the jurisdiction of foreign powers and can keep track of any changes in UK legislation. It gives customers

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