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How will cloud computing change data protection?

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Large organisations stand to make huge efficiency savings from cloud computing. When tens of thousands of users are migrated to one platform, the possibilities for change are staggering. Using technologies like cloud storage, collaboration tools, real time updating of documents, sharing, instant messaging and unified communications, large businesses can make efficiency savings that would previously have been unthinkable.

In enterprise, there is a culture of risk aversion that can prevent this kind of positive and revolutionary change. One of the biggest risks is non-compliance. If a business feels that data may be compromised, or it may be in breach of regulatory compliance legislation, there will always be a resistance to a full cloud migration.

Data Protection

It’s unlikely that the data protection landscape will dramatically change due to the advent of cloud computing. Already, regulation does a good job of ensuring data is properly used and stored; special guidelines already exist, including this informative guide from the Information Commissioner’s Office. The laws that are already in place are effective in ensuring cloud data storage is used appropriately and in line with data protection legislation, and many businesses are completing migrations with positive results.

In order to continue this bedding in period, when cloud computing becomes more established and trusted, we will see changes in the way risk is managed. This will be the case across industry, but particularly in large organisations where a significant change in approach will be required. In the meantime, it will be smaller businesses that lead the way, since they are more likely to embrace new opportunities that large businesses feel are too risky.

Proven Strategies

Small businesses are already experimenting with the flexibility of a cloud infrastructure. They are placing sensitive data, such as medical data and credit card details, into the cloud, and processing payments using cloud infrastructure. Culturally, these businesses are much more likely to innovate rather than being risk averse, and they are able to pass on more creative solutions to their clients. In turn, these solutions allow other small businesses to cut costs and work more efficiently.

Rather than placing obstacles in the way of this process of innovation, businesses must find ways to embrace progress while staying compliant and secure. Data protection is one area where the cloud is well equipped to do the job, even when public and hybrid clouds are used alongside the corporate network.

Any business that does not leverage the cloud because of misplaced fears about data protection compliance will eventually find itself left behind as the world leverages the considerable flexibility of the cloud.

Moving Towards Change

There is a large gap between the culture of innovation and the culture of security, as proven by the differing attitudes of small and large businesses. Innovation and security are not necessarily at cross-purposes, and smaller start-ups have proven that they can coexist effectively using cloud infrastructure. Indeed, a refusal to move towards a cloud infrastructure may generate more risks over time, particularly when more efficient competitors gain traction.


Alan McMahon

Alan McMahon

Alan McMahon is based in Dublin, Ireland. He has worked for Dell for 13 years holding a number of marketing positions including country marketing manager; EMEA manager of paid search and for the last three years Alan is managing SEO for Dell across 13 countries in EMEA.

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